The 2018 NFL offseason has begun for the Philadelphia Eagles, which means Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson will spend the next couple of weeks evaluating the 2017 roster. It’s already time to start figuring out what this team needs to do to repeat as Super Bowl champions next year. Today we’ll start this roster outlook series by looking at the quarterback position.
Regular season stats: 879 snaps, 13 games started, 11-2 record, 265/440 (60.2% completion), 33 TD, 7 INT, 3296 yards (7.5 yards per attempt), 101.9 passer rating, 299 rushing yards
Review: Wentz was an absolute stud in 2017. He easily could’ve been the league MVP if he didn’t suffer an ACL tear in Week 14. And despite missing 3.25 games, only one quarterback (Russell Wilson) threw more touchdown passes than he did.
The 25-year-old Wentz showed superstar potential in his sophomore season. He proved that his ceiling is being the best player in the entire league. He’s the complete package: a physical freak with an incredible work ethic and advanced mental capacity. To put the icing on top, he appears to be a genuinely great guy off the field as well.
It wasn’t all perfect for Wentz. There are still concerns about his mechanics, which lead to inaccurate passes that sail high at times. His durability will also be questioned due to his fearless (others might call it ‘reckless’) style of play.
But make no mistake: Wentz is the Eagles’ franchise quarterback for many years to come. He’s going to work extremely hard to get back healthy and improve upon his weaknesses.
Wentz’s insatiable desire for greatness should leave the Eagles well-positioned as Super Bowl contenders as long as he’s around. He’s obviously happy that his team was able to win a title without him this year, but you just know he’s champing at the bit to bring even more trophies to Philly.
The good news is that Wentz is reportedly expected to be ready for Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season. It seems like it’s early to definitively have confidence in his availability since it’s only been two months since he first got hurt. Not to mention there are seven months until the next regular season starts.
It goes without saying that Wentz’s progress will be closely monitored this offseason. Here’s hoping the Week 1 target date is realistic. At the same time, the Eagles must be cautious not to rush him back too soon.
Regular season stats: 212 snaps, 3 games started, 2-1 record, 57/101 (56.4% completion), 5 TD, 2 INT, 537 yards (5.3 yards per attempt), 76.7 passer rating, 3 rushing yards
Playoff stats: 3 games started, 3-0 record, 77/106 (72.6% completion), 6 TD, 1 INT, 971 yards (9.2 yards per attempt), 115.7 passer rating, -2 rushing yards
Well, here we are, living in a world where Nick Foles is the Super Bowl MVP. Who would’ve thought?
Those who know me know I wasn’t a big believer in Foles. I don’t think my original skepticism was totally unfounded when you look back at his regular season numbers.
But where I will admit I was wrong is that I wasn’t giving Foles enough credit for his ability to get hot. Now, I think you’re lying if you’re trying to convince me you expected he’d play as well as he did in the playoffs all along. But nevertheless, it was a truly amazing run by him. And it led to the Eagles’ first Super Bowl title. I’ll gladly admit I was too harsh on No. 9.
What I don’t regret saying is that I have little patience for Foles’ biggest supporters who aren’t in touch with reality. Case in point:
In addition to this nonsense, at least one person called into BGN Radio’s SportsRadio 94WIP show on Saturday to tell me Foles should be starting over Wentz in 2018. Come on. Give me a break.
Wentz is the Eagles’ starter. It’s not even a discussion or debate. If Foles has to start the season because Wentz isn’t 100%, then so be it, but it’s Wentz’s job once he’s ready to play.
There’s already been some debate about what exactly the Eagles should do with Foles this offseason. Here’s my take: the decision is largely up to Foles.
If Foles wants to stay at Wentz’s backup, he’s earned that right. Maybe he’s content where he is and doesn’t want to move again. I could understand that. Hopefully the Eagles could sign him to an extension to lower his $7.6 million cap number and keep him under contract beyond the 2018 season.
On the flip side, the Eagles need to honor Foles’ request to leave Philly if he wants to be traded. I don’t expect Foles to force his way out, but I do think it’s naive to think he doesn’t want to be a starter again. Nick’s dad, Larry, is a business man. Foles is potentially turning down millions of dollars he could earn from a team that wants to trade for him. I mean, if Mike Glennon can get three years, $45 million from the Bears last season ($18.5 million guaranteed), Foles can do a whole lot better than the $7.6 million he’s currently set to earn in 2018.
The feeling here is that trading Foles is what’s best for the Eagles (assuming he’s OK with it). Having him as a backup to Wentz would be nice, yes, but the Eagles are high on Nate Sudfeld (more on him below). Trading Foles would save Philadelphia, who is VERY tight on cap space, $5.2 million. That’s pretty valuable for a team that currently has NEGATIVE $9,279,940 in cap space, per Over The Cap. Foles’ contract was designed to be trade-able from the get-go, which probably isn’t a coincidence.
In addition to the cap savings, the Eagles could really benefit from adding another draft pick. Here are the Eagles’ current selections in the 2018 NFL Draft: Round 1, Round 4 (from Vikings), Round 4, Round 5 (from Seahawks), Round 5, Round 6. That’s it. No Day 2 picks.
Foles should be able to at least fetch a third-round selection. Maybe something like the Kevin Kolb deal is even possible: a second-round pick and a player. It’s hard to gauge his exact value given his unique circumstance; a backup QB who just won Super Bowl MVP. But one thing we do know is that teams are desperate for quarterback help every offseason. There will be a market for Foles.
The response to suggesting a Foles trade is often: “What is Carson isn’t ready to start the season? Or if he gets hurt again?” Fair concerns. But I counter with: what if Carson stays healthy and Foles is never needed? You’re fine with letting a guy walk in free agency after this year when you could’ve likely traded him for a Day 2 pick? That pick can potentially contribute to a team that’s ready to compete for another Super Bowl title.
The Eagles shouldn’t trade Foles for just any pick (like a sixth-rounder) and they shouldn’t do it at all if he wants to stay. But to act like the idea is out of the question entirely, assuming he’s OK with it, is ridiculous to me. Howie’s great at getting value. I think he’ll get a good return for Foles this offseason.
Regular season stats: 40 snaps, 19/23 (82.6% completion), 0 TD, 0 INT, 134 yards (5.8 yards per attempt), 90.9 passer rating, 22 rushing yards
Playoff stats: Three kneeldowns in the NFC Championship Game
The Eagles first signed Sudfeld to their practice squad after the Washington Redskins waived him in final cuts. It was thought the Eagles were merely trying to gain an edge on their Week 1 opponent but Philly’s interest in Sudfeld clearly went beyond that. The Eagles promoted Sudfeld to the 53-man roster when the Colts tried to sign him away from Philly’s practice squad. The Eagles eventually showed they were comfortable with Sudfeld being one snap away from having to play in the Super Bowl if Foles went down.
Sudfeld didn’t look too bad in his Week 17 game against the Cowboys. He wasn’t great, for sure, but he showed some NFL arm strength and nice mobility against Dallas defensive starters. And he was playing with a supporting cast of Eagles backups.
From everything I’ve gathered, the Eagles are higher on Sudfeld than most people realize. I’m not saying they think he’ll be supplanting Wentz anytime soon, but I can’t imagine they feel the dropoff from Foles to Sudfeld is catastrophic. Plus the equation isn’t just Foles vs. Sudfeld straight up. Instead, it’s 1) Sudfeld PLUS $5.2 million in freed cap space PLUS a draft pick versus 2) Foles. I think the former is more valuable than the latter to this team.
WHO COULD SIGN
If the Eagles do trade Foles, they’d be in the market for a cheap backup to “compete” with Sudfeld. Maybe someone like Geno Smith, or Austin Davis, or ... hey, Chase Daniel is available again!
Based on how the Eagles have handled the quarterback position the past two years, though, it seems like they really prefer to only keep two on the 53-man roster if possible. So it could be Wentz and Sudfeld as the main two with a developmental type guy on the practice squad. Which brings us to ...
NFL Draft Options
This is where I defer to BGN’s lead draft writer, Ben Natan, who wrote a post on this topic earlier today. [Check that out by clicking here.]
I will note that the Eagles reportedly met with Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta at the Senior Bowl. They also spoke with Virginia‘s Kurt Benkert.
Getting a developmental passer with a late-round pick or signing one in undrafted free agency could be the right idea for this Eagles team.