Philadelphia Eagles

Joe Flacco wasn't Eagles' only backup QB target after all

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Veteran NFL quarterback Alex Smith retired earlier this week, capping off a wide-ranging career in the league that included a battle for his life and a comeback story for the ages.

If he'd returned for one more year, however, it sounds like the Eagles were interested in being Smith's 2021 home.

In a new story on Smith's decision to step away from football at 37 years old, Sports Illustrated's Greg Bishop notes that Smith was entertaining interest from at least five teams as they shaped their respective 2021 rosters:

"Jacksonville offered a contract, though Jags GM Trent Baalke wanted Smith to sign a special waiver for his leg and suggested any team would request the same. The Texans wanted him too, but their quarterback situation remains in flux. Smith also heard from the Patriots, Eagles and Colts. But everyone had questions, conditions. He realized that only one path remained to leave football on his terms."

Interesting! And not surprising, honestly. Smith would've come cheap, and while he didn't jump off the page in 2021, he showed he could at least provide not-miserable backup play. When you're turning to your backup quarterback you can only hope for so much, Nick Foles notwithstanding.

The Eagles ultimately signed Joe Flacco to be their backup quarterback next year, and Smith of course ultimately chose to retire. Football-wise, Flacco is a perfectly average choice for a backup, and Smith would've also checked that box. I don't think the Eagles missed out on much in that sense by signing Flacco instead of Smith.

As it stands, Smith's final game as an NFL player came against the Eagles in Week 17 of 2020, when Washington beat the Eagles, 20-14, on Sunday Night Football in what became the infamous Doug Pederson Tries To Lose game.

Smith retired with 199 touchdowns, 109 interceptions, and 35,650 yards in 174 games across 14 seasons with the 49ers, Chiefs, and Washington Football Team.

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