Eagles offseason: Chip Kelly has quarterback decisions to make

Rich Schultz

If Chip Kelly and the Eagles part ways with Michael Vick, Philadelphia could become a suitor for 49ers backup quarterback Alex Smith.

It took the Philadelphia Eagles a few weeks, but the Eagles finally hired Chip Kelly to be the franchise's next head coach in January, weeks after Kelly initially decided to remain Oregon's head coach. With Kelly in place, the attention has turned to Philadelphia's quarterback position, and who Kelly will anoint as his starting quarterback in 2013.

With the offseason officially here, Kelly and Philadelphia's brass have potentially franchise-altering decisions to make at the quarterback position.

Both Michael Vick and Nick Foles are on Philadelphia's roster -- for now, at least. Vick is reportedly unwilling to restructure his contract, which mandates that the quarterback earns $15.5 million dollars in 2013. Philadelphia can keep Vick on the roster until Mar. 12, without having to pay the $3 million dollar roster bonus that he's due, provided another team pays him more than $3 million dollars in his next contract.

For more on the Eagles, check out Bleeding Green Nation

Vick remaining with the Eagles is still a possibility, however. According to Jason La Canfora, Chip Kelly isn't as high on Foles as many think he is, and he is genuinely intrigued by what Vick brings to the table -- but not for $15.5 million dollars.

Per La Canfora, talent isn't the question when it comes to Vick -- it's his injury history.

One of the big concerns the new staff has is completely understandable: Vick's injury history, including concussions.

Vick has never finished an entire NFL season and recently has been ravaged by those frightening concussions. He missed the latter part of the 2012 season with a severe one and we are reaching the point where another nasty hit to Vick's head could end his career.

As a running quarterback, Vick exposes himself to vicious hits, and those hits have now taken a toll on Vick. A healthy Vick could be seen as the ideal quarterback for Kelly's offense, which begs for a mobile quarterback, but unfortunately for both Vick and the Eagles, Vick does not have a clean bill of health.

With Kelly reportedly not as high on Foles as some believe, and Vick's future in doubt, La Canfora won't be surprised if the Eagles make a run at Alex Smith, who the 49ers will either trade or cut prior to the NFL Draft. Smith lost his starting job in San Francisco to Colin Kaepernick midway through the 2012 season.

Smith doesn't have the speed that Kelly's quarterbacks at Oregon had, but he is an accurate passer. Smith completed a career-high 70.2 percent of his passes in 2012, and averaged 7.97 yards per attempt -- also a career-high. Entering his age 29 season, Smith could well be entering the prime of his career, and his accuracy will certainly attract many teams this offseason.

In his rookie year, Foles completed 60.8 percent of his passes, but averaged just 6.41 yards per attempt while throwing six touchdowns and five interceptions. Foles also fumbled five times, and posted a modest quarterback rating of 79.1. It was Foles' rookie year, but questions linger regarding Foles' arm strength.

More: Bleeding Green Nation discusses Foles' arm strength

Though many expect Kelly's offense to be anchored by a mobile quarterback, Kelly himself has done his best to quell that notion, telling media that his offenses are and were "personnel based."

If Kelly does acquire Smith, it won't be because he believes Smith is capable of running Oregon's offense in Philadelphia -- it'll be because he believes Smith is the quarterback to run his new offense in Philadelphia.

Still, Vick could conceivably remain in Philadelphia, if he's willing to restructure his contract. If he's unwilling to do just that, then the Eagles will almost certainly have a new starting quarterback come September.

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