Few teams prioritize the backup quarterback position more than the Philadelphia Eagles, a franchise that ended up winning their only Super Bowl thanks to the performance of their No. 2 quarterback. 

Even prior to Nick Foles winning Super Bowl LII MVP honors in the 2017 season, the Eagles had a backup quarterback keep a season alive over the last 25 years. Koy Detmer and A.J. Feeley held down the fort during Donovan McNabb's injury in 2002, Jeff Garcia led Philadelphia to the playoffs when McNabb was lost for the season in 2006, and Foles took the Eagles to the division title replacing Michael Vick in 2013. 

The No. 2 quarterback is vital for Philadelphia, which is why it wasn't surprising to see the Eagles acquire Kenny Pickett from the Pittsburgh Steelers Friday. What was surprising is what the Eagles traded to acquire Pickett when Justin Fields was traded to the Steelers a day later for less draft compensation (the Eagles were reportedly trying to trade for Fields). 

Should the Eagles have waited for Fields and made him their No. 2, or did they make the right move and acquire Pickett for the price they paid? There were some good reasons for the Eagles to acquire Pickett and pass on Fields. 

The cost was for more team control 

The Eagles are getting two seasons of Pickett compared to one season of Fields, ignoring the fifth-year option that will come into play for the former first-round picks. Fields was a first-round pick in 2021, so the Eagles would have had to make a decision on his fifth-year option for 2025 by May 2. 

Philadelphia also has Jalen Hurts in the first year of a five-year extension this year, and Hurts has a cap number of $21.8 million in 2025. The cost of Fields' fifth-year option in 2025 would be $25.7 million, which the Eagles would easily decline since they are paying Hurts to be their franchise quarterback. 

Basically the Eagles would have Fields for one season as the No. 2 quarterback, instead of two seasons of Pickett. Hence why the cost for Pickett was a 2024 third-round pick (No. 98 overall) and a pair of 2025 seventh-round picks -- and the Eagles got a 2024 fourth-round pick (No. 120 overal) back in the deal. 

Fields was cheaper in draft compensation to acquire because of the fifth-year option deadline in play. Hence why the Steelers only had to give up a 2025 sixth-round pick to the Bears that converts to a fourth-round selection if Fields plays 51% of snaps this season.

Eagles have a cheaper backup quarterback 

The Eagles have preferred to have a No. 2 quarterback under team control for multiple seasons. The Gardner Minshew trade back in 2021 was more than ideal for Philadelphia, as the Eagles parted ways with a conditional sixth-round pick in 2022 for two years of Minshew as the backup quarterback. 

Not only was Minshew a solid No. 2 quarterback, he only cost $850,000 and $2.54 million against the cap in the two years he was in Philadelphia. The Eagles paid Marcus Mariota $5 million for 2023, but it only counted for $1.93 million against the cap (the other four years were voided for salary cap purposes). 

Under Pickett's current contract, his cap number for 2024 is $1.98 million and $2.62 million for 2025. Fields is $3.23 million for 2024 wit the fifth-year option lurking (repeating the Eagles would have declined the option). 

Based on how the Eagles wanted to address other areas of the roster, Pickett's current contract made more sense. 

Howie Roseman had his eye on Pickett for years

Even when Hurts was the starting quarterback in 2021, the Eagles general manager was evaluating Pickett throughout his senior season. Roseman was scouting Pickett in a Thursday night ACC game during that 2021 season and continuing to evaluate him at the Senior Bowl. 

Roseman has done his homework on Pickett, knowing what the Eagles are getting with his skill set. Hurts is entrenched as the starter, but the Eagles have a No. 2 quarterback who fits what Kellen Moore wants to do in his system. The Eagles will also get two seasons to have Pickett as an understudy to Hurts and develop him before he enters the next stage of his NFL career. 

This is an opportunity for Pickett to hit the reset button, a situation where a team values him. 

Fields had a better opportunity in Pittsburgh 

Trading for Fields wouldn't have helped his career in Philadelphia, as he would have been entrenched as the No. 2 behind Hurts. There was no quarterback competition for Fields to enter, nor an opportunity to start with Hurts healthy. 

The game is different in Pittsburgh. The Steelers can say Russell Wilson is the starting quarterback all they want, but Fields has an opportunity to seize that job from him this summer. Right now Wilson is on a one-year contract with the Steelers, so nothing is guaranteed past 2024. 

If Fields beats out Wilson for the job or supplants him during the season, he's set up to be the next long-term quarterback for the Steelers and can earn his second contract in Pittsburgh -- or elsewhere. That opportunity wasn't happening in Philadelphia.