After a disappointing four-year run, Jake Locker is probably not going to return next season to play for the Tennessee Titans. The quarterback is going to generate plenty of interest around the league, and possibly with the Philadelphia Eagles more than anyone.
Locker was a first round pick in the 2011 NFL draft after an impressive career with Washington, but injuries and not actually being a good fit in the Titans different offensive systems made it so he never really took off. He has started in only 23 games over the last three seasons, mostly missing games because of injuries but it also had to do eventually with the Titans moving on in a different direction, as Locker never seemed to make any progress as a passer.
He started in five games last season for the Titans, completing only 58.9% of his passes, throwing five touchdown passes and seven interceptions, with his passer rating bottoming out at 70.9, the lowest of his career in any of his four seasons. He threw an interception on 4.8% of his attempts and after being a huge promise for quite some time who just needed to get over the fitness hump, he suddenly seemed inferior to Zach Mettenberger.
The Eagles aren’t that pleased with their quarterback situation. Missing the postseason, both Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez aren’t exactly making Chip Kelly giddy at night when he thinks about the offense he has to run. Foles had a very good 2013 season, but didn’t look improved, upgraded or any good in 2014 before his injury. Sanchez? He had his highs and lows, but there isn’t a team with playoff and Super Bowl aspirations that wants him to be the starting quarterback.
But is Locker the one? For the depth chart and an option, why not? He’s not going to cost a lot after last year (cap number was $4 million), and he probably fits a lot more in Kelly’s system. Chip Kelly also had time in college to see him first hand when Oregon played against Washington in their rivalry games. But that’s not the only option the Eagles have.
With Marcus Mariota entering the draft, many are looking for the Eagles to try and trade up for the Heisman winning quarterback, leading Oregon to the national championship game only to lose there against Ohio State. There’s still the argument about the first quarterback to be taken off the board – Winston or Mariota, but we’ll know more as the draft gets closer. The Eagles will prefer trading up for Mariota than signing Locker (or maybe doing both) if it comes down to making just one addition.