Eagles sign Garcia to be McNabb's backup

Updated: March 16, 2006, 2:15 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

After reaching a contract agreement in principle Wednesday, the Philadelphia Eagles signed unrestricted free agent quarterback Jeff Garcia Thursday, a day after Garcia arrived for an official visit with coaches and team officials.

Quarterback
Philadelphia Eagles

Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
Att Comp Yds TD Int Rat
173 102 903 3 6 65.1

Details of the contract were not immediately available.

The Eagles, who have been seeking to upgrade the depth chart behind starter Donovan McNabb, become the fourth different team in four seasons for Garcia, a seven-year veteran and three-time Pro Bowl performer. That stretch of itinerancy aside, Garcia, if healthy, appears to be a very good fit in Philadelphia, given his familiarity with the West Coast-style offense and desire to sign with a winning franchise.

Notable as well is that Garcia enjoyed past success under Eagles assistant head coach Marty Mornhinweg, when the two were together with the 49ers.

Garcia, 36, played for the Detroit Lions in 2005, starting in five of his six appearances and completing 102 of 173 passes for 937 yards, with three touchdown passes and six interceptions. His play was affected by the fact he sustained a broken ankle in the preseason, and then hurried into the lineup when Detroit benched starter Joey Harrington.

The former San Jose State star began his professional career in the CFL, then signed with San Francisco in 1999, and posted five straight seasons of 2,500 yards or more before his release after the 2003 campaign for salary cap reasons. The stretch included three seasons of 3,300 yards or more. Between 2000 and 2001, Garcia threw for 7,816 yards and 63 touchdowns. From 2000 to 2003, he averaged 3,466 yards and 25.5 touchdowns.

It isn't likely that Garcia will ever reach those numbers again. But if he is healthy, Garcia is a far better player than his performances in 2004 and 2005 indicated. With the Cleveland Browns in 2004 and then the Lions in 2005, he started in 15 games and played inconsistently.

For his career, Garcia has completed 1,695 of 2,785 passes for 19,076 yards, with 126 touchdown passes and 71 interceptions.

The Philadelphia depth chart was challenged in 2005 when McNabb was forced out of the lineup by the sports hernia injury that eventually required surgery. Mike McMahon started the final seven games of the season, and Philadelphia was 2-5 with him in the lineup. McMahon and fellow backup Koy Detmer remain under contract, but the addition of Garcia could affect their status.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.