The Philadelphia Eagles are expected to move on from Nick Foles this offseason and they’re also expected to have a strong market for the 2018 Super Bowl MVP’s services, according to a report from NFL Network.
MIKE GARAFOLO: Nick Foles, last game as an Eagle today, Ian? You tell me what’s up.
IAN RAPOPORT: I think Nick Foles will have something to say about that, but IF they lose — of course, Foles doesn’t have a lot of experience losing in the playoffs — if they do, though, this is expected to be his last game [with] Philadelphia. Really, the discussion here is how they are actually going to do it. Do they franchise tag him — about $25 million — or do they pick up the [mutual] option and watch Foles buy back his freedom and then maybe franchise tag him? Either way, what remains to be seen is how the Eagles actually move on. And from what I understand, just talking to several general managers around the league, the belief is the Eagles will in fact be able to trade Nick Foles again. Remember, they did it once before [in 2015]. They also traded Sam Bradford for a first-round pick and more [in 2016]. Not expected to get as much this time, but make no mistake: Foles IS going to be the most coveted quarterback available in a year where there’s not a lot of great free agent options, not a lot of options in the [2019 NFL] Draft. Once again, Philadelphia is going to be able to cash in big time on a quarterback they’re moving on from.
MIKE GARAFOLO: This past offseason there were offers of a second-round pick coming their way, they said “No, that’s not enough.” They had Wentz coming back from the ACL, they also had Foles under contract for a much smaller [cap] number. So, different story this time, second-round pick might be good enough to get it done.
Rapoport first mentioned the possibility of tagging Foles and trading him last weekend. The new information here is that there’s buzz about the Eagles being able to get a significant return should they decide to trade Foles.
Though, if the Foles return isn’t going to be as much as the Bradford trade, that means it’s going to be something less than a package of first AND fourth-rounds picks from another team. Perhaps a second-round pick and then something else?
I previously offered some thoughts on how the Eagles can handle this offseason’s Foles decision:
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.
Trading a player on the tag isn’t super common but it’s not unheard of. The Dolphins tagged and traded Jarvis Landry to the Browns last offseason in exchange for fourth and seventh-round picks.
February 19 is the first day teams can apply the franchise tag to players. The deadline to tag a player is prior to 4:00 PM ET on March 5. The Eagles will have some time to figure out how they want to proceed.
It remains clear the Eagles view Carson Wentz — and not Foles — as the team’s long-term franchise quarterback. Wentz still hasn’t even officially been shut down for the 2019 NFL playoffs given that he’s yet to be placed on injured reserve.
In the meantime, Foles will continue to start his final game(s) under center for the Eagles.