According to NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport, the Eagles are expected to explore trade options for QB Nick Foles.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 6, 2019
While it was expected that the Eagles would hand the reigns back over to Carson Wentz at the end of the season, the possibility of trading Nick Foles looked to have run its course when Howie Roseman elected to keep the Super Bowl MVP as an insurance policy for Wentz again.
That is apparently not the case as the Eagles will open the phone lines for a trade when the season is over.
Some initial thoughts on a potential deal for Foles:
Sorry Foles stans
A new coalition to make Nick Foles the face of the franchise and cast out Carson Wentz has formed after the Eagles won three straight games to get into the playoffs. Pulling off two magical runs into the postseason within a year, it is hard to blame some fans for loving what Foles has done for the city of Philadelphia.
The memories he helped to create will last a lifetime.
But baring another Super Bowl victory (and even then who knows), it was always expected that Wentz would return under center when he returned to full health. Head Coach Doug Pederson has said for weeks that Wentz is the guy.
The Eagles could have the best of both worlds
There were many debates in the summer about whether or not the Eagles should trade Foles or keep him as the backup in case of this exact 2018 scenario.
The Eagles kept Foles and it looks to be a great decision.
Not only did Foles come in for an injured Wentz and lead the Eagles to the playoffs again, but the organization could seemingly get at least a second or third round pick for the veteran in the offseason. That will help to replace the day-two pick traded away when the Eagles acquired Golden Tate at the trade deadline.
Another playoff run and a high draft pick. Win-win.
What kind of compensation and leverage the Eagles have will be interesting
The front office could play hard ball last year, holding out for at least a first round pick if a team wanted to make Foles their starting QB. Foles was under contract and with Wentz coming off a torn ACL, there was still a need for a proven backup.
This year there may not be as much leverage. The Eagles can decide to pick up Foles’s $20 million option in an attempt to sign and trade him. If Foles declines the option by giving back $2 million dollars, the organization can elect to use the franchise tag and then trade him.
With many expiring contracts to key players, and an inevitable extension to Wentz, the Eagles will not be able to afford the big cap-hit that the option or tag would have.
Teams would know Philadelphia can’t afford to hold out and stash Foles for another year, perhaps lowering the draft compensation as Rappaport reported.
A factor that could drive up the price is the competition. There could be a lot of veteran-options in free agency (Teddy Bridgewater, Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill), but Foles, coming off a historic run to the Super Bowl, followed by another late-season surge to the playoffs, should be the most attractive option between free agency and the draft.
The front office could still get at least a second or third round pick back. That would give the Eagles four picks in rounds 1-3 which could be crucial in helping restock the roster with young talent that may need to replace veterans like Jason Peters and Brandon Graham.
Some silver linings in the Wentz injury
It is never ideal when a team’s franchise quarterback is injured. Especially when the quarterback was an MVP-finalist at full strength. However there are a few silver linings to the injury.
Of course, Foles coming in and helping the team go on a run to the playoffs is the main one. The fact that the Eagles could still get a good draft pick in a trade is a big one too.
If Wentz never injured his back, Foles would have only played in the first two games, which were underwhelming to say the least.
It isn’t likely that Roseman would elect to pick up the option or franchise tag Foles in order to trade him if this playoff push doesn’t happen. And teams wouldn’t be as attracted to the idea of Foles as the unquestioned starter of their franchise.
Impact of paying a QB
On today’s Locked on Eagles podcast:
Does paying a QB big money hold a team back from contention?
What does history tell us?
Is the concern about paying any player this amount of money or is it about Wentz himself?
Ranking the roster
On today’s Locked on Eagles:
Are the Eagles and Carson Wentz about to get a deal done?
Is Joe Douglas the next Jets GM?
Ranking the Eagles positions from strongest to weakest
On today’s Locked on Eagles podcast:
Where do the starting quarterbacks in the NFL belong based on tiers?
Where is Carson Wentz among the other 31 starters?
How many “elite” QBs are there?