Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles technically isn’t a free agent, but he’s all-but-guaranteed to hit the open market. The Eagles could bring him back with a one-year, $20 million option in his contract. However, the team already announced they plan on moving forward with former second-overall pick Carson Wentz, so this seems unlikely. Additionally, Foles could buy his freedom by forfeiting $2 million. Foles doesn’t want to be a backup, so one way or another, the one-time Super Bowl MVP will be out on the open market. Foles is coming off consecutive strong postseason runs and should be the top quarterback in the free agency market.
Update: The Eagles picked up the $20 million value on Foles, who then immediately bought his freedom. It’s unknown if the Eagles will franchise tag him or let him walk in free agency.
2019 NFL Free Agency Profile: Nick Foles
Foles began and ended the season as the Eagles starter, with Carson Wentz making an 11-game cameo. Throughout his five regular season starts, Foles completed 72.3% of his passes for 1,413 yards, seven touchdowns, and four interceptions. While he was prone to one or two poor decisions a game, Foles showed he’s a capable NFL starter.
Foles showed a flair for the dramatic, leading the Eagles on yet another postseason run. The journeyman quarterback put up two game-winning drives in his five regular season starts and then did it again against the Chicago Bears in the Wild Card Round. Foles almost did it again one week later, but wide receiver Alshon Jeffery dropped an easy pass which ended up being the game-clinching interception. There are some who don’t believe in “clutch” as a quantifiable trait, but Nick Foles is clutch.
Foles has his share of starting experience, posting a relatively pedestrian 61.6 completion percentage for 11,165 yards, 68 touchdowns, 33 interceptions, and an 88.5 quarterback rating. However, these numbers improve significantly if you take out his time with the Los Angeles Rams. Nobody can succeed under Jeff Fisher, so it’s unfair to hold those numbers against Foles.
Foles has completed 63% of his passes for 9,113 yards, 61 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions when not playing for Fisher. This correlates to a 93.77 passer rating, which basically matches Carson Wentz’ career 92.5 passer rating. Whether Foles is seen as a true franchise quarterback is yet to be seen, but he’s certainly good enough to start in the right system.
Starting quarterbacks are always a hot commodity on the open market, so Foles should be able to pick from a wide variety of suitors. In what is supposed to be a weak draft class for quarterbacks, Foles should be the prized jewel of every quarterback-needy team without a high draft pick.
The most likely landing spot for Foles is the Denver Broncos. Denver currently owns the tenth-overall selection, meaning they’d likely have to give up some draft capital in order to grab their preferred quarterback in the 2019 draft. Broncos general manager John Elway swung and missed with off-season signing Case Keenum last year, but Foles is a clearly better quarterback. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders may not be ready for the start of 2018, but Denver still has an array of interesting weapons in the passing game to complement a star-studded defense. All they need is a quarterback capable of executing the offense.
Depending on the health of quarterback Alex Smith, the Washington Redskins could also choose to enter the Nick Foles sweepstakes. Smith suffered a horrific leg injury midway through 2018 and his playing future is currently in doubt. If Washington believes Smith cannot return, then they’ll want to grab the top quarterback available. Washington currently holds the 15th overall pick and cannot bank on landing a quarterback with that draft positioning.
The Jacksonville Jaguars currently have the seventh overall pick and could easily draft a quarterback of the future. However, Jacksonville could pursue Foles if they’re not sold on Dwayne Haskins or any of the other top quarterbacks. The Blake Bortles experiment is officially over as Jacksonville tries to usher in a new era under center. Recently hired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo was Foles’ quarterback coach with the Eagles, so there’s obvious familiarity there. Jacksonville’s favorable draft position makes this a somewhat unlikely signing, but Foles would be a star in Jacksonville.
Last Word on Nick Foles in Free Agency
Nick Foles put together two strong finishes and is the top passer available in free agency. Foles isn’t a top-10 quarterback by any means, but he’s a starting-caliber player in a poor market. Foles is undeniably clutch and has essentially the same career passer rating as Carson Wentz outside of St. Louis. The Eagles technically could bring him back in 2019, but it’s all-but-guaranteed Foles finds his way to the open market.
Once he does, expect the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins to be two of the biggest players. Both teams don’t have ideal draft capital and could easily opt to go with Foles in 2019 instead of risking their fate upon a rookie quarterback. Additionally, if the Jacksonville Jaguars don’t like any of the draft-eligible quarterbacks, they should also be a big player for Foles. Foles and offensive coordinator John DeFillipo have a strong history together, and DeFillipo should bring out the best in Foles.
Wherever he lands, Foles won’t play as well as he did during that amazing 2017 playoff stretch. However, he’s still a good starter in the right system. Foles is the crown jewel in this free agency class and should earn a hefty payday in 2019. Look for Foles to earn a multi-year deal worth upwards of $20 million a year.
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