The Philadelphia Eagles 2018 campaign is in the past and while injuries plagued the roster, there were bright spots. Some young players made unexpected impacts and we saw career years from both Zach Ertz and Brandon Brooks. Like with every NFL team, there are certain areas that need be fixed in order for the Birds to become Super Bowl bound once again.
Before I start to throw out any mock drafts or even draft priorities, there is a whirlwind of an offseason to go through. NFL Free Agency recently entered a new era with big name players beginning to follow in the footsteps of the NBA and using mobility to their advantage.
The Eagles have some crucial decisions to make regarding free agents of their own. In particular, a Super Bowl MVP quarterback who voided the “mutual option” in his restructured contract.
Nick Foles’ situation is certainly the most interesting story on the offensive side of the ball heading into free agency. Let’s start breaking down the Eagles free agents with that complicated Foles situation, followed by the rest of the offensive free agents next week.
It was pretty much expected that Foles would decline the mutual option by paying back $2 million of his bonus to become an unrestricted free agent. The Eagles still have a little bargaining power via an exclusive franchise tag at the hefty price of $25 million. This means that Foles can’t negotiate with other teams, but the Eagles can take trade offers from teams on Foles’ “destination list”. Reports have surfaced that the current asking price for the 30-year old quarterback is a third-round pick.
However, applying the tag to Foles becomes risky as the Eagles could be stuck with that $25 million tag if they cannot find a trade partner. The good news is that they have plenty of time between the first day franchise tags can be given out (February 19th) and deadline day on March 5th.
I do not see the Eagles applying that high of a price tag on Foles if they do not already have a trade partner lined up. Despite plenty of QB-needy teams on the market, there is also a large supply of potential starting quarterbacks that teams are comfortable with moving on from. The increase in starting-caliber quarterbacks on the market might make a Day 2 draft pick seem like too much in exchange for Foles.
Jameis Winston is in the last year of his rookie contract and his status as the franchise quarterback is questionable at best. Arians is known for revitalizing the career of Carson Palmer in Arizona, so bringing Foles in as a backup plan for Winston might be a safe strategy. Furthermore Foles fits the Bucs offensive style with their deep threat wide receivers and vertical passing attack. The only thing that might be a hindrance to this deal is that Arians and his new regime might want to hold on to draft picks to start bringing in “their guys”.
The Jaguars are a very interesting trade partner. Blake Bortles clearly is not the guy down there. On top of them having a playoff caliber roster besides a competent signal caller, they own two 3rd round picks after dealing Dante Fowler Jr. to the Rams. Blake Bortles is still under contract, but I would not be surprised if he was reduced to a backup role or flat out released in favor of a more proven quarterback. Nick Foles certainly fits that bill.
Lastly, the Washington Redskins find themselves in an extremely difficult situation after both Alex Smith and Colt McCoy suffered season-ending injuries. While Alex Smith appeared to have cemented himself as an intermediate starter for Washington, his fractured fibula might cost him significant time heading into next season. Not only does he have to recover from that gruesome injury when he’s about to turn 35 years old, but his mobility will certainly take a huge hit. The only thing that would prevent the Redskins from trading for another intermediate starter is their lack of draft picks. Washington only holds five draft picks in 2019, and Alex Smith should be back in some capacity for next season. The most likely strategy for Washington is to hold onto those limited picks and wait until the 2020 draft that will be filled with potential franchise quarterbacks.
All of these trades will not be possible unless Foles is willing to sign that exclusive franchise tag. Even then, the $25 million hit may be too much for some teams to absorb along with a third-round draft pick. However, if Foles does sign the franchise tag between February 19th and March 5th, you know the Eagles have a preferred trade partner on the line waiting to offer that draft pick for Foles.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.