August 25, 2019
On Saturday night, shocking news broke that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck retired from the NFL just two weeks before the start of the 2019 season. When huge news like that breaks, the tendency for fans/media is to wonder how that might affect the team they like/cover. In this case, I do believe this news is worth discussing from the perspective of the Philadelphia Eagles.
There is no replacing Luck, as an established, starting quarterback who can lead them to a Super Bowl isn't walking through the Colts' metaphorical front door. Free agent options such as Sam Bradford, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Cassel, or whatever other quarterbacks are on the street, are not the answer.
Taking a quick look around the league, there also aren't any obvious trade partners for a starting quarterback, like there was in 2016, when the Eagles robbed the Vikings of first- and fourth-round picks by sending Bradford to Minnesota. Or perhaps better stated, there probably isn't anyone worth trading for who is obviously better than their pretty good backup in Jacoby Brissett, who started two games for New England in 2016, and 15 for Indy in 2017, showing flashes of talent along the way.
The Colts' starter seems to be set. It'll very likely just be that the No. 2 guy, Brissett, moves up and takes the reins. However, what the Colts may not think they have is a No. 3 capable of becoming the No. 2. The only other quarterbacks on the roster are former Temple alum P.J. Walker, who has spent the last two years on and off the Colts' practice squad, and Chad Kelly, a talented-but-troubled quarterback who is suspended for the first two games of the 2019 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
And so, the Colts could be shopping for a new No. 2 quarterback. Scanning the league for teams with a surplus of capable No. 2 quarterbacks... Hey, how about the Eagles!
They have a shiny new No. 2 in Josh McCown, as well as Nate Sudfeld, who the team has adamantly said they still very much like, and who, in my opinion anyway, remains a capable No. 2 even after being "probably-replaced" by McCown.
Obviously, head coach Frank Reich will be familiar with Sudfeld from their time together in Philly in 2017, but would their front office like him as well?
As it turns out, yes, they probably would. During the 2017 season, after the Colts placed Luck on injured reserve, GM Chris Ballard tried to lure Sudfeld off of the Eagles' practice squad to join their team. Instead, the Eagles ended up promoting Sudfeld to the 53-man roster, where he has remained ever since.
With two full seasons and a training camp in the Eagles' system, which of course is similar to that of Reich's in Indy, Sudfeld is perhaps even more of a fit for their roster than he was when the Colts tried to poach him in 2017.
So what would the cost be? Well, I don't think the Eagles would be looking to just hand Sudfeld over for nothing. They are into Year 3 of his grooming, and that time spent is surely worth something to them. Additionally, with the exception of the disastrous year Chip Kelly was the general manager, the Eagles have historically gotten more for their quarterbacks in trades than the general public would have anticipated.
At the same time, the Colts won't want to part with a valuable pick for a player set to become a free agent next offseason.
If I'm Howie Roseman, I would be shooting for something like a fourth-round pick in return for Sudfeld, but probably happy to settle for a fifth, or a role player who I thought could help immediately. Anything less, and I'd probably just keep him.
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