"I've told him that he's very capable of leading this team deep into the postseason," Pederson said of his conversations with the quarterback.
While Pederson "would love to have everybody back," he "can't fault a player for getting an opportunity to become one of the top-paid players in the National Football League and that's where Sam's at right now."
Pederson understands that the quarterback decision "needs to be right for the team." If the Eagles choose to look toward the NFL Draft to address the quarterback position, Pederson said that there are a "couple of guys who could come in and potentially start right away."
"The ideal situation would be to get one of those guys and have him possibly sit for a year or two and learn your system, understand your community, understand your fan base, understand your media before you throw him out there to the wolves," Pederson said. "There's ways of getting it done without putting all of the pressure on your quarterback."
How far is this Eagles team from being a contender as it is currently constructed? Pederson believes that it "is very close."
"When you evaluate this team, this roster, you're a few pieces away, possibly," he said.