NFL insider Ian Rapoport made an appearance on Sunday’s edition of Good Morning Football to talk about the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback situation. Here’s what he had to say about both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles:
Let me give you a little bit on Carson Wentz first. They do not expect him to play during the playoffs if they make it, but he is going to get a scan after the regular season just to check on his back. OK, there’s your Carson Wentz update.
As far as Nick Foles, you mentioned earlier in the show he does have an opportunity to make a cool million dollars if the Eagles make the playoffs, among other incentives he really has cashed in this season. After the season, the Eagles have a decision to make. And it really is this: are they going to pick up his $20 million option on his contract and lock him in for another year? At that point, the expectation would be Foles would give back $2 million to the Eagles and buy his way toward free agency. That is a possibility. Or … do the Eagles franchise [tag] him and try to trade him? That really is the decision facing the Eagles. It’s clear he’s not going to be back in Philly. But how they send him another team or into free agency is going to be a big story this offseason.
It’s not a surprise to hear Wentz likely won’t be playing again this season. That’s been the expectation ever since news of his back fracture first emerged earlier this month. Doug Pederson himself said Wentz could take up to three months to heal. And with the reigning Super Bowl MVP playing well under center, there’s obviously no need to rush Wentz back to the field before he’s ready.
While we do know Foles is likely the starter for the rest of the 2018 season, we don’t know exactly what the future holds for him. The Eagles have been very vocally committed to Wentz, who turned 26 years old today, as the team’s long-term quarterback.
Even if the Eagles do want to keep Foles for 2019, it’s not necessarily up to them. As Rapoport notes, Foles can opt out of his contract if the Eagles pick up his $20 million option. Foles would likely opt out since he’s probably looking for a starting job and he could get much more than a one-year, $20 million deal in free agency. If Foles does opt, the Eagles could potentially hold on to him by applying the franchise tag. But that would require nearly $25 million in cap space. That’s a lot for an Eagles team that’s currently projected to be $10.8 million OVER the cap in 2019.
The Eagles could always negotiate a new deal with Foles. Or, with his blessing, they could either pick his option or franchise tag him with the idea of trading him to another team. There are some challenges with that kind of situation: the window to trade him would be limited, the team trading would for him would likely want to work out a long-term deal before giving up assets to acquire him, the Eagles would be on the hook for a big salary if a trade fails to materialize, etc. I wouldn’t put it past Howie Roseman to be able to be creative and get something done, though.
If the Eagles aren’t able to trade Foles and he signs with a new team in free agency, Philadelphia will likely receive a third-round compensatory pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Trading Foles would be designed to get a better asset sooner than that.
We’ll eventually see how it all shakes out. In the meantime, Foles will continue to start as long as the Eagles’ 2018 season is alive.