INDIANAPOLIS — For the Philadelphia Eagles, the celebration of their Super Bowl triumph is done and it’s time to get back to work. Preparations for next season are underway and one of the biggest orders of offseason business for the team’s brain trust is deciding what to do with Nick Foles, the reigning Super Bowl MVP who is slated to return to backup status when franchise quarterback Carson Wentz returns from his knee injury.
“Our intention is to keep all our good players,” Howie Roseman, the team’s top front office football executive, said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Roseman stopped short of declaring unequivocally that Foles will not be traded to get something in return for him with his value so high. But he said that, ideally, the Eagles would retain Wentz, Foles and young quarterback Nate Sudfeld.
“We’re trying to keep as many good players as possible,” Roseman said. “And we’re talking about a Super Bowl MVP. He’s been unbelievably successful for us. He’s got great character, great leadership. That room is exactly what we’re looking for. We have a franchise quarterback. We have a Super Bowl MVP. And we have a young quarterback that we’re excited about, as well. So that’s kind of how we’re looking at it as we get started in the offseason. We’ve got a lot of areas that we have to address. We’re getting started a little bit behind all these other teams. And we know in this league if we don’t get to work and get serious about this, we’re going to get our butt kicked.”
Eagles Coach Doug Pederson left open the possibility that Foles, who signed a two-year contract with the Eagles before last season and took over as the starter when Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury in December, will be given a say in what happens.
“I think you’ve got to have that conversation,” Pederson said Wednesday. “I’m a big believer you don’t just blindside a player like that if that happens. I think you’ve got to have that open communication with them. We’ll see. We’ll see where it goes. Howie just mentioned we’d love to have everybody back. But we know the nature of the business. So we’ll talk about it if and when that time comes.”
Pederson said he doesn’t know Foles’s preference at this point.
“We didn’t get into that after the season,” Pederson said. “It wasn’t the time. We were just kind of coming off the high. We haven’t really discussed it.”
Roseman declined to provide an updated timetable for Wentz’s return.
“Right now, timetable is not where we’re at,” Roseman said. “As a whole, our team doesn’t come back until April 16. We’ve got a long way until we start training camp. So we’re not going to kind of get into the day-by-day incremental. There’s no harder worker, no more determined person, than Carson Wentz. We’re just going to make sure that we take care of him and do the right things by him.”
The Eagles will have to make some difficult player-related choices as they try to defend their Super Bowl title, Roseman said.
“This is a unique position for us and certainly me personally in the fact that we have to make these decisions coming off a championship year,” he said. “But we want to get better. We want to continue to be in a position to get better. And so we’re going to have to make tough choices. It’s not like we can just bring the band back together and expect the same results. That’s a part of what we have to do out here. There are going to be some tough ones that we have to make. But I think talking to Coach and our staff, we understand that that’s the mentality we have to take to have a chance to get back here again.”
Pederson said he gave his coaching staff a week off. Once the coaches returned, Pederson said, the focus shifted to the 2018 season, even while gratifying reminders of the Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots persist.
“It’s funny,” Pederson said. “I catch the game. I get home at night, whatever, I sit there and we’re watching TV, my wife and I, and we flip through and flip it to the NFL Network or HBO or something and you catch the game. And I’ve done that about four times now. Not that I’m searching for it, but it’s just on. And so I go back through the game and it’s just like, ‘Did we win?’ For me, it was a great way to just kind of analyze the game from afar and just to make sure that I was doing everything possible to help our team win. We did win.
“We had a chance to kind of get through that week after. And then I gave the coaches a week off. It’s been 20-plus weeks since we’ve had a break. So we took a week and just kind of got away from it, got back a couple weeks ago and we’re ready to go. We’re energized. We’re jazzed up and ready for the season.”