The Philadelphia Eagles had a remarkable 2022 NFL season, culminating in their Super Bowl appearance against the Kansas City Chiefs. With standout performances from quarterback Jalen Hurts, wide receiver DeVonta Smith, and a formidable defense led by Fletcher Cox and Darius Slay, the Eagles soared to new heights. As they look ahead to the 2023 season, the Eagles made several signings during the offseason to bolster their roster and maintain their championship aspirations. However, amidst the calculated moves during the 2023 NFL free agency period, one signing stands out as the riskiest.
Before examining the riskiest signing, let's briefly acknowledge the key highlights of the Eagles' triumphant 2022 season. Hurts emerged as a breakout quarterback, delivering impressive passing and rushing statistics. Smith showcased his skills as a star wide receiver, while the defense excelled under the leadership of Cox and Slay. These accomplishments set the stage for the Eagles to build on their success in 2023.
To fortify their team, the Eagles made several noteworthy signings in the offseason, aiming to enhance depth, talent, and competition. Among these signings were linebacker Nolan Smith, versatile tight end Dan Arnold, and decorated right tackle, Lane Johnson. There were also safety Terrell Edmunds, high-potential running back Rashaad Penny, and seasoned pass rusher Brandon Graham. These signings address defensive improvements, bolster the running game, and strengthen the team overall.
Now, let's focus on the riskiest free agency move the Philadelphia Eagles made in the 2023 NFL offseason.
Signing QB Marcus Mariota
The Eagles took a chance on the former Pro Bowl quarterback, inking a one-year, $5 million contract. While Mariota has shown promise in his career, several factors make this signing precarious for the team.
— NFL (@NFL) March 30, 2022
First and foremost, Mariota's inconsistency throughout his career raises concerns for the Eagles. While he has had successful seasons, including a Pro Bowl campaign, he has also struggled to sustain a consistently high level of play. There have been instances where his performance has been less than stellar. This leaves doubts about his ability to deliver consistently strong performances even as a backup quarterback.
In addition to inconsistency, injuries have been a significant factor in Mariota's career. He has suffered from various injuries, including ankle, knee, and shoulder issues. These have caused him to miss a considerable number of games. This injury history raises a red flag for the Eagles. Relying on Mariota as an available option at the quarterback position becomes a potential risk.
Furthermore, Mariota's lack of familiarity with the Eagles' offensive system poses another challenge. The team runs an offense that emphasizes precise timing, quick decision-making, and short to intermediate passing routes. Mariota has predominantly operated in spread offenses throughout his career, which differ in terms of play-calling, route concepts, and overall philosophy. Adjusting to a new offensive scheme may take time and could potentially hinder his ability to adapt and thrive within the Eagles' system.
Mariota's Potential Benefits
Despite the inherent risks, the Eagles anticipate several potential benefits from acquiring Marcus Mariota. Firstly, his presence on the team provides valuable competition for Jalen Hurts, the young quarterback who showed promise during the previous season. The competition for the starting position can push Hurts to elevate his performance even more. This is especially as he strives to solidify his status as the team's franchise quarterback.
Secondly, Mariota's experience and skill set make him a reliable backup option for the Eagles. If Hurts faces an injury or needs to sit out a game, Mariota can step in and start. His prior success as a starting quarterback in the NFL gives the Eagles confidence that they have a backup option who can keep the team competitive.
Lastly, Mariota's experience and knowledge can contribute significantly to Hurts' development. As a veteran quarterback, Mariota can serve as a mentor to Hurts, sharing insights, techniques, and lessons learned from his career. Mariota's presence in the quarterback room can help Hurts refine his skills, improve his decision-making, and gain a better understanding of the nuances of the game.
Eagles 2023 Season Outlook
Sure, the signing of Mariota carries inherent risks. These include his inconsistency, injury history, and adjustment to a new offensive system. Still, the Eagles believe that the potential benefits outweigh the concerns. The competition he brings can push Hurts to reach new heights, while his experience and skill set make him a reliable backup option. Moreover, Mariota's mentorship can aid Hurts in his development as the team's franchise quarterback. As the 2023 NFL season unfolds, the Eagles will closely monitor Mariota's performance. They hope that his signing proves to be a valuable addition to the team, propelling them toward continued success.
The Eagles' decision to sign Mariota reflects their willingness to take calculated risks in their pursuit of another successful season. Only time will reveal the outcome and whether Mariota can fulfill expectations, aid the team's aspirations, and push them toward their Super Bowl goals. With a young and talented roster, coupled with the development of key players, the Eagles have the potential to be formidable contenders in the NFC East and beyond in the 2023 NFL season.