February 02, 2019
Whether or not Nick Foles will be in an Eagles uniform next season is now largely on the shoulders of one Nick Foles — sort of. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Eagles will exercise their half of Foles' $20 million option for the 2019 season.
From Super Bowl Live: The #Eagles are expected to pick up the $20M option for QB Nick Foles, sources say. Not a surprise, but an important piece. What happens next will be intriguing. pic.twitter.com/FOpLeAhQu1— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 2, 2019
Now, the decision is up to Foles on whether he'd like to sign that deal and return to the Eagles for another year as Carson Wentz's backup OR pay the $2 million buyout and become a free agent this offseason. Of course, Foles could exercise his option and then be traded by the Birds, although that comes with its own set of complications.
As our own Jimmy Kempski wrote earlier in the week, this part (the Eagles picking up their half of the option) was more or less expected. But what does it mean going forward? Well, that's where it gets complicated as we don't know what the Eagles' end game is yet.
Do they just want Foles back as the backup this year, no matter the cost? Are they banking on Foles buying his way out of Philadelphia? Or are they trying to get Foles under contract and then trade him?
The third option there is definitely intriguing, but how would the Eagles make a deal work given that Foles' $20 million cap hit would put them well over the projected $190 million salary cap? Jimmy Kempski explains...
That fact makes a trade more difficult than it already is. Why? Well, Foles cannot be traded until the new league year begins. Unfortunately, that works against the Eagles. One of the NFL's asinine rules is that players who are traded the moment the calendar flips to the new league year still have to first fit under the their original team's salary cap before they can be dealt. In other words, the Eagles would have to find alternate ways not involving Foles to shave off the aforementioned $15,450,726 they are projected to be over the cap. That would require some heavy restructuring or termination of players' contracts, with the most likely candidates being Timmy Jernigan, Rodney McLeod, and Jason Peters. [MORE]
And even if they are able to get all that restructuring out of the way, trading Foles is still a tall talk. Here's more, courtesy of Jimmy...
The way a deal could possibly get done is if the Eagles picked up Foles' option, and he did not buy his way to free agency by paying back a $2 million signing bonus. There would have to be a perfect storm of cooperation from three different sides for that to happen:
- The team acquiring Foles (let's just call them the Jaguars from here on out so I don't have to keep typing "the team acquiring Foles" over and over) would have to value Foles enough that they want to secure his rights without the rest of the league having a chance to bid on him, and they're willing to give up a decent asset to do so.
- The Eagles would have to be willing to do a whole lot of cutting and/or restructuring of players to make room for Foles on the 2019 cap when the new league year begins. For this effort, they would need the Jaguars to cough up at least a Day 2 pick (or some value equivalent of that) to make it worth their while over the third round comp pick they're otherwise likely to receive in 2020.
- Foles would have to want to go to the Jaguars, and be willing to sign a long-term deal with them. More realistically, he would have to have a long-term deal already in place with the Jaguars before he'd ever pass on buying his way to free agency once the Eagles exercised his 2019 option. He would save $2 million this way, as he would not be buying his free agency.
Possible? Yes. Highly unlikely? Also yes.
The scenario Jimmy most likely sees playing out is that the Eagles pick up Foles' option (which they will reportedly do) and then Foles pays the $2 million it'll cost him to hit the open market.
In other words, this decision by the Eagles hardly guarantees Foles returns to the Eagles next season.
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