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Eagles to sign Cody Kessler, a potential backup quarterback to Carson Wentz


First-round pick Andre Dillard and second-round pick Miles Sanders on their first days in Eagles' un Martin Frank, The News Journal

The signing might not bring with it the same level of excitement as when the Eagles signed Nick Foles as the backup quarterback two years ago.

But Cody Kessler, whom the Eagles will sign Monday according to a league source, does have starting experience in the NFL, both with the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars.

NFL.com was first to report the signing.

Kessler is expected to compete with Nate Sudfeld for the right to back up Carson Wentz. Kessler was drafted in the third round in 2016 by the Browns, who used one of the picks acquired when the Eagles traded up to take Wentz No. 2 overall in the draft that year.

With Carson Wentz's status uncertain, Eagles rookie Clayton Thorson tries to learn quickly

Kessler started eight games for the Browns that season, all losses, as the Browns went 1-15. Kessler played in three games, no starts, the following season before getting traded to the Jaguars last summer.

Cody Kessler, who will sign with the Eagles on Monday, started four games for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. (Photo: Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports)

Kessler started four games last season. The Jaguars released him last week, in part because they have Foles.

The Eagles are somewhat familiar with Kessler. They played the Jaguars last Oct. 28 in London. Kessler had replaced starter Blake Bortles the week before, and the Jaguars didn't announce the starter for the game against the Eagles until late in the week (it was Bortles), meaning the Eagles had to prepare for both.

The Eagles won 24-18.

Kessler could get a lot of reps during the spring practices depending on Wentz's condition. When Wentz last spoke to the media on April 15, he said the stress fracture in his back hadn't fully healed yet. On Friday, Eagles coach Doug Pederson wouldn't say if Wentz will take part in team drills during spring practices that begin May 21.

Assuming Wentz is healthy in the near future, Kessler’s signing will give the Eagles a logjam at QB. That’s because the Eagles also drafted Clayton Thorson in the fifth round two weeks ago. 

It would be hard to fathom the Eagles going into the regular season with four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. The Eagles also have Luis Perez from the defunct Alliance of American Football.

It's possible that if Kessler doesn't beat out Sudfeld, that he might not make the roster to start the season.

It's also possible that the Eagles will try to get Thorson to the practice squad if they decide to keep both Kessler and Sudfeld. Those decisions, of course, are 3 1/2 months away and a lot can happen between now and then. 

For now, Kessler will try to learn the playbook during spring practices, and be ready to compete for the backup job by training camp in late July.

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Kessler, who played at Southern Cal, was a teammate of Nelson Agholor's at USC. 

Sudfeld, of course, is familiar with the playbook. He was signed by the Eagles in Sept. 2017 after he was also drafted in 2016 (sixth round by Washington). Sudfeld has thrown 25 passes in his career, but just two last season. He has never started an NFL game, although the Eagles think highly of his potential.

For his career, Kessler has completed 64.2 percent of his passes, with 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He has a passer rating of 83.7.

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

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