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The Eagles on Thursday agreed to terms with one of their last two unsigned draft picks, inking quarterback Matt Barkley to a four-year deal. Barkley, who the team moved up three spots to take with the first pick in the fourth round, has a chance to compete for the starting job when training camp begins later next month.
His signing leaves offensive tackle Lane Johnson, a first-round pick who went No. 4 overall, as the team’s only unsigned draft pick. Only one of the top five picks, defensive end Ziggy Ansah of the Lions, has agreed to terms.
Barkley ran with the third team throughout the spring camps as Mike Vick and Nick Foles took turns with the first and second teams, but coach Chip Kelly has said his quarterback competition is wide open and hasn’t ruled out Barkley.
Earlier in camp, Kelly showered his new quarterback with praise.
“Matt's done a great job. He's a real student of the game,” Kelly said. “Had a great background to begin with. Started every game in high school and in college, so his experience that he came in here with. I don't know if anybody's done that, having that much experience coming in as a rookie.
“Real student of the game, does a great job of grasping concepts and understanding what we're trying to do and not just what the receivers are running for routes. Matt does a great job understanding the overall concept that's being run and then being able to kind of change.
“He may have done this before in the past, but now put it into our terminology and process things. And I think he's done a great job in his work ethic in terms of being here early, studying tape and doing those things. It's not just he's so much more gifted than anybody else. It's really how hard he works at the game. Lot of fun to be around and lot of fun to coach.”
Barkley’s contract probably compares to the one signed last year by Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, an early fourth-round pick who signed a four-year deal worth $2.5 million with a signing bonus of nearly $475,000.
That’s a lot less coin than Barkley stood to pocket last year had he left Southern California after his junior season. Back then, he was a projected first-round pick.
Barkley’s senior year didn’t mirror his junior season. An injury to his throwing shoulder sidelined him in November, and the Trojans, early favorites to play for a BCS title, were knocked out of the race. Although he didn’t need surgery, Barkley opted against throwing at the NFL Combine in February, waiting instead for his Pro Day.
Throughout the process, scouts and analysts knocked his arm strength and pegged him as a West Coast-offense-only quarterback, one of the reasons he fell from top-prospect talk to the fourth round.
Barkley, 22, left USC as the school’s and Pac-12 Conference’s all-time passing leader. He started all four seasons for the Trojans, finishing with more than 12,000 passing yards and becoming the only player in conference history to pass for more than 100 touchdowns.
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