February 26, 2018

A look back at the Eagles' rich, recent history of trading quarterbacks

Eagles NFL
022618SamBradford Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports


Since the "should the Eagles trade Nick Foles" debate will rage on all offseason, it's perhaps worth noting what many of you already know but I've forgotten to mention. The Eagles trade their quarterbacks. A lot. 

In fact, since 2010, they have traded Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Foles himself, Matt Barkley, Mark Sanchez, and Sam Bradford.

While the Eagles certainly won't get anything remotely close to the "two 1's and two 2's" a few national guys were suggesting for Foles, is it possible that the Eagles could get a first round pick in return? Many don't think that even that compensation is realistic. While I wouldn't completely disagree, it's fair to note that the Eagles always (Chip years aside) have maximized value for their quarterbacks.

Let's look at all the Eagles' quarterback trades over the last 15 years, a span during which they have traded a quarterback roughly every other year:

A.J. Feeley, 2004: Traded to the Dolphins for a 2nd-round pick in 2005

Feeley saw action in just 11 games in Miami, posting a horrendous 61.7 QB rating. Midway through the 2005 season, the Dolphins traded Feeley to the San Diego Chargers for Cleo Lemon.

Kelly Holcomb, 2007: Traded to the Vikings for a 6th-round pick in 2009

Holcomb played in three games for the Vikings in 2007, posting a 73.1 QB rating. He retired the following offseason.

Donovan McNabb, 2010: Traded to the Redskins for a 2nd-round pick in 2010 and a 4th-round pick in 2011

McNabb played one year in Washington, posting a QB rating of 77.1. He was demoted to the third-string by Mike Shanahan before the Redskins shipped him off to the Minnesota Vikings for a sixth-round pick the following offseason.

Kevin Kolb, 2011: Traded to the Cardinals for a 2nd-round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Kolb ended up starting just 14 games for Arizona, posting a QB rating of 83.2 in two years there. He suffered a myriad of injuries, including turf toe, a concussion, and a rib injury, before the team asked him to take a pay cut. When the Cardinals and Kolb could not come to an agreement on a restructured deal, they cut him.

Nick Foles, 2015: Traded to the Rams along with a 2nd-round pick for Sam Bradford

In Foles' only season with the Rams, he was arguably the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, posting a 69.0 QB rating before being benched in favor of Case Keenum. He was released after one season, played for Kansas City in 2016, rejoined the Eagles in 2017, and well, you know the rest.

Bradford played one milquetoast season in Philly before he was traded for high value to the Vikings. (We'll get to that.)

Matt Barkley, 2015: Traded to the Cardinals for a 7th-round pick

Barkley was a regular on the Cardinals' inactive list during the 2015 season, never getting into a single game. He has since bounced around the league, playing for the Bears and 49ers before rejoining the Cardinals. 

Mark Sanchez, 2016: Traded to the Broncos for a conditional 7th-round pick (that became nothing)

Sanchez lost a quarterback competition to a Trevor Siemian, a guy who previously had zero career pass attempts. He was released, signed by the Cowboys, and then later, the Bears.

Sam Bradford, 2016: Traded to the Vikings for a 1st-round pick in 2017, and a 4th-round pick in 2018

This was highway robbery. Bradford played one near-full season with the Vikings in 2016, completing a league record 71.6 percent of his passes in highly unimpressive check-down fashion, with the team finishing 8-8. In 2017, he played two games before being placed on IR with a mystery knee injury.

Howie Roseman has seen a lot of quarterbacks traded during his employment with the Eagles, some of which he pulled the trigger on himself. As the trades above show, the Eagles have almost always gotten more value than most would have thought at the time. In the aftermath, they have almost never regretted them, at least over the last 15 years. 

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