Top quarterback prospect Justin Herbert made some big news on Wednesday by officially announcing he’s returning to play for the Oregon Ducks in 2019.
Believe it or not, this news has some impact on the Philadelphia Eagles.
The most obvious angle is that this development is bad news for one of the Eagles’ NFC East rivals: the New York Giants. The G-Men are in desperate need of a long-term quarterback replacement for Eli Manning. Herbert staying in school means there’s one fewer quarterback option for the Giants, who are currently scheduled to pick somewhere from No. 4 and No. 12 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Giants potentially being unable to draft a Manning successor could means it’s more likely he returns to the team next season. There’s already been buzz that that’s the case. If true, that’s great news for the Eagles, who are 18-4 in their last 22 games against the Giants’ veteran quarterback.
Should the Giants decide to be wise for once and actually move on from Manning, the fact they won’t be able to get Herbert could increase their chances of signing a quarterback in free agency. And that quarterback could be ... Nick Foles.
The latest NFL betting odds have the Giants favored to land the Eagles’ reigning Super Bowl MVP. Foles wouldn’t have to move far and he’d be reunited with his former offensive coordinator for two seasons in Philadelphia, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur.
As Foles’ deal is currently structured, it’s not really up to the Eagles to keep him. Foles can simply void his 2019 option year if Philadelphia opts to pick it up. So, it’s very likely Foles will be on the open market when free agency begins in March. And a Giants front office that clearly seems to be in win-now mode could make a huge contract offer to Foles.
The Giants likely won’t be the only Foles suitor in free agency, assuming he makes it there. Herbert returning to school means one fewer quarterback option for other teams as well. That’s potentially good news for the Eagles as they hope to get a good 2020 compensatory pick for Foles (third-rounder).
It’s entirely possible Foles won’t be staying in the NFC East in 2019. But it’s certainly not impossible.
(Another angle to Hebert staying at Oregon is that it means one fewer quarterback pick will take place before the Eagles pick in the first round. That means one fewer non-QB prospect will get pushed down to Philly, which is a bummer.)