The 2018 season is officially over, so it’s time to explore the biggest offseason question the Eagles are facing.
They have already made it very clear that Carson Wentz is their starting quarterback going forward. Doug Pederson killed that debate on Tuesday (see story).
So what happens with Nick Foles?
The Eagles have a few options and so will Foles.
• The Eagles can decline to exercise his mutual contract option, which would make Foles an unrestricted free agent in March.
• They can exercise that $20 million option, which would force Foles to pay back $2 million of his signing bonus if he wants to buy his freedom as an unrestricted free agent. The Eagles must make that decision 30 days before the new league year begins on March 13. From that time, Foles has five days to make his choice, according to SI.com.
• Or the Eagles could elect to slap a franchise tag on Foles for the 2019 season that would pay Foles around $25 million with the hopes of trading him. (They could also keep him in this scenario, but that seems unlikely with Wentz established as the starter.)
There are a lot of layers to this.
Howie Roseman on Tuesday said the Eagles would “love” to keep Nick Foles, but a lot of that seemed like saying nice things about a guy who has meant a lot to this organization. The idea of having Foles on the roster next season making starter money seems like an untenable situation.
Another part of this is that Foles not only will have some leverage, but the Eagles have to ask themselves if they want to do right by him. It would make sense if Foles wants to explore the free-agent market. He should. It would give him a chance to make the most money and decide where he goes.
With all that in mind, I asked Roseman on Tuesday how much they factor in what is best for Foles and what he would want when making a decision like this:
It’s always gotta be what’s best for our football team and the Philadelphia Eagles. We gotta make decisions based on that. But there’s also a respect factor for guys that have done a lot for us and have been a part of it. We try to factor that in as well. The bottom line is we gotta do what’s best for our football team to win games going forward.
Would it be worth it to the Eagles to stand in Foles’ way to get a draft pick? And would Foles even be willing to play ball with them to get a draft pick? Because it seems unlikely a team would trade a premium draft pick for one year of Foles if it wasn't given assurances that he wanted to sign long term. And if Foles gets franchised, signs the tag and the Eagles can’t move him, they’d be paying their backup quarterback $25 million.
Roseman admitted that it is sometimes hard to take emotion out of the tough decisions the team has to make, especially with these special kinds of players who helped bring the first Super Bowl championship to Philadelphia. No one meant more to the team over the last two seasons than Nick Foles.
But if Foles has his heart set on being a starter in 2019, like he made clear again recently (see story), it still seems like we’re heading for a split between the two sides this offseason. There are just different roads to get there.
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