Following his team’s 20-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints in a divisional playoff game on Sunday night, Nick Foles sure sounded as if he has played his final game in an Eagles uniform.
“I think the big thing is what the city means to me,” he said, according to The Post’s Mark Maske. “It’s always welcomed me and my family. It’s really been a joy to live there and be a part of everything, wear the green and wear the jersey. No matter what, you can’t ever take that away. We were able to do some really special things. 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.”
The presence of Carson Wentz as Philadelphia’s entrenched (if injury-plagued) starting quarterback and the nature of Foles’s contract seem destined to send the latter into free agency, although Maske makes another case, arguing that “The Eagles, quite simply, have been a better team with Foles at quarterback than with Wentz at the spot.”
Still, the Eagles would have to pay him around $20 million to stay, far too much money for a backup quarterback, and Foles probably would like to see what he can get as a starter on the open market. Philadelphia also could pick up the option on Foles’s contract and then try to trade him, with hopes of securing a few higher-round draft picks, or it could slap the franchise tag on him and then not match another team’s offer, netting two first-round picks in return.
According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, there might be a “free-for-all” among NFL teams for Foles’s services. Knowing that, here’s a very early look at where he might land.
Alex Smith almost certainly will not be ready at the start of the 2019 season, if he’s able to go at all after the gruesome leg injury and subsequent infection he suffered last year. So the Redskins are going to need a quarterback, but there’s also the matter of the money they owe Smith, even if they cut him: His salary cap hit is going to be substantial no matter what move the Redskins make. Washington might have to settle for a cheaper option than Foles, considering the team’s salary cap issues and the starting-quarterback money he’s likely to command.
The consensus is that Blake Bortles isn’t the quarterback of the future but, like the Redskins, the Jaguars still would have to take a salary cap hit even if they cut him loose. The Jags could do that, or they could keep him and draft a young quarterback who would command a more cap-friendly salary (though this year’s draft is not seen as one that’s well stocked with passers). Either way, it doesn’t seem likely that they’d be willing (or able) to spend big money on Foles. Because of his less-onerous contract, Joe Flacco may be a more viable option in Jacksonville, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports.
Miami is in a very similar situation as the Jags: The Dolphins would have to eat some of Ryan Tannehill’s salary should they decide to cut him. In any case, ESPN’s Adam Schefter says Miami is planning on a rebuilding year in 2019 with an eye toward what’s expected to be a quarterback-heavy draft in 2020. Foles wouldn’t exactly fit in that scenario.
New York may finally be moving on from Eli Manning (or, alternately, Manning may finally decide to retire). In either case, the Giants seem likely to need a new quarterback and have the No. 6 pick in this year’s draft, where they could take either Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins or Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and sign a veteran to serve as a bridge quarterback. Foles probably doesn’t see himself as a bridge quarterback.
New coach Vic Fangio said Thursday that Case Keenum is Denver’s quarterback “right now,” but Denver’s decision not to hire Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator may mean Keenum’s days are numbered because Kubiak was one of Keenum’s biggest supporters. The Broncos have the No. 10 pick in this year’s draft and could trade up to secure the aforementioned Haskins or Murray (perhaps holding on to Keenum as a placeholder). Or they could focus on defense in the draft, considering Fangio’s background on that side of the ball, let Keenum go and set their sights on a guy like Foles.
One NFL scout told Freeman that he thinks Oakland Coach Jon Gruden will utilize a portion of the three first-round picks the Raiders got in the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades “to make the Eagles an offer they can’t refuse.” Obviously, this is contingent on the Eagles picking up the option on Foles’s contract. Plus, there’s the fact that the Raiders have a pretty good starting quarterback already in Derek Carr, even if he and Gruden perhaps don’t see eye to eye all the time. Oakland’s main problems stem from its wretched defense, and it may be wise for the Raiders to fix that first.
What if the Patriots win another Super Bowl and Tom Brady finally listens to his wife and retires? What if the Saints win it all and Drew Brees — who turns 40 on Tuesday — decides that two Lombardi Trophies and a pending yellow Hall of Fame blazer are plenty? Each NFL offseason usually contains a few surprises here and there, and one of those could affect where Foles is playing next season. All we know right now is that it most likely will not be in Philadelphia.
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