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The Eagles made another quarterback move Monday afternoon, purging the roster from one instead of adding yet another.
The team released veteran quarterback Trent Edwards, who had made an improbable rise last year from camp body to second-stringer but didn’t really fit into the picture for new coach Chip Kelly.
The transaction is mutually beneficial, as the Eagles can narrow their scope to the four quarterbacks on their roster as they begin their first three-day minicamp Tuesday. Edwards, who didn’t have a future with the club, has plenty of time to latch on with another team.
It’s very likely the Eagles had tried to gauge the trade market for Edwards over the past few weeks like they did for running back Dion Lewis, whom the team dealt last week to Cleveland for linebacker Emmanuel Acho, but were unsuccessful in finding a taker.
The 29-year-old former Stanford star should find a new location after an impressive rebirth last year.
Edwards, a 2007 third-round pick of the Bills who took over the starting job nine games into his rookie year, was released during the 2010 season by Buffalo after going just 15-18 as a starter. He signed with Jacksonville, where he lost the only game he started that season, and then spent 2011 out of football.
He signed with the Eagles last February as a project for then-coach Andy Reid and his staff and looked rusty and uncomfortable in his first few practices. He struggled to make sharp passes or throw with velocity, even in warm-up drills with no defense on the field.
During 11-on-11 drills in spring camp, Edwards mostly watched from the sideline as the reps went to Mike Vick, rookie Nick Foles and Mike Kafka. There were times when Edwards wouldn’t even get one practice rep.
But his fortunes changed in training camp and again throughout the season. Injuries to Vick and Kafka at Lehigh opened the door for Edwards to get more reps, and his strength and precision gradually returned.
Edwards completed 54 of 80 preseason passes (a team-best 67.5 percent), threw four touchdowns, wasn’t picked off a compiled a 100.5 passer rating, second to Foles’ 110.1. His revival forced the coaches to make a difficult decision and release the incumbent Kafka on the final day of cuts.
Edwards spent most of the season as the third-string quarterback and inactive until Vick went down for several weeks with a concussion, an injury that forced Foles into the starter’s job and Edwards into the backup spot.
Foles missed the season finale against the Giants with a broken hand and the coaches went back to Vick, who played poorly in a 42-7 loss that ended with Edwards coming into the game late in the fourth quarter.
Edwards completed both of his attempts for 14 yards, his first NFL passes since completing 12 of 25 passes for 140 yards with a touchdown and interception in Jacksonville’s 34-17 loss to Houston in the 2010 season finale.