February 01, 2019
The Philadelphia Eagles have made clear that they intend to stick with Carson Wentz as their franchise quarterback going into next season and beyond.
Even before Wentz was shut down for the year with a back injury, there had been natural speculation about potential landing spots for backup Nick Foles. One of them was the Eagles' division rival in New York. We all know what happened next.
As Philadelphia enters an offseason full of key decisions, one of the defense's outspoken leaders — and a potential question mark to return himself — says he'd really rather not have to play against Foles as a Giant.
“I would hate to see him with the Giants just because I hate playing my friends," defensive end Chris Long told NJ.com at Super Bowl Media Week in Atlanta. "And if I end up back in Philly, I’d have to play him twice a year."
Long was among a group of team leaders to defend Carson Wentz in the wake of our report on several anonymous team sources who characterized the quarterback as selfish.
Foles, whose value has only increased since the team's playoff run, figures to leave Philadelphia under almost every possible scenario.
The Giants, coming off a disappointing 5-11 season, haven't yet signaled whether they'll continue with Eli Manning as the presumed starter next season. Kyle Lauletta, the team's fourth-round draft pick last year, wasn't even listed as Manning's second-string backup in a meaningless week 17 game.
The mathematically eliminated #Giants will make Alex Tanney the backup QB today, over 4th round rookie Kyle Lauletta. Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur can say they played him more than the previous regime played Davis Webb. By five whole throws (assuming he sits again next week).— Matt Lombardo (@MattLombardoNFL) December 23, 2018
Long, 33, is still considering retirement but says he feels healthy, motivated and effective enough to return for another season. He hopes it will be with the Eagles, if he does, but reading between the lines he also implies he'd like to see more time on the field.
“I’d be really excited to play football next year, but not in a situation that made me resent continuing," Long said.
Having played 660 total snaps this past year including the postseason, Long was on the field 59.1 percent of the time, fourth-most among his fellow defensive linemen. A significant share of that came as a result of a season-ending injury to Derek Barnett, though the Eagles have generally preferred to keep a steady rotation under Jim Schwartz.
The next several months, between free agency and the NFL draft, will go a long way toward clarifying what that group will look like next year. If they have to chase down Nick Foles, so be it.