My colleague Master Tesfatsion has a preview of what to expect from the Redskins in free agency, which begins this week. In addition to their many needs on defense, the Redskins could use more depth at wide receiver, tight end, center and, yes, quarterback, with Robert Griffin III released on Monday and Colt McCoy a free agent. Someone has to play QB when the Redskins start resting franchise-tagged Kirk Cousins for the playoffs in Week 15, right?
General Manager Scot McCloughan has said the Redskins won’t be “big players” in free agency, not that they have much choice. The Redskins are projected to have around $11 million in cap space. Drew Stanton, Chase Daniel and Matt Hasselbeck are among the uninspiring quarterbacks in this year’s free agent class, but the Redskins could always look to add a backup in the draft or via trade. Perhaps they’ll acquire the Rams’ Nick Foles.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Friday that the Dolphins, Cowboys and Redskins will be among the teams interested in Foles if the Rams decide to deal him.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 4, 2016
With Cousins coming back and given the team’s many other needs, it’s hard to see why the Redskins would have much interest in the 27-year-old Foles, who signed a two-year, $24 million extension with the Rams last August. The Redskins could potentially bring back McCoy, who already has two seasons of experience in Coach Jay Gruden’s offense, for a cheaper price, which would leave more cap space to pursue other needs.
“He does have a $6 million price tag, which would be a lot for someone considering taking him on as a backup,” Rapoport said of Foles on NFL Network. “My understanding is the Rams know that this is what they owe him, is about $4 million as far as a bonus payment. Then, he is going to be paid about less than $2 million in a base salary, so what a team would be trading for is a backup-slash-starter — a little bit of a hybrid — at less than $2 million and there are teams who are expected to be interested. Among those teams, the Miami Dolphins would be one, the Dallas Cowboys would be another, and the Washington Redskins if they don’t re-sign Colt McCoy as their backup, they could be another team. He could be slotted right behind Cousins there.”
Foles has struggled since his breakout 2013 season under Chip Kelly in Philadelphia, in which he threw for 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions. After being traded to the Rams and signing a two-year contract extension last August, he was benched for Case Keenum in Week 11 and finished the season with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. There’s not much reason to believe that Foles would be a better option than McCoy in Gruden’s offense.
Cousins and Foles, who were college teammates for one season at Michigan State, were often mentioned in the same breath during the buildup to the Redskins’ decision to give Cousins the franchise tag. Specifically, some wondered, what if Cousins turns out to be the next Foles, a one-year-wonder at this point in his career?
During an appearance on 106.7 The Fan with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier last Wednesday, former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann explained why he doesn’t expect that to be the case.
“You can always say someone is going to regress,” Theismann said. “Nick Foles came out and had a great year in a singular system with very little around him. I don’t believe Chip Kelly’s system is going to work in the National Football League. Nick was a product of a system that people really didn’t understand, and then they got to figure it out. Kirk is in a system that is proven — it’s tried, it’s true. You know that we want to run the football initially. You know that we have to have a healthy Jordan Reed. You know that we went the first nine weeks without DeSean Jackson — we didn’t have a deep threat. You know that we’ll add people to this football team. The offensive line, other than Trent Williams, everyone up there hadn’t really played any football as a Redskin, so there was a terrific amount of newness on the offensive side of the ball. I’d say that the chances of Kirk playing well are much greater than if he didn’t perform well. And all he needs to do is really manage the ship just like he has.”