Nick Foles’ time with the Eagles is set to come to an end, but how Foles gets to his next team is a bit of a mystery. The Eagles have options as to how they want to handle their situation with Foles, but the risk within some of the options could dictate how the team goes about the departure of the former Super Bowl MVP.
Trade rumors with Foles have begun to swirl, but before potential deals are imagined, it is important to take a look at the different scenarios that could unfold.
Foles and the Eagles have a $20 million option that must be either picked up or declined by both sides by February 11. If the Eagles pick up Foles’ option, Foles is able to pay back $2 million in order to buy his free agency and be in control as to who he plays for next. The Eagles, though, could also attempt to facilitate a trade for Foles with a team of his choosing, which would either come from an agreement to both accept the mutual option, or the Eagles franchise tagging him. The one option that isn’t on the table, though, is Foles staying in Philadelphia; this would require a collapse of his market, or him showing little to no desire going to a potential new team and sticking it out another season.
As mentioned before, there are some risks the Eagles have to take into account with some of those scenarios. Here’s an in-depth look at the situation.
Trade Foles or let him walk in free agency?
This is a topic not many have focused on, but the ramifications to this decision are key. Even if the Eagles decide to pick up Foles’ $20 million option, he is almost guaranteed to pay back the $2 million needed to grant his free agency, unless if the Eagles find a deal before the February 11 deadline, which is unlikely. That leaves the Eagles a decision to make: franchise tag Foles for a price tag expected to be around $25 million, or let simply let Foles walk?
If the Eagles franchise tag Foles, they are entertaining the crippling possibility of getting stuck with a backup quarterback who would be getting paid more than three times as much as Carson Wentz, the starting quarterback, if they are unable to find a sufficient trade. As a team who is starving to get as much cap space as possible, getting stuck with a contract of that size for a player who may never step on the field would derail any potential offseason plans.
The date teams are allowed to place a franchise tag is February 19, which would leave the Eagles just eight days after the deadline for the mutual option to try to organize a trade for Foles, which isn’t a favorable timeline. The Eagles don’t have much leverage in terms of dealing Foles, and teams could very well hide their cards until free agency, which doesn’t start until March 13, potentially making the trade market a bit more cloudy.
The safest avenue for a Foles trade is a sign-and-trade, which would eliminate all risk, but has a lot of moving parts that would make the situation very difficult. It is something, though, Howie Roseman could be capable of pulling off. It is worth taking into account, though, that assuming Foles wants to win with his new team, than it should be in his best interest to not cost his future team any future assets. In other words, maybe Foles won’t give full cooperation on any potential trade if the Eagles attempt to do so.
If the Eagles decide to let Foles walk in free agency, they are almost guaranteed to get a third-round compensatory pick considering some of the contracts quarterbacks of lesser talent have gotten the past few years.
It wouldn’t be an exciting closure to what’s been a memorable tenure for Foles with the Eagles, but letting Foles walk would give the Eagles flexibility to move forward with their other plans for the offseason.
Despite the risk, it is expected that the Eagles will retain Foles one way or the other in order to facilitate a trade, but the team must do it’s homework before they go down the all-or-nothing path. If the Eagles let Foles freely choose his team without a trade getting organized, the Eagles would still receive a draft pick. However, if the Eagles attempt to cash in on Foles, the only cash they could get is Foles’ huge contract.
What is Foles’ trade value?
In an otherwise subpar quarterback group set to be up for grabs, Foles firmly ranks at the top of the group. Foles’ price tag, whether it’s $20 million or $26 million, shouldn’t drive away any potential suitors.
Last season, it was reported the best offer the Eagles received for Foles was a second-round pick from the Cleveland Browns. This season, Foles eased any doubts that last seasons performance was far from a fluke after leading the Eagles back to the playoffs after Wentz went down with an injury, and even helped win a playoff game as well. That likely bumped up Foles’ trade value a bit.
However, Foles won’t warrant a “Leonard Fournette and a first-round pick” type of deal that many have begun to salivate over. The Eagles also shouldn’t pursue a deal of that nature, either. Cap space is the name of the game this offseason for the Eagles, as they are interested in both being able to sign players to fill holes, but also retain flexibility financially for years to come with players such as Wentz set to be extended. Not only will any potential suitor be stubborn to give such a haul for Foles, but the Eagles should be more interested in compiling draft picks instead of players in a potential deal.
Who are Foles’ potential suitors?
The majority of the league is not in a dire need of a quarterback, but there are a few who are sure to be interested in Foles. The two teams who are expected to be most aggressive in their pursuit of Foles are the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins. Both teams feel they are playoff ready, and could be a good quarterback away from being in playoff contention again.
Some other teams could have moderate interest in Foles as well, which includes the Denver Broncos, the Washington Redskins, and the New York Giants. All three are in need for an improvement at the quarterback position, but are tied up in their own ways with their current quarterbacks. The Broncos are set to pay Case Keenum $18 million next season in the final year of his two-year contract with the team, but have an out in the contract with just $10 million in dead cap if the Broncos were to release him in order to acquire Foles. The Redskins owe Alex Smith $15 million next season, but he is likely to miss all of the 2019 season due to the severe leg injury he suffered last season, and don’t have an out in the deal until 2021. The Giants seem to be committed to starting Eli Manning next season at quarterback, but would be a good fit for Foles if the Giants decide to move on from Manning.
One last team that could be interested in Foles is the Oakland Raiders, but their interest is expected to be lesser than the previous five teams mentioned. The Raiders seem to be all in on Derek Carr being their quarterback, and it would come as a major surprise if they would entertain the out in his contract next season to pursue a replacement. Regardless, the Raiders are a team who could set their sights on making a run after putting the abundance of picks they received in the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades to use, and Foles is the perfect candidate to lead that run.
All in all, the Jaguars and Dolphins are clear-cut favorites to land Foles. However, Foles’ comments following the end of the season after the loss to the Saints deserves some attention.
Foles made it clear that he will only go to a team if it’s the right situation. Stability in the locker room, a sound head coach and a desire to win were traits Foles pinpointed as to things he will look kindly upon in terms of considering a team. This is a result of the fractured relationship that developed between Foles and the Rams, and the sudden stardom that arose following Foles’ playoff success with the Eagles.
Considering the interests Foles portrayed, that likely leaves just the Jaguars and Broncos as teams he could consider. The Jaguars recently hired John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator, who was the Eagles’ quarterback coach last season and was a major factor to Foles’ success last season. The Jaguars were also knocking on the door of a Super Bowl appearance last season before Blake Bortles and the offense crumbled down the stretch to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The Broncos have a handful of enticing offensive weapons, and John Elway’s presence would be a big help for a player of Foles’ nature. Elway seems to have been on the prowl for a replica of him to lead the team to success, and considering the failure to this point of the Keenum experiment, Foles is the perfect fit to be that guy.
All in all, there are a lot of things to be considered when analyzing the situation between Foles and the Eagles, and this is just a peek into the window that is one of the most interesting developments for any team the past few seasons. From the risks the Eagles will have to take into account, to the limited amount of teams Foles views as a landing spot, there will be plenty to consider as the most loved quarterback in Eagles history moves on to different scenery.
Featured Image: USA Today