JACKSONVILLE, FL —Former Andover High School and Brown University standout E.J. Perry will not be the highest profile quarterback at Jacksonville Jaguars Training Camp when it begins Sunday at Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
Trevor Lawrence is, after all, a former No. 1 overall draft pick and the Jags’ “franchise quarterback.”
But Perry, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in May, will be looking to turn heads and compete for a spot as one Lawrence’s backups, or at least catch the attention of another franchise.
Behind Lawrence, the Jaguars currently feature C.J. Beathard, who saw action in seven games last season and has started 12 games in his career. Jake Luton, meanwhile, was the team’s sixth-round draft pick in 2020 and started three games during his rookie season.
But Jaguars showed they were high on Perry when they signed him to a one-year $230,000 contract, which includes $207,000 in salary and a bonus of $23,000. The contract is similar to one given to a drafted player.
Perry, who won the 2021 Bushnell Cup, given to the Ivy League’s top offensive player, initially agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Eagles. But Perry looked elsewhere when the Eagles signed quarterback Carson Strong, an undrafted free agent from Nevada.
In Jacksonville, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Perry will have a chance to learn from head coach Doug Pederson, a former NFL quarterback who was a longtime NFL assistant coach and the one-time head coach of the Eagles, who he led to victory in Super Bowl LII in 2018.
According to John Shipley of Jaguar Report, Peterson “has proven he can play (quarterback), teach it, manage it, and develop it. It has become his badge of honor, wearing it with pride as his reputation as a quarterback guru has grown over the years.”
During Jacksonville’s rookie minicamp in May, Perry told Jaguar Report that he already had been impressed with the attention he’d received from his new coach.
“Yeah, it’s unbelievable, you know, when he comes over and talks to you and gives you his tidbits as it goes out through practice,” Perry said. “You know, you have to be keen to listen and learn from him. Because, he’s done it a long time, both playing and coaching and been to a bunch of Super Bowls and won two. It’s a great opportunity for me at the beginning of my career.”
During minicamp, Pederson explained why the franchise had been aggressive to sign Perry.
“Again, the quarterback position, I’ve always sort of adopted the philosophy of if you can find a guy that can come in, whether he’s your third or your fourth guy, and add the competition, add the value, I keep bringing that up, but that’s what we do,” Pederson said.
Pederson added: “When you can get a guy like (Perry) in here, we love his tape. He was a guy that we even had (quarterbacks coach) Mike McCoy, (assistant quarterbacks coach) Andrew Breiner, some of my assistant coaches talk to prior to the draft and had some meeting time with him and just get to know him a little bit. Then we were fortunate to get him and get him in here and get him going.”
Perry was a four-year starter for his father E.J. Perry III at Andover High, and he was a three-time Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star. As a senior, he tied the Massachusetts single-season record for touchdown passes with 47.
After beginning his collegiate career at Boston College, Perry transferred to Brown, where he was a three-year starter.
As a senior last fall, Perry threw for 3,033 yards and 23 touchdowns in 10 games and rushed for 402 yards and seven touchdowns.
Earlier this month on JagsWire, writer James Johnson called Perry an “interesting addition” to the Jags, though suggested Perry might be a few years away from making a significant contribution in the NFL.
“Jags coach Doug Pederson loves developing quarterback rooms as a whole, and Perry is the perfect candidate to be a developmental project for the team,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson continued: “Perry has good athleticism, and that will likely be on display this preseason. If he can sync up his arm talent with it, he’d give the staff a lot to think about this preseason, but it feels like he is a player teams would like to take their time with by stashing him on the practice squad for a few years.”
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