January 27, 2019
Today marks the first Sunday in several months without any football being played — well, any football that actually matters, that is — as the NFL offseason creeps closer and closer.
For the Eagles, there will likely be a lot of changes coming, with key players at key positions being up for new contracts. And that's not even counting former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, who has a mutual option for 2019 but will likely be taking snaps elsewhere next season.
With news coming down on Sunday that Redskins quarterback Alex Smith is expected to miss next season while recovering from his broken leg, perhaps there's a chance Washington gets in the mix for Foles, should he hit the open market.
While free agency is the most likely next step for Foles, there's still a slim chance the Eagles could trade him, assuming both Foles and the Birds exercise their option. And while that doesn't seem very likely, it's still too soon to rule it out completely. So that's where we'll start in today's edition of What They're Saying, with a look at a potential trade partner for Foles.
Over at CBSSports.com, Will Brinson posted a mock draft that included quite a few trades. And while Nick Foles for Loenard Fournette was not ultimately included in his mock, it was his jumping off point for the whole piece.
Could the Eagles make a deal with Jacksonville for their starting running back? It's certainly an area in which they need help, but with Fournette's injury history and price tag, it might not be the answer they need.
One problem here: I don't think the Jags are going to give up No. 7 overall in exchange for Nick Foles. You could work out a deal where the Jags send No. 7 and No. 69 to the Eagles for Foles, No. 26 and No. 54 (the trade value basically makes Foles worth the 28th overall pick, which is probably a reasonably fair swap), but Jacksonville is going to likely lose high-end, expensive talent to free agency as a result of salary-cap issues.
Jacksonville would like to use the seventh pick to either replace the talent or to secure another young quarterback for the long haul.
How about we make both front offices happy instead? The Jaguars can send Leonard Fournette -- their former top pick and a very talented player who has struggled with injuries and hasn't meshed well with the front office -- to the Eagles for Foles and a throw-in pick down the road.
There are some contractual issues here that might hold things up on both ends. Foles is either going to have his option picked up or will be given the franchise tag and traded. So he won't be cheap. Fournette isn't cheap either -- he has a top-10 salary over the next two years at the running back position.
Philly might not be willing to spend at the position, but Fournette is a better pass catcher than he gets credit for, and he could excel in Doug Pederson's scheme. The Eagles were at their best with LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi running downhill. [cbssports.com]
So who did he have the Eagles drafting with the 25th-overall pick?
25. Philadelphia Eagles
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan. The Eagles are going to have an interesting offseason, with a lot of players no longer under contract. They already (maybe) landed Fournette so they can focus on adding a defensive player instead. [cbssports.com]
You can read Jimmy Kempski's latest Eagles-only mock draft right here.
Is Nick Foles the best quarterback in the history of the franchise? Eagles beat writer Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com recently posted his rankings of the 25 best Eagles quarterbacks of all time, and I don't have a ton of objections over his Top 5 (obviously the most important part of the rankings).
I didn't want to spoil his top two — and more importantly the order in which he has them listed — so you'll have to go check them out for yourselves, but here's a look at his third- and fourth-ranked passers.
4. Norm Van Brocklin
Years with Eagles: 1958-60
Eagles stats: 36 games (36 starts), 7,497 yards, 55 TD, 51 INT, 54.3% completions, 1 playoff game
Why him: Van Brocklin only played three seasons for the Eagles,and at the end of his career, but he was stellar all three years. The Hall-of-Famer was a Pro Bowler in all three seasons and an All-Pro in his final one in 1960. He doubled as the team's punter, too. He won MVP in 1960
3. Randall Cunningham
Years with Eagles: 1985-95
Eagles stats: 122 games (107 starts), 22,877 yards, 150 TD, 105 INT, 55.7% completions, 4,482 rushing yards, 32 TD, 7 playoff games
Why him: In a lot of ways, Cunningham revolutionized the quarterback position. He was Mike Vick before Mike Vick was Mike Vick. He had a cannon for an arm, was ridiculously athletic and has the numbers to support this ranking. He made the Pro Bowl three straight seasons -- 1988-90 -- too. [nj.com]
After winning the Super Bowl last season, Eagles defensive end Chris Long contemplated retirement. And while he says he's hoping to come back in 2019, he also told Jon Marks and Ike Reese on WIP this week that he "could go either way."
The Eagles already have a lot of decisions to make about the roster next year, and Long seems like a guy they'd love to have back. Losing him to retirement could certainly complicate their plans. Then again, we went through this a year ago, so hopefully that "itch" to play only gets stronger as the offseason continues and his body has had more time to heal.
"At the end of the day, the itch is still here, I still love playing on Sunday," Long told Marks & Reese on 94WIP on Friday. "But as far as what happens, I'm literally just kind of sitting back and seeing what the Eagles do and who they bring in or don't bring in and how deep that room gets. But I'd still love to play. But at the end of the day at 33, I could go either way."
Long just finished his 11th NFL season and he'll be 34 in March. He's entering the final season of his contract, due to make a $3.5 million salary after tallying 6.5 sacks with 23 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles. ...
"I'd like to play football in 2019," he said. "I thought I had a strong year and felt good physically. Listen, I know I'm an older guy. But, you know, I don't think I've missed a practice over the last two years. I feel like I've been durable and ready when called upon." [nfl.com]
Over at ESPN, Dan Graziano took a look at 100 players, execs, coaches, topics, etc. who will shape the NFL over the next couple of years. And three Eagles players made the list.
Instead of 100 candles on some giant, football-shaped cake, we've decided to take a look at the 100 people or issues -- in no particular order -- that will shape the NFL over the next ... let's say ... three or four years. We've sorted them into categories -- quarterbacks get their own, of course -- and tried to give you a snapshot of who and what we think will be driving things in the league over the next couple of seasons and offseasons.
12. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Imagine being as good as Wentz is and living in the shadow of your backup. Nick Foles' legacy in Philadelphia is locked in if he never throws another pass as an Eagle. Wentz was on an MVP track before he got hurt in 2017 and Foles led the team to a Super Bowl title. He'll burn to win one of his own.
48. Malcolm Jenkins, S, Philadelphia Eagles
To the chagrin of some, Jenkins has become the leader of a players coalition that has decided to work with NFL owners on criminal justice reform issues. Jenkins has managed to use his platform to get some of his initiatives passed, and he'll continue to speak out on the issues behind player protests, even as such protests fade.
69. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Ertz set a tight-end record for catches in a single season with 116. Whether it's Carson Wentz or Nick Foles at QB, it's clear the star tight end is the focal point of Doug Pederson's Philadelphia offense. [espn.com]
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