February 07, 2016
In case you missed the report by Adam Schefter of ESPN this morning, the Eagles do not plan on using the franchise tag on Sam Bradford this offseason. Schefter also reported that the Eagles may be interested in acquiring Nick Foles back from the Los Angeles Rams on the premise that Doug Pederson likes him.
On the surface, the idea of bringing Foles back makes no sense whatsoever, and there have since been conflicting reports from other local reporters saying that the Eagles have no plans to bring back Foles.
Still, let's dive in for a minute. Yes, you read the headline correctly. Acquiring Nick Foles, via a trade, actually makes some sense for the Eagles. Please stop dialing the mental institution and hear me out.
To begin, allow me to acknowledge some immediate thoughts you may be having:
• Is Nick Foles good? Well, he had a 69.0 quarterback rating last year, and was arguably the worst starter in the NFL who eventually got benched for Case Keenum. Soooooo... No, he's not good.
• Should the Eagles want any part of Foles' contract? If they traded for him, He'd be on the books for $7,750,000. Soooooo again... No, nobody in their right minds should want to have Nick Foles on the cap for almost $8 million.
However, what if trading Foles afforded the ability for the Eagles to get out from under DeMarco Murray's awful contract?
The Eagles have three potential courses of action on Murray's deal:
According to a source, the Eagles would cut Murray if they could. More bluntly, they don't want him on the team. However, they'd be crazy to pay an extra $5 million just to get him off the roster.
That third Murray option above, you know, the one where they can trade him and actually save $4 million off their cap? That one is really attractive, but seemingly unrealistic.
The downside for any team trading for Murray would be taking on his yearly salary of $7+ million, even without much in the way in guaranteed money. Unfortunately, running backs just aren't worth the trouble, especially 28-year-old running backs who can't actually, you know, run fast.
What might work for the Eagles and Rams could be a "crappy deal for crappy deal" deal.
Foles' new salary cap number would be $7,750,000, as noted above. That's the bad part -- they tend to come with any trade. However, trading Murray saves the team $4 million. Therefore, trading an otherwise impossible-to-trade Murray for Foles would be the equivalent adding just $3,750,000 to the payroll by obtaining a quarterback the head coach likes, with the added bonus of getting an unhappy malcontent in Murray out of the Eagles' locker room.
Add in that the Eagles can save $3,500,000 if they cut Mark Sanchez, and the Eagles would essentially be adding a mere $250,000 to go from Sanchez to Foles. The following offseason, the Eagles could then get rid of Foles with no penalty.
Got it? OK, moving on...
Yes, the Rams just picked Todd Gurley 10th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft and he won Rookie of the Year honors. That really doesn't matter in this scenario, as the primary function would be a financial move.
If the Rams cut Nick Foles, they would take an $8 million hit on their salary cap. If they traded him, it would only be a $2 million hit. In total, the Rams would save $6,725,000 if they were somehow able to trade Foles.
Murray's cap hit with any prospective new team in 2016 would be $7 million. In 2017, that team could cut Murray and only be on the hook for $2 million in guaranteed money.
In other words, the Rams could swap out Foles for Murray, and pay a mere $275,000 more in 2016 than they would if they kept Foles.
While Murray's 2015 season was disastrous, it's not as if he was completely useless. On 3rd/4th and short situations in 2015, Murray had 17 carries for 96 yards and two TDs. On every single one of those 3rd/4th and short rushing attempts, Murray either scored or picked up a first down. 17 for 17. At a minimum, Murray remains an incredibly effective short yardage back.
An accomplished short yardage back (with the potential of some kind of rebound season) would certainly be more appealing than a guy like Foles, who the Rams never want to see take a snap from under center ever again.
Murray could serve in a backup role to Gurley, away from Philly, where he doesn't want to be.
Foles and Murray are essentially impossible to trade, unless you trade them for each other, or some other overpaid stiff. The value in making that trade wouldn't be in the player acquired, it would be that the Eagles could rid themselves of Murray and the Rams could rid themselves of Foles.
If your rebuttal to the above is, "But Nick Foles is terrible and I don't want to ever see him in an Eagles uniform again," then I wouldn't disagree.
But on the premise that the new head coach likes him, it's a logical move, at least financially.
Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski
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