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January 16, 2019

Eagles stay or go: Quarterback

Eagles NFL

The Philadelphia Eagles' 2018 season over, and there will be a lot of interesting decisions made on the players currently on the roster, perhaps more so than in most years. Let's take a position-by-position look at who will likely be back with the team in 2019, and who won't, starting with the quarterback position.

Carson Wentz

In 2017, Wentz was the best player in the NFL before he was lost for the season with a torn ACL. And then Nick Foles closed the deal for him in the playoffs.

In 2018, Wentz was outstanding at times, and not himself at others. Ultimately, he was once again lost for the season, this time with a stress fracture in his back. While injury concerns exist, Wentz is still very clearly the future of the franchise. If there was any doubt, Doug Pederson put that to rest on Tuesday when he said bluntly that Wentz is the quarterback going forward.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay, obviously.

Your verdict:

Nick Foles

Foles' is (sort of) set to become a free agent this offseason, but his contract is unique. The short explanation of it is that the Eagles can pick up a $20 million option on Foles for the 2019 season, which Foles can either accept, or pay back a $2 million signing bonus that would trigger his free agency. The Eagles also have the unrealistic option of franchise tagging Foles, which they could use to keep him under their control, in an attempt to trade him.

There are two pieces that do a good job of breaking down all the different ways it can go with Foles this offseason. The first is by Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic, who came up with eight possible Foles scenarios, with commentary from former GM Joe Banner. The eight that Sheil came up with were as follows:

  1. Eagles decline Foles’ option for 2019
  2. Eagles pick up Foles’ option for 2019, but Foles pays back the $2M and becomes a free agent
  3. Eagles pick up Foles’ option, he doesn’t void it with the $2M payback, and they trade him
  4. Eagles pick up Foles’ option, he doesn’t void it with the $2M payback and they cut him before it becomes guaranteed
  5. Eagles pick up Foles’ option, he doesn’t void it with the $2M payback and he remains on the roster in 2019
  6. Eagles use the franchise tag on Foles, and he either remains on the roster for 2019 or they trade him
  7. Eagles renegotiate Foles’ deal and keep him on the roster with Wentz in 2019
  8. Eagles renegotiate Foles’ deal and trade Wentz for a ‘Godfather’ offer

The other piece is by Joel Corry of CBS Sports. He gets into more of the nerdy nuts and bolts of the options above, and came to the following conclusion, with which I agree:


The Eagles pick up Foles' option years. Foles pays the $2 million to get his freedom. The Eagles let Foles hit the open market because of the potential pitfalls of a franchise tag. Foles finds a team willing to pay him at least in the Case Keenum neighborhood.

In the most likely scenario in which Foles buys his way to free agency, he would count toward the compensatory pick formula. Assuming the Eagles don't sign pricey free agents of their own, thus offsetting the loss of Foles, they would be in line for a 2020 third-round comp pick for losing him.

#JimmyVerdict: The Nick Foles era, Part II, in Philadelphia, is almost certainly over.

Your verdict: 

Nate Sudfeld

The team likes Sudfeld. He's been developing behind the scenes for two seasons now, and was impressive during the 2018 preseasonBy moving on from Foles, assuming they do, the Eagles would also be giving Sudfeld a significant promotion from the No. 3 quarterback to the primary backup. I think he's ready for it.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay.

Your verdict:

#JimmyVerdict Stay or Go Results

Green = Stay

Red = Go

Orange = Will be back in camp in 2019, but a roster spot is not guaranteed

(Note: Some mobile versions will not display colors.)

 QBCarson Wentz Nick Foles Nate Sudfeld 
 Head coach   
 Offensive coordinator   
 Defensive coordinator   

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