What should the Eagles do with Nick Foles? The moment Carson Wentz hobbled into the tunnel in Los Angeles, ending his season and lunging a dagger through the hearts of Eagles fans everywhere, Foles was thrust into the spotlight.
Could he deliver in the clutch, or would the magical season the Eagles were experience go up in flames?
The Eagles obvious thought enough of Foles to jettison their already highly-compensated backup quarterback Chase Daniel, and then turn around and give Foles a comparatively lucrative guarantee.
Did they believe he could lead them to the Super Bowl if Wentz went down?
Or had the relationship with Daniel soured so greatly they had to move on, and Foles—with his familiarity of and to the team—was the easiest replacement?
Either way Foles was signed, and forced to step into the starting lineup when Wentz injured his knee. Despite some shaky performances Foles has settled in, and led the Eagles to four wins in five games.
On Sunday they take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, and then—win or lose—will have several decisions to make.
MOVING ON TO 2018
According to Spotrac they are already well over the 2018 NFL salary cap, and many adjustments will need to be made to the roster going forward.
Some decisions are easier than other. After a mostly disappointing season Torrey Smith is likely to be released. Longtime Eagle Brent Celek is probably a cap casualty as well. These two moves alone should get the Eagles’ books into the black, but without much wiggle room for additions, or even inking their next draft class.
The Eagles will also need cap space just to retain key members of their Super Bowl team, including linebacker Nigel Bradham. Since coming over from Buffalo he’s been a key cog for the Eagles defense. And that says nothing of the new contract that star defensive end Brandon Graham has played himself into.
Others, such as backup tight end Trey Burton, have priced themselves out of Philadelphia. Despite being a solid compliment and fill-in for Zach Ertz, Burton will likely have better offers elsewhere, and will need to be replaced.
There are many ways the Eagles could approach this offseason. They reached the Super Bowl without Jason Peters, but do they cut ties with the future Hall of Famer (saving roughly $5M in cap space) or look for savings elsewhere?
Luckily the Eagles head into the off-season without many significant needs, but they still have to create cap space somehow.
FOLES IS A GONER
One way of adding to their empty pot of gold is to trade Nick Foles. While he hasn’t played flawlessly filling in for Wentz, Foles has shown he can—and convincingly so—on football’s biggest stage.
A strong showing on Sunday will only enhance his trade value—which will NEVER be higher.
The Eagles have given up serious assets in recent years, and dealing Foles will not only improve their cap situation, but also help recoup some of those lost assets.
Dreaming of a first or second round pick is just that…a dream. At this point in his career Foles is what he is: a serviceable veteran, but not a long-term starter nor a franchise changer.
No NFL team is going to pay a premium for a 29 year old with limited upside.
But a rebuilding team, or even a fringe contender, might offer a mid-round pick. The Jets and Bills fit that profile. Each may target a high-end draft prospect, and prefer to let him sit and learn for a year.
The other New York team could be in the mix as well, if they move their own veteran signal caller.
All things considered there should be a strongish market for Foles, and the Eagles need to exploit that.
With their confidence in Carson Wentz, and in his recovery, they should get what they can for Foles and move on. Backup quarterbacks can be crucial, as this season has shown, but teams shouldn’t build their rosters around them.
Trading Foles will not drastically alter the franchise’s roster, but it should get them a draft pick or two. A team like the Jets should be willing to offer at least a fourth rounder—the same round pick that the Eagles used to acquire their starting running back.
Good game or bad, win or lose, Sunday likely represents the last time Nick Foles puts on his Eagles jersey.