There is no team on God’s midnight-green earth that knows the importance of having a solid backup quarterback more than the Philadelphia Eagles. The last guy that held the title of backup to Carson-The-Injury-Plagued went 11-2 over the course of two seasons, won a Super Bowl, was the Super Bowl MVP, and led the Eagles to an improbable play-off run this past season. But success is fleeting and so was Nick Foles once he became a free agent a few months ago. (Raise your hand if you haven’t gotten over Never Nervous Nicky’s departure yet. Anyone? Yeah, me neither). But that was then and this is the now. Wentz is still here and he probably should be. He’s the franchise quarterback going forward. End of discussion. Now if you’ve ever listened to my show you’ve heard me say that I believe that the most important position in football is the starting quarterback. And the 2nd most important position is the back-up quarterback.

As you know, the Eagles quarterback depth chart was obliterated the last few days with injuries to Nate Sudfeld and Cody Kessler. Faced with a turbulent depth chart in-flux, the Eagles went looking for some modicum of a safety net for Carson Wentz and who did they come up with? You wouldn’t have found him on one of those NFL free-agent websites. Nope. You wouldn’t have found him on another team’s roster waiting to be traded for either. Nope. Birds G.M. Howie Roseman had to climb into the broadcast booth and drag Tony Romo (yeah I wish) I mean Josh McCown out of his long awaited retirement. This is a guy who said he was done playing football just a few weeks ago. Yes, Josh McCown.

You may or may not remember back this far, but once upon a time back in 2002 McCown was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals, just 86 days after the Patriots won their first Super Bowl. That’s right – Brady and Belichick 1.0. Gas was $1.61 a gallon and George W. had just blown everyone away with his first State of the Union address. Fast forward 17 years to August 16, 2019 and that same kid from Sam Houston State is still slingin’ it. Or at least in theory. The Eagles inked McCown to a one year deal worth 2 million guaranteed last week.

Now the team’s goal obviously is to never let McCown see the field, but if history has taught us anything, well, it might not be the worst bet in the world to believe that he just might. Let’s face it, if the season started today Josh McCown is Carson Wentz’ back up, not Nate Sudfeld. And that’s not a bad thing. Because with all due respect to Nate Sudfeld, he’s basically still a rookie. He’s thrown 25 NFL passes, 1TD pass and has never started an NFL game. Let me repeat that. He has never started an NFL game. Now that’s not his fault, but that is the reality of the situation. That and the fact that he has a broken left wrist and will miss the first few games of the season. McCown, on the other hand, has started 76 games and has thrown 98 career touchdown passes.

As a broadcaster and an Eagles fan, I have always been rather apprehensive going into a potential Super Bowl season without an experienced back-up to Carson Wentz and have expressed that publicly many, many times. That’s why it was incredibly bright of Howie Roseman not to trade Nick Foles to the Browns for a 2nd round pick last August. Roseman had the greatest insurance policy in NFL history in his back pocket and he knew it. And we were all  too soon to be reminded once again about the value of a good back-up quarterback like Nick Foles after Wentz went down for the season for the second consecutive year last December.

Now McCown won’t make people forget about Foles any time soon but the Eagles should be commended for going out and signing the best available quarterback out there, right? We’ve been told over and over and over that the Eagles’ organizational philosophy is best player available right? By the transitive property that would make McCown the best quarterback available by definition. I think we all know that Josh McCown, God bless his little 40 year old heart, wasn’t the best quarterback available when he was signed last week, was he? No he wasn’t. The best quarterback available last week is the best quarterback available this week. In fact, he’s probably been the best quarterback available for the last two years. But going from Superman to Radioactive man in just two short seasons has former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick still out of work and has this host still miffed over it. I know, I know by now most of you are probably suffering from Colin Kaepernick fatigue. But instead of summarily turning your back on him like a lot of fans and the rest of the NFL owners have, why not look at what he can objectively bring to the table intellectually. After all don’t you want to give your team the best possible chance to win? Isn’t that always the goal?

From strictly a football argument, he’s got far and away the best arm of any of the Eagles back-ups, he’s much faster and more explosive than any of the Eagles back-ups and he has extensive play-off experience including an appearance in Super Bowl 47, a game that saw him take his team from a 28-6 second half deficit to within a few yards of winning the whole thing. It was a gutty performance, a game in which he threw for 302 yards and a touchdown and ran for 62 more and another touchdown. It would seem to be a no-brainer, right? But there does exist a whole lot of anti-Kaepernick sentiment out there so let’s take a look at the perceived case against Colin Kaepernick shall we?

1. He hasn’t played in two years

2. He wasn’t that good when he played

3. He brings baggage to any team

4. He would be a bad locker room guy

5. He wants too much money

The first one is true. But he’s only 31 and still has a lot of football life left in him. Sure it will take some time to knock the rust off and learn a new system but it would be no different than anybody else the Eagles would bring here as far as the playbook goes. He’s still in his prime, he’s very athletic and extremely intelligent and oh by the way he is very adept at running the RPO offense which is the Eagles bread and butter. In my opinion the upside far outweighs the downside. Translation: His skill set would more than compensate for his 2 year hiatus.

Number two is just ridiculous. In the two years following him replacing Alex Smith in San Francisco, Kaepernick led the 49ers to a 19-7 record that included a Super Bowl appearance and two trips to the NFC title game. In 2014 a mass exodus began in San Francisco that led to the team’s rapid demise the next three years. Let’s face it, he played on a marginal team in
2014 and two horrible ones the next two years yet he still amassed pretty good numbers over those final 3 seasons in San Francisco. All told he has started 58 regular season games. He’s thrown for 12,271 yards, 72 TDs and only 30 interceptions and has a QB rating just under 90 while completing just about 60% of his passes. His touchdown to interception ratio is sensational. He has started 6 post season games and has a 4-2 record with 7TDs and 5 picks. On the ground he’s amassed 2300 yards including a 90 yard dash, 13 TDs and a 6.1 yards per attempt average. In the playoffs he has rushed for 507 yards, 4 TDs on 9.9 yards per attempt – a playoff rushing resume that included 130 yards on the ground against the Seahawks in the NFC title game in 2013. Now he’s no Randall (despite playing for the same college) but not too shabby nonetheless. Kaep’s numbers speak for themselves.

As to the baggage factor, yes, there will be some. But nothing compared to the situation that was here when the Eagles signed Michael Vick back in 2009. It was indeed a controversial move that created a circus-like atmosphere. But eventually it died down and the regular season went off without a hitch. And Vick turned out to be a model employee and a pretty damn productive quarterback here (runner-up MVP to Tom Brady, 2010).

If Kaepernick were to come here there would certainly be some fan backlash from the narrow minded and regressively thinking Eagles contingent. But so what? I guarantee those same fans will be screaming their respective dog masks off if Kaepernick were ever able to get into a game and produce. As far as the locker room goes, who’s going to have a problem with him? Do you really think there are a lot of Eagle players in that locker room who are against Kaepernick’s plight to bring attention to social inequality and racial injustice? Please. Give me a break. And if the specter of Colin Kaepernick looming over Carson Wentz’ shoulder affects Wentz’ progression then there’s a problem within the DNA make-up of QB1 that is going to be a far bigger problem in and of itself.

Hell even the President, who probably had an indirect hand in Kaepernick being black balled, weighed in on the controversy recently. “I would love to see it”, Trump said back in early August, but on one condition. “Only if he’s good enough. Yeah, if he’s good enough. Why wouldn’t he play if he was good enough? And I think if he’s good enough, I know the owners — I know Bob Kraft, I know so many of the owners — if he’s good enough, they’d sign him. So if he’s good enough — I know these people — they would sign him in a heartbeat. They would do anything they can to win games. So I’d like to see it.”

“Anything they can to win games.” Isn’t that how it’s always been? Isn’t that how it should be? At least that’s what I thought. (Geez I really hope Al Davis isn’t reading this).

So I have to be honest I’m disappointed in Mr. Lurie on this one. As an owner of an NFL football team you are in the business of winning football games. It’s that simple. To that end, as a fan, you are in the business of rooting for your team to win football games. That’s it. It’s that simple. Nothing else. If you find yourself against the best available quarterback coming to Philadelphia
because you don’t like his protest methods or his belief system then it’s time to turn your fan card in and get a life.

Which is why I have to shake my head when I hear listeners or fans just arbitrarily dismiss any thoughts to the possibility of pursuing the best possible quarterback available. After all it comes down to this. If Carson Wentz goes down for an extended period of time, the Eagles, as they are currently constructed, have no shot at a Super Bowl this year. Keep in mind neither Nate Sudfeld nor Josh McCown has taken a postseason snap. But with Colin Kaepernick in the mix, hope springs eternal (whatever that means). It might be a long shot but at least it’s a shot. He has pedigree and Super Bowl experience. I think if the Eagles had offered him a one year deal for about the same money that they gave to McCown or perhaps a little bit more, then he would have had to seriously consider it. I think he’d be hard pressed to pass up a situation to get back in the league and actually have a legitimate shot to start some real games and play some meaningful football on a potential Super Bowl team. If he declines then so be it. At least you’ve exhausted all options and sought after the best quarterback available which is part of your job description, Mr. Roseman. And if you’re still not sold on Colin Kaepernick v. Josh Mccown just remember this. One of them is a weapon. The other is not.