February 10, 2018
Way back on December 16, 2016, we started our "Eagles stay or go" series, just before Week 15 of the Philadelphia Eagles' regular season. At the time, the team was 5-8, so what the hell? Why not look forward to the offseason?
This year, we're getting started on that juuuuust a little bit later. Now that the happy hangover of the Birds' celebration is over, let's take a look at each position and figure out which players will be back in 2018, beginning with the quarterbacks.
Wentz was the best player in the NFL before he was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
If your next door neighbor, or the kindly doorman at work, or the pastor at your local place of worship, or even your mother suggests that the Eagles should consider trading Carson Wentz to make way for Nick Foles as the starter, calmly place whatever you're holding on a the nearest table, and proceed to punch them repeatedly in the throat and/or groin.
#JimmyVerdict: Stay. I mean, come on.
A much more legitimate debate is whether or not the Eagles should trade Foles this offseason. Much of that depends on the readiness of Wentz for the 2018 season.
The Eagles already know they can win with Foles (obviously), so there's no need to rush the future of your franchise (Wentz) back onto the field, if you're not certain he's back to 100 percent health. Foles affords the Eagles the luxury of taking their time with Wentz, without sacrificing the 2018 season. There is high value in that.
On the other hand, there are certainly a number of reasons why a trade would make sense:
• The Eagles will pick 32nd in the 2018 NFL Draft, and then they won't pick again until the end of the fourth round. They only have six draft picks overall. They have as little draft capital as they've had heading into a draft in recent memory. A trade of Foles would help restock their pipeline of young players.
• Foles is set to become a free agent after the 2018 season. At that time, he'll likely leave in free agency (a) if he has starter aspirations, or (b) simply because the Eagles can't afford him anymore. If you trade him now, you'd likely get a high draft pick in return rather than lose him for potentially nothing.
• Foles is slated to become more expensive in 2018, when he will count for $7.6 million on the salary cap, $5.2 million of which the Eagles would save if they traded him. The Eagles are going to have to make several moves just to get below the salary cap, and a trade of Foles would help significantly in that pursuit. That money could go toward other important matters, like re-signing free agent-to-be LB Nigel Bradham, or helping get contract extensions done with players whose contracts are set to expire after the 2018 season, like DE Brandon Graham, LB Jordan Hicks, CB Ronald Darby, or RB Jay Ajayi.
The Eagles are in a position of power in terms of leverage with other teams. They don't have to leak his availability to any water-carrying national guys. The rest of the league can easily look at the Eagles and see that they have an MVP talent in Wentz as well as a Super Bowl MVP in Foles, and realize, "Hey, they might be open to trading."
The Eagles can simply sit back, listen to offers, and if one blows them away, they can pull the trigger. Otherwise, they can just head into the 2018 season content to have a superstar quarterback as the starter and a Super Bowl winner to back him up.
The one thing they will have to be mindful of is that Foles brought Philadelphia their first championship since 1960. If Foles doesn't have starter aspirations and wants to stay, they pretty much have to keep him. Otherwise, they're potentially looking at disturbing the overwhelming unity the team has achieved, and to a lesser degree, the fallout of fans angry by the move.
#JimmyVerdict: I don't think the Eagles will get blown away by some crazy offer, and I think Foles will stay.
The team likes Sudafed, and will continue to develop him. There's no reason to move on from him after coaching him up for a full season.
Green = Stay
Red = Go
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(Note: Please don't actually punch your mother in the groin.)
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