The Curious Case of Nick Foles
Trading the Super Bowl MVP would provide most benefit for both Eagles, QB
Nick Foles, you just won the Super Bowl, what are you going to do next?
The MVP of Super Bowl LII went to Disney World, of course, but the question remains the same. What is Foles going to do next?
It could be that the quarterback we last saw victorious on the NFL’s biggest stage grabs a visor, headset, and a clipboard and heads to the bench.
The only reason Foles saw action this season is because Philadelphia’s starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, tore two ligaments in his left knee in Week 14. Before the injury, Wentz, the second overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, was considered the frontrunner for NFL MVP. When he went down, Foles stepped in, kept the winning going, and helped the Eagles soar to their first Super Bowl championship.
Despite Foles leadership, the Eagles continue to say it’s Wentz’s team, and he will be the starter when he can play. The team is hoping their franchise quarterback can return for the start of the 2018 season, but his type of injury can take up to a year to recuperate.
According to overthecap.com, in 2018, Foles will be in the second of what is essentially a two-year, $11 million contract, which will pay him a $4 million salary and a $3 million roster bonus. His pay will count $7.6 million against the Eagles’ salary cap total. Wentz, in the third year of his rookie contract, is set to earn a $630,000 base salary and $6.65 million in bonuses, totaling $7.28 million against the cap. Considering the NFL’s top 10 highest paid QBs each made on average more than $21 million last year, management would happily keep Wentz and Foles on the roster this year at a combined $14.88 million. That would allow them to keep Wentz, their franchise quarterback, as well as Foles, a Super Bowl MVP for the remaining year of his contract, start him if need be, and then use him again as insurance when Wentz returns.
The conundrum Philadelphia faces is whether Foles is more valuable to them on their sideline or as potential trade-bait to bolster their roster at other positions. He is eligible for unrestricted free agency following the 2018 season. That means he could stay in Philadelphia this year, collect checks, not play a down, and, leave town a year from now. Or, they may look to cash in on his stock and trade him to a quarterback-needy team for draft picks and/or a veteran or two to fill any roster needs.
That puts Foles in a very awkward position. In a league where many teams feel they are a solid quarterback away from being a championship contender and willing to pay handsomely for their services, he could parlay his Super Bowl success into a major payday. After all, he has proven that in the right offense he can bring his team to the ultimate heights. He is fire tested and has established a bit of a pedigree. He’s at the height of his fame. If ever there was a time to cash in, now is the time. If he rides the pine in Philly for a year without seeing any action, his value will diminish.
Right now, Foles is trying to enjoy the moment and saying he isn’t thinking about his future. He, and the Eagles, will soon enough though. If Foles has the option to go to a new team as the starting quarterback with the contract of a starting quarterback, he’d be foolish to pass on it. So would the Eagles.
Philadelphia should listen to all potential offers and take the one that best suits them. While it’s easy to say keep both quarterbacks, there is potential to upset what could be a burgeoning dynasty. If Wentz can’t return until midseason and Foles has the Eagles atop the conference, would Philly’s coaches risk tipping the balance of the team by making a switch at the sport’s most important position? The potential for dissention and tribalism in the locker room doesn’t seem worth it.
Foles and the Eagles will always have Minneapolis, but their relationship needs to end there. They can both move on knowing their time together benefitted them both, that they were each able to capitalize on their separation, and be happy for them in their new relationships. It’s rare that that happens in love or business, but then again, it’s rare that a backup quarterback is Super Bowl MVP.