April 17, 2018
I have a feeling I'm going to be writing a lot about Nick Foles' value all offseason, so allow me to compose a standard disclaimer about Foles first, and then we'll keep track of the madness that emerges this offseason about the trade compensation that people think the Eagles will receive in return for him.
DISCLAIMER: Nick Foles is great. He is a Super Bowl winning MVP and a Philadelphia legend for life. His playoff run on the way to the Eagles' first Super Bowl win in franchise history was nothing short of outstanding. He threw with accuracy and confidence, leading the Eagles to 31 points (offensively) against the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL in the NFC Championship Game, and then he beat arguably the best quarterback in NFL history in an instant classic Super Bowl shootout. In no way are we disparaging Nick Foles at all.
There. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's note that Foles has value to the Eagles in 2018. As you're all aware, the Eagles' starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, tore his ACL Week 14 of the regular season. Yep, it's true. That happened.
The Eagles already know they can win with Foles (obviously), so there's no need to rush 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.
Of course, there's also a number of pretty good reasons why trading him makes a lot of 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 on a team that can realistically expect to make the playoffs heading into any season for the next 12-15 or so years (or however long Wentz can play, barring constant injuries).
• 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.
Can the Eagles get a first-round pick in return for Foles? Sure, that's certainly possible. What I do know is that Howie Roseman has the luxury position of sitting back and waiting for a great offer, or, you know, simply keeping Foles, who is also valuable to the Eagles.
That said, some of the trade compensation takes for Foles are unreal. Let's just go ahead and keep a tracker of them, so I don't have to write a new article every time one emerges.
I don’t think Philly trades quarterback Nick Foles, unless some team makes an offer that start with two first-round picks. Even then, I’m skeptical they’d pull the trigger. This is why they got Foles in the first place—because GM Howie Roseman and Pederson think the backup quarterback is one of the 10 or 12 most important players on the team.
Via Adam Schefter...
Bill Polian said on ESPN’s NFL Live that, if he were the Eagles’ GM, he wouldn’t listen to any offers for Nick Foles unless they started with “two 1’s and two 2’s.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 19, 2018
Yep, the Colts blog StampedeBlue.com suggested this gem of an idea on Thursday.
While the NFL does not have a specific system for how a team can trade players or draft picks for cash considerations, the Houston Texans proved last year that teams are willing to pay with draft picks to unload a player with an unwieldy cap hit. Typically, the most interested parties for trades such as this will be teams who have plenty of cap space and who are placing an emphasis on drafting players to form the foundation for the future.
This year, the Colts are sitting with what is currently projected as the fourth overall cap space in the NFL a month away from free agency. While we know that Chris Ballard has been deliberate with the use of salary cap space and has not gone out of his way to take on massive contracts, we also know that he is interested in acquiring draft picks if there are meaningful ways to do so.
While there is likely not a non-quarterback on another team who would allow the Colts to upgrade at a position and then also add a draft pick in 2018 free agency, there are some interesting potential trade opportunities and considerations the team should at least consider as other NFL franchises look to clean up their own books.
And then when they started giving examples of players who might fit the bill, they landed on Lane Johnson and Mychal Kendricks.
Players the Eagles could consider as potential trade pieces include tackle Lane Johnson (28) and linebacker Mychal Kendricks (27). The issue with Johnson is that he is slated to cost the team over $12 million in cap space and he is expected to return to the right tackle position when marquee left tackle Jason Peters returns to the field next season. They are in desperate need of cap space and as much as they don’t want to breakup one of the best offensive lines in the NFL from last year, paying Johnson the second highest salary on the entire roster (more than Peters) seems difficult to sustain.
The situation with Kendricks is that he fell a bit out of favor when Philadelphia made some defensive changes a couple of years ago. His best position, arguably, is at the Mike linebacker position in a 4-3 base scheme. He has the athleticism to cover over the middle of the field and can make a real impact when healthy. He finished the season as a starter for the Eagles and they could look to bring him back in that role but injuries helped secure his spot in the rotation so it wouldn’t be a total shock that he could be a cap casualty.
I mean... Wtf? Johnson faced the following stud edge rushers this season, and shut them all out: Ryan Kerrigan twice, Justin Houston, Jason Pierre-Paul twice, Joey Bosa, Von Miller, DeMarcus Lawrence, Michael Bennett, and Khalil Mack. He allowed just one sack on the season, to the 49ers' Leger Douzable. That is outstanding.
There's an argument to be made that he was the best offensive tackle in the NFL in 2017. Not right tackle, mind you. Just, tackle. He was the best, as in, better than Tyron Smith, Trent Williams, or anyone else who may come to mind.
And apparently the Eagles are going to say to the Colts, "Hey Colts, you want Lane Johnson and one of our six draft picks to offset the trouble of adding him to your roster? How does the 32nd overall pick sound?"
That one will be hard to beat.
In Peter King's MMQB column this week, he noted that the Eagles have received at least one "respectable" offer for Foles.
The Eagles continue to be confident that Carson Wentz will be healthy enough after Dec. 13 knee surgery to play the Sept. 6 NFL opener, and have had at least one respectable (the word I hear to describe it) trade offer for Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles … The Eagles got first- and fourth-round picks for Sam Bradford 17 months ago and feel Foles is better, so it’ll likely take at least that to pique their interest, and that’s likely not happening.
OK, so that's not an "insane" take. We'll call it "flawed logic" instead.
Is Nick Foles better than Sam Bradford? Of course he is. Then again, if you've read me for the last few years, you already know that I've never thought much of Bradford. However, for some insane reason, a huge chunk of the NFL still did, even when the Eagles traded him to Minnesota before the 2016 season.
So are we comparing Foles to Bradford now, or Bradford to the wrongly inflated value that he had two offseasons ago? If it's the latter, there's an argument to be made that Bradford may have had more value then to teams around the league than Foles does now. To be clear, I'm not one of those insane people, but Bradford has been a white whale to NFL personnel people for almost a decade now.
Furthermore, the Eagles shipped off Bradford to a Vikings team that thought they could compete for a Super Bowl that lost their starting quarterback less than two weeks before the start of the season. The Eagles had the Vikings' metaphorical testicles in a vice, and committed highway robbery by siphoning off a 1 and a 4 from them. That perfect storm is highly unlikely to happen again.
So if the Eagles' attitude toward receiving an offer of a 1 and 4 for Foles is something akin to, "Hmmm... interesting, I'll maybe accept your phone call but I'm going to chew loudly during our conversation, and I'll mostly be watching Impractical Jokers while we're on the phone," then that is just nuts.
Nick Foles to the Bills for Tyrod Taylor and one of the Bills' first-round picks? This guy seems to think that's plausible:
Just to be sure this rumor is definitely happening, I looked up Tyrod Taylor's contract, as I seemed to recall it was a bit high. Oh, wow, look at that. He has a $10 million salary in 2018, and a roster bonus of $6 million due at some point.
Meanwhile, the Eagles are already projected to be about $10 million over the the cap when the new league year begins, plus you have to add on Michael Bennett's roughly $5 million cap charge, which by my math would bring them to around $15 million over the cap. And then they're going to add Taylor for another $10 million, plus $6 million more at some point? Hmmmm...
I'm not sure about this one, guys.
It's been a while since we heard any insane Nick Foles trade takes, but apparently on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" show this morning, they fantasized about a Foles trade to the Jets. It's a jokey kind of segment, but come on.
Or if you don't want to watch it, here's the gist of it:
So, looking at the trade value chart, the No. 3 overall pick is worth 2200 points. The No. 32 overall pick is worth 590 points. That means that Foles would account for 1610 points in this scenario, or the equivalent of the No. 6 overall pick.
Originally, the Jets made the following trade to obtain the No. 3 overall pick a few weeks ago:
|Jets got||Colts got|
|No. 3 overall pick||No. 6 overall pick|
|No. 39 overall pick|
|No. 49 overall pick|
|2nd round pick in 2019|
If the Jets wanted Foles THAT badly, they could have just offered 6, 39, 49, and a second-round pick in 2019 for Foles and 32. The Eagles would have rushed Foles to the nearest helicopter and air-dropped him at the 50 yard line of MetLife Stadium.
Over at ESPN, Bill Barnwell attempted to find a possible trade for every team picking in the first round. I imagine that coming up with trades that make sense for all 32 teams has to be a very difficult exercise. Here's what Barnwell came up with for the Eagles:
Bills get: 1-32; QB Nick Foles
Eagles get: 1-12; QB AJ McCarron
What happens if the Bills don't find a way to trade up and subsequently miss out on the quarterbacks they wanted to take before they're on the clock at 12? There has to be a fallback plan, right? Unless they plan on signing Jay Cutler or Colin Kaepernick, the most plausible trade candidate is Foles. The Eagles haven't been desperate to trade the Super Bowl MVP given the state of Carson Wentz's knee, but this would represent a significant return, with the pick swap equivalent to the 31st pick of a typical draft. The Eagles would get McCarron as a low-cost backup; they would be on the hook for only $900,000 in 2018 and a non-guaranteed $3.1 million next year. A trade up would give Philly a shot at some of the draft's top cornerbacks, or a possible replacement left tackle for Jason Peters.
This one isn't THAT bad, at least compared to some of the other trade scenarios above.
Would I be stunned if the Eagles dealt Foles to the Bills? No. Are the Bills going to trade the equivalent of the 31st overall pick, plus eat $4 million in dead money by trading a player in McCarron that they just signed a month ago? No, and I don't think the Eagles would even need McCarron, as they legitimately like what they have in No. 3 quarterback Nate Sudfeld.
Barnwell probably could have just proposed Foles and pick 32 for pick 12, and left it at that.
Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski.
Like Jimmy on Facebook.
Like the new PhillyVoice Sports page on Facebook.