The Philadelphia Eagles appear poised to move on from the Michael Vick era after the 2012 season. The Eagles can cut Vick before the Super Bowl and have no financial obligation for 2013, but if they cut him after the Super Bowl, he is guaranteed to earn $3 million dollars.
That is why the Eagles need to make a decision on their quarterback immediately.
The Eagles could also trade Vick in order to get some value back if someone else is willing to take on the risk of a 32-year-old quarterback. In any event, the Eagles last place finish in the NFC East this season is cause for a shake-up in the City of Brotherly Love.
However, one thing is certain: the Philadelphia Eagles—and their fans—are ready to turn the page on the Michael Vick era.
The Eagles have the choice to stick with rookie quarterback Nick Foles, who obviously needs more time to develop. They could also draft a quarterback from the mediocre crop of college quarterbacks in this year's class or try to engineer a trade for a competent quarterback from another team.
Lets take a look at the different quarterback options that are available for the Philadelphia Eagles heading into 2013.
Nick Foles looks like an NFL quarterback. His 6'6", 243-pound frame and cannon arm are ideal for a professional quarterback.
Foles was also a prolific passer while at Arizona, amassing over 10,000 yards passing, a 67 percent passing efficiency, 67 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. Overall, Foles proved himself at the college level.
Foles was the 88th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft for the Philadelphia Eagles, and he saw his first game action for the Eagles when Michael Vick went down with a concussion in Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Foles has started the last six games for Philadelphia after Andy Reid decided to bench Michael Vick for the remainder of the season. He has had two 300-yard passing games while boasting a 60 percent completion rate. Yet Foles has had just six touchdowns versus five interceptions, and he has fumbled eight times with three of them being lost.
Foles has shown that he can make big plays, but he has also shown that he must be given time to mature. His inability to protect the ball and his struggles during important moments may have given the Eagles pause before they decide to hand the keys to the franchise over to him.
The Philadelphia Eagles might not be comfortable with starting Nick Foles in 2013. That leaves the Eagles with the daunting task of finding a quarterback outside of the organization.
I think that it is safe to say that the Eagles should avoid retreads such as Matt Leinart, Derek Anderson, Matt Hasselback or Jason Campbell. But here is the first potential trade candidate that the team should look at.
The trials and tribulations of Alex Smith have been regularly noted. The San Francisco 49ers seem to have moved on from Smith to allow Collin Kaepernick to take the helm. Smith has been left holding a clipboard and waiting to see if the 49ers will keep him past April 1, where they would have to pay him a guaranteed $7.5 million.
Smith has a chip on his shoulder and would love to prove San Fransisco wrong. He is an eight-year veteran and has the poise and control of someone who taken his lumps in the NFL. Smith has thrown for over 1,700 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012 with a 70 percent completion rate through the first six games before he went out with a concussion.
The Eagles should consider this seasoned veteran with something to prove because they might just get to see something special.
McCoy was the 85th pick in the 2010 draft by the Cleveland Browns. He was stuck behind Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme at the start of 2010 before both got hurt and he was forced to play. He was named the starter in 2011 and started the first 14 games of the season before getting knocked out of a game with a nasty concussion that kept him sidelined for the rest of the year.
In 2012, the Browns drafted 28-year-old Brandon Weeden, which relegated McCoy to the bench.
Now, McCoy is another quarterback with something to prove.
In 2011, McCoy had over 2,700 yards passing, a 57 percent completion rate and 14 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions.
Sure, his numbers were not unbelievable, but he was starting to get a feel behind center and was showing hints of leadership before he was unceremoniously removed. The Cleveland front office has ties to the Eagles, so this trade might not be out of the question.
The Eagles might not be thrilled with their choices of existing quarterbacks or trade options, though, and they may be forced to look to the draft to solve their quarterback problem. Unfortunately, the 2013 NFL Draft is not that inspiring when it comes to finding a franchise quarterback, but there are a few choices that, with a little luck, could take the Eagles to the next level.
The first of these college quarterbacks is the USC Trojans' Matt Barkley.
While at USC, Matt Barkley was a four-year starter who put together an average of 3,000 yards passing per year. He had a 64 percent completion rate with 116 touchdowns versus 48 interceptions. Barkley led the team to a 34-13 record during his tenure, but only had a 1-7 record versus PAC-12 rivals Oregon and Stanford.
Expectations were high for USC this year, and Barkley was considered to be the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy before the Trojans' season started to unravel.
This is good news for Eagles fans because that means that Barkley's draft stock is falling. The Eagles may be able steal Barkley in the late first round or even the second round, if they so choose.
Here is another option that the Eagles could look at in next April's draft.
This Bobby Petrino disciple was poised to have an epic season before the coaching debacle that ensued at Arkansas. Wilson led a preseason Top 10 team through an abysmal 2012 regular season. Despite the team's failures, Wilson still had impressive 2011 and 2012 campaigns.
Wilson threw for back to back 3,000-yard seasons with a 64 percent completion rate. Wilson also had 56 touchdowns and 26 interceptions for his career with the Razorbacks.
Again, the Eagles will be happy to know that the awful display put on by the Razorbacks in 2012 probably caused Tyler Wilson's draft stock to drop. Wilson has poise in the pocket and did not quit on his team this year despite the disappointing results.
Tyler Wilson should be high on the Philadelphia Eagles 2013 draft radar.
Nick Florence rounds out the list as the last potential draft pick that the Eagles could target in the offseason.
He was thrust into starting at Baylor as a true freshman, where he gained much needed experience, and he spent the next two seasons with a front row seat to the Robert Griffin III show. Florence was rewarded with a starting position in his senior season, and he did not disappoint.
In 2012, Florence threw for 4,121 yards and a 61 percent completion rate. He also threw 31 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions over the season. Florence showed great leadership and guts as he picked apart the No. 1-ranked Kansas State Wildcats in the biggest game of his career.
Florence is a strong leader with good field vision and the ability to fearlessly attack his opponent. He will be available for the Eagles to draft in the later rounds, proving that he has great upside for a very little cost.
This might be a good pick to develop for the Eagles, just like Nick Foles was a year ago.
Michael Vick will either be retiring or looking for houses in a new city at the end of the season. In any event, Vick most likely will not be an Eagle in 2013.
Still, there are not many better choices out there, and the Philadelphia brass will have to do considerable due diligence in order to select the right replacement.
Eagles fans expect the best from their team and would like to see the new era of Eagles football ultimately lead to an NFC Championship and a Super Bowl. The Eagles will have to determine whether keeping Nick Foles, trading for someone like Alex Smith or drafting someone like Matt Barkley will be the best for the organization in the long term.
Which choice do you think is the best?