January 14, 2019
The Philadelphia Eagles' 2018-19 season came to an end on Sunday with a 20-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs. Now, all anyone can wonder about is what the future holds for former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.
Our own Jimmy Kempski offered up his thoughts on Twitter immediately following the game. And, at least to him, it seems pretty clear cut.
There’s no “QB controversy,” btw. Nick Foles is a legend (and then some) for life in Philly, but the Eagles’ QB going forward is going to be Carson Wentz. In my view, it’s not even a discussion. https://t.co/UvijJNDb7R— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) January 14, 2019
As we've written on this site before, there's almost no chance that Foles is back in an Eagles uniform next season, despite the fact that he led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title a year ago and essentially resurrected the team from the dead to lead them back to the playoffs this season.
Why? Well, there are several reasons. Let's take a look at some of them in today's season-ending edition of What They're Saying...
Over at NJ.com, Eagles beat writer Zack Rosenblatt broke down the Eagles current contract situation for all their pending free agent and trade-worthy players. Here's what he had to say about Foles:
QB Nick Foles
2019 cap hit: $20.6 million (mutual option)
Savings: If the Eagles decline Foles' option, Foles will have to pay back $2 million of his 2018 bonus and the Eagles would clear all but $1.8 million of his cap hit, would be charged as a dead cap penalty.
Verdict: The Eagles (or Foles himself) will almost certainly decline the option, and that alone will put them a few million under the cap. Foles will likely pursue a starting job and after his play to end the season, he'll likely get it. [nj.com]
Of course Nick Foles isn't worried about his future. He's the living embodiment of "Hakuna Matata."
"I'm not really going to worry about it right now," Foles said. "I'll do what I can to enjoy this ride back with my teammates and we'll see what happens." ...
Last year, the former Super Bowl MVP signed a revised, incentive-laden contract that called for a $20 million option in 2019. The Eagles can pick up the option, which would become fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the new league year. Foles can also buy out the contract for $2 million and become a free agent.
Repeatedly asked about his future, Foles thanked the Philly fans for their support. If Sunday was his final game in an Eagles jersey, he'll always be a legend for leading the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
"I think the big thing is what the city means to me," Foles said. "It's always welcomed me and my family. It's really been a joy to live there and be a part of everything and wear the green and wear the jersey. So, no matter what you can never take that away. We were able to do some really special things.
"So we'll see what happens, but I'll tell you this. I've enjoyed every single moment and it'll always have a special place in my heart. The city, the fans, the people, everything about it. There's nothing like playing in the Linc. Some of my favorite moments, my family got to experience some. My daughters got to experience them. So we'll see what happens, but I've enjoyed everything." [nfl.com]
And for those who haven't seen it yet, here's video of Foles talking about what was likely his final game in an Eagles uniform.
I'm not crying. You're crying...
PFT's Mike Florio makes a good point at the end here. And because I know Philly fans as well as I do, there's no doubt they'll play the "what-if" no matter what decision they make this offseason.
If (when) the Birds let Foles go, I imagine the "what-if" game played by the fanbase to be a lot like Phillies fans after they let Jayson Werth go in free agency, minus the animosity should he every return for a game in Philly. That's obviously a big difference between the two.
The Eagles could try to kick the can, by paying Foles starter money for 2019 while Wentz enters the fourth year of a wage-scaled rookie deal, waiting one more season for an answer to become obvious. But what would they do, if Foles is making franchise-tag money? Have an open competition? Or simply make Foles the highest paid backup quarterback the league has ever seen?
From the standpoint of both sending an unequivocal message to the locker room and charting a clear course for the short- and long-term future, the Eagles should choose one or the other. Apart from asking the question of which guy they’d rather see on the opposing sideline, they need to have a candid and honest discussion about which guy makes them better.
Given that the Eagles were blown off the Superdome playing surface eight weeks ago with Wentz at quarterback and pushed the Saints to the limit with Foles under center, it’s a real debate that Pederson, executive V.P. of football operations Howie Roseman, and owner Jeffrey Lurie must have, asking tough questions about what’s truly in the best interests of the team.
Some will call it a good problem to have. But the only good problem is no problem, because the likely outcome for the Eagles is that one will stay, and one will go. Whoever they choose, they’ll have to worry in 2019 and beyond that they picked the wrong guy. [profootballtalk.com]
Nick Foles is likely to be a free agent this offseason, and there are more than a few teams that appear to be in need of a quarterback upgrade. And Foles would be a definitely upgrade for several teams in the league...
Foles has a $20.6 million mutual option with the Eagles for 2019. In other words, both the player and team have to agree for the option to kick in. If Foles wants to test the open market, all he has to do is return a $2 million signing bonus (per Zach Rosenblatt of NJ.com) and he's a free man. If the Eagles don't want to sink $20 million into a backup quarterback (a huge sum for a team with the least cap space in the NFL, according to Over The Cap), then Foles gets a handshake and maybe a gold watch and then he'll hit the open market.
In news that should surprise no one, the most likely scenario (by a country mile) is that one or both parties will decline the option. Keeping Foles would put a substantial strain on an already tenuous cap situation in Philadelphia, and there are any number of teams who will be willing to give Foles a chance to start—and pay him accordingly.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have cap issues of their own, but quarterback is easily the team's most pressing need in 2019. The Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos could be looking to move on from their present signal-callers. And two teams in the NFC East, New York and Washington, could have openings under center this year.
If Blake Bortles and Case Keenum can land multiyear deals that average $18 million a season, it's not hard to imagine a quarterback in his prime with a Super Bowl MVP award to his credit doing the same. And while Foles likes playing in Philly, it's unlikely he likes it so much that he's willing to pass on both a chance to start and tens of millions of smackeroos. [bleacherreport.com]
Would Nick Foles really consider retiring again? He's done it before, so it's not totally out of the question. However, Jeff Fisher is nowhere to be found so the safe money is on him playing again next season.
It’s always possible that Foles remains in Philadelphia — he means a lot to that team and his salary is something the Eagles could handle. Or, if starting opportunities don’t seem that great, Foles could always re-work his deal with the Eagles to make them more likely to keep him if he’s happy staying put.
Philadelphia could also franchise tag Wentz*, to the tune of about $25 million, and then try to trade him. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported there should be a “quality trade market” for Foles’ services.
Beyond that, there are quite a few teams around the league in need of a reliable quarterback, whether the Eagles sign and trade him or let him hit free agency. Currently, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos and Washington are the most starter-needy teams (Denver can get out of its large deal with Case Keenum, if John Elway wants to).
There is also, of course, the possibility of retirement. [sbnation.com]
*I think he meant Foles here.
And now, another dose of reality from ESPN's Tim McManus, who believes Foles threw his last pass as Eagles quarterback on Sunday.
What about Foles? Though Foles showed off that magic once again, the organization has been committed to Wentz being the long-term QB. Assuming that thinking doesn’t change, they’ll likely move on from Foles, who appears to be too costly to hold onto as a backup. There is $20 million option in Foles’ deal for next year, but the QB can buy his way out of it and into free agency. Perhaps the Eagles place the franchise tag on him in an attempt to trade him. However it plays out, it looks like Foles’ run in Philly is over. [ESPN.com]
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