The Eagles would love to keep Nick Foles next season, but can the franchise realistically afford to keep two highly paid quarterbacks on the roster?
Nick Foles couldn’t quite conjure up enough magic to help the Eagles win another Super Bowl this season but he still showed he has what it takes to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. The question for Philadelphia is whether or not they can afford to keep he and Carson Wentz on the roster moving forward.
For what it’s worth, the team certainly has strong interest in keeping Foles. Howie Roseman, the team’s executive vice president for football operations, informed the media on Tuesday that the Eagles would “love” to keep him around for the 2019 season. Specifically, he claims the organization has a high level of comfort for Foles since they were the franchise that originally drafted him.
From a football perspective this is an easy decision. Foles comfortably profiles as one of the best backup signal-callers in the NFL. That, combined with Carson Wentz’s recent injury history make it easy to see why Doug Pederson and company would want to keep Foles on the roster. Unfortunately for the Eagles front office, Foles’ future with the team may be more dependent on the team’s finances.
The franchise currently is projected to be$12 million over the cap next season, and that doesn’t take into account some significant free agents the team would like to retain. The Eagles will at least investigate the chances of bringing guys like Golden Tate and Brandon Graham on long-term contracts, although both are likely to leave. Signing any player in that caliber is going to start to eat into the team’s cap very quickly.
The team currently has an option to keep Foles next season under the terms of his current contract. That would require the Eagles to pay him a minimum of $20 million next season. Considering Philadelphia’s financial position, he’s not coming back on his current deal. Even if the team does exercise that option, Foles has the ability to buy himself out of the deal for $2 million. To put it mildly, there are a lot of moving parts here.
At some point, the Eagles are going to have to cut Foles loose. Keeping him around is a great insurance policy against an injury to Wentz, but the current NFL salary cap simply doesn’t allow teams to keep two highly-paid quarterbacks on the roster. The only teams that successfully employ two signal callers capable of starting meaningful games still have one of the players on a rookie scale contract.
That means this offseason is as good a time as any for the Eagles to move on from Foles. Moving him comes with serious risk, but it’s also very likely his stock is at an all-time high. He’s shown the ability to win meaningful playoff games for his team two seasons in a row. This year’s postseason run erased any doubts about last year’s Super Bowl victory being a fluke.
The Eagles should be in a position to get a really good return for Foles via the trade market. He’s a veteran who can comfortably slot into multiple schemes around the NFL. It’s not out the question that Philadelphia would be able to get several high-value draft picks in exchange for their backup quarterback. A team with a ton of draft capital like the Raiders might even be willing to give up two first-rounders.
Moving on from Foles isn’t going to be clean and easy for the Eagles, but it’s a move they have to make if they want to keep the talent surrounding Wentz at a level capable of winning a Super Bowl. Pederson won’t enjoy losing his security blanket, but it’s in the best interest of the franchise’s future.