February 27, 2019
The (second) Nick Foles era is officially over.
As the NFL world collected at the combine this week, Howie Roseman, the Eagles Executive Vice President of Player Personnel, spoke to the media Wednesday and confirmed that the Eagles will not use the franchise tag on Foles and will let him find a new home in 2019.
"We have been so fortunate to have two top 15 quarterbacks in Carson [Wentz] and in Nick," Roseman said. "I've spent a lot of time discussing this internally and with him and we decided to let Nick become a free agent.
"It's hard when you have someone who is incredibly valuable to your organization at the most important position in sports. At the same time, we have had incredible success with him when he's had top play, four playoff wins over the last two years, a great teammate, an incredible resource for Carson and Nate Sudfeld. At the same time, he deserves the chance to lead a team."
No one is closer to Foles, arguably than head coach Doug Pederson, who knows letting the Super Bowl MVP walk is in the best interest of both the Eagles and of Foles.
"Nick and I, we’ve got a lot of history together, all the way to the time we drafted him back under Andy Reid," Pederson said. Obviously, he was a huge part of our success these past few years, but like Carson Wentz, he’s just one piece of the puzzle. Now, like Howie said, it’s an opportunity to become a starter in this league, and he’s very capable of doing that. I’m excited about his future.”
Foles' contract had an option in it allowing the 30-year-old quarterback to buy his way out of the deal, which he did earlier this month. The Eagles had the option to exercise the franchise tag to keep him, but the expense of that would be upwards of $25 million. The Eagles have just over $2 million in cap space so tagging Foles, simply put, would complicate things. The only reason, realistically, Philadelphia would consider tagging Foles would be to trade him.
Was that ever a consideration?
"I don't really want to get into any trade discussions with any teams, but the combine is a time to talk to teams," Roseman said. "We made this decision as an organization and we feel very comfortable about it."
That answer seems to imply that there was no abundantly appealing option for the Eagles, who will likely receive as high as a third-round compensatory pick should Foles sign a high-dollar deal with a new team. He's among the best options available this offseason, if not the best:
2019 QB market:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 27, 2019
Free agents: Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Trade target: Case Keenum
Top draft prospects: Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray, Drew Lock, Daniel Jones
Other names to monitor: Josh Rosen, Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill
The decision all but promotes Sudfeld to second banana and Wentz' new back up. That is, if he earns the role.
"Nate's done great job," Pederson said Wednesday, "He's really put himself in a position to compete for that spot. We don't just hand out anything."
Pederson went on to suggest that Sudfeld would have an inside track over anyone due to his familiarity with the Eagles, but sounded open to bringing in a veteran or young quarterback to push him in training camp. And with Wentz' injury history, Sudfeld (or whoever winds up winning that spot) could well be called into action at some point in upcoming season.
If it winds up being Sudfeld, who has performed well in limited chances, the Eagles seem just fine with that.
"We have a lot of confidence in Nate," Roseman said. "He's had a lot of opportunities to learn from two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. This is a big year for him. We are very excited for Nate Sudeld."
Still, that confidence doesn't change the fact that the Eagles are about to lose the only quarterback to ever lead them to a Super Bowl victory. But, hey, at least we'll always have "Philly, Philly."
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