Nick Foles has been a huge part of the Philadelphia Eagles’ success over the past two seasons. The veteran quarterback led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl win a year ago before helping them get back to the playoffs in 2018. After upsetting the Chicago Bears in the NFC Wild Card Round, Philadelphia fell to the top-seeded New Orleans Saints in a close game last Sunday.
Nevertheless, the Eagles are committed to Carson Wentz as their starting QB despite the fact that he has suffered season-ending injuries in back-to-back years. Head coach Doug Pederson said as much during a news conference on Tuesday:
“Yes, Carson Wentz is the quarterback going forward. And in Nick’s case, listen, we’d love to have everybody back throughout the roster, but as I’ve said many, many times, it’s not about one guy, it’s about the team, and we’re going to do what’s best for the team.”
Foles also needs to do what’s best for him, and that’s finding a team that’s willing to give him the starting job. There are plenty of squads that need a QB for the 2019 season, including at least one other NFC East team.
The 30-year-old Foles was content re-signing with Philadelphia in 2018, but he needs to test the open market in 2019. He will become a free agent in March unless the Eagles pick up his $20 million option, and even then he can opt out by paying $2 million back to the team.
In all likelihood, Foles will suit up for another squad next season. He certainly owes it to himself to see what’s out there.
Here are four potential landing spots for the Eagles’ backup QB.
The Broncos signed Foles’ good friend and former teammate Case Keenum last offseason, but he responded by throwing a career-high 15 interceptions in 2018. Denver can save $11 million by cutting the six-year pro and $18 million by trading him to another team.
If the Broncos choose to part ways with Keenum, it would open up more cap room to go after someone like Foles. And with a strong running game and one of the NFL’s top defenses, they could be an attractive fit for the Austin, Texas, native.
The Broncos won a Super Bowl just a few years ago with an aging Peyton Manning at QB. Thus, it’s not outlandish to think that they could make another deep run with a signal caller who’s still in his prime.
Denver possesses a decent game manager in Keenum, but based on his performance — or lack thereof — in 2018, Foles would definitely be an upgrade. He completed 72.3 percent of his passes in five games, finishing with 1,413 passing yards and seven touchdowns against four interceptions.
Like the Broncos, the Dolphins can save a good chunk of change by parting ways with their starting QB. If Miami cuts or trades Ryan Tannehill, it will save over $13 million.
The Dolphins recently made several organizational changes, including firing their head coach. Consequently, it would probably be best to bring in a new QB as well to signal the beginning of a new era in Miami.
Who better than a proven winner like Foles, who helped the Eagles beat the New England Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl? The Dolphins play their AFC East rivals twice a year, and they also play floundering franchises like the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills twice each season.
Those are a lot of potential victories on the table for a guy who’s stock continues to rise. Not to mention how alluring it would likely be to play in a warm weather market like Miami, where there’s certainly plenty to do.
The Redskins have their issues, but if not for a season- and perhaps career-ending injury to Alex Smith this season, they very well may have won the NFC East. If Foles wants to stay within the division, Washington might be willing to give him the money he wants.
Foles could step right in and lead the Redskins from the beginning of the 2019 season. Even if Smith is able to return from the gruesome leg injury he suffered in November, chances aren’t great that he’ll be able to return in time for the season opener.
There’s also the added benefit of knowing the Eagles very well while also being familiar with the likes of the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. That could appeal to Foles, who might not want to make the jump to the AFC.
If Foles joined the Broncos, he would have to contend with the upstart Kansas City Chiefs and one of the league’s most talented top-to-bottom teams in the Los Angeles Chargers. In the AFC East, he would have to deal with the Patriots, who have won the division 10 straight years.
The NFC East is more wide open. It’s not an easy division to play in by any stretch of the imagination, but staying in the same division could be a more comfortable fit for Foles.
The Jaguars were arguably the biggest disappointment of the 2018 season. After making it to the AFC championship a year ago and nearly knocking off the Patriots to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history, Jacksonville was one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2018.
Blake Bortles fell back to earth this season after a solid 2017 campaign. He was ultimately benched for Cody Kessler, who didn’t prove to be the answer for the Jaguars at QB either.
Foles could very well be the guy to take Jacksonville to new heights. The Jaguars hired John DeFilippo — who was the Eagles’ QBs coach in 2016-17 — as their new offensive coordinator on Wednesday, which could further entice him to sign with the AFC South cellar dwellers.
Speaking of the AFC South, it is another division that is there for the taking. The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts both reached double digits in wins in 2018 and the Tennessee Titans finished 9-7. However, no team has won the division more than two years in a row since the Colts won five straight from 2003-07 behind future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning.
With no Manning currently playing in the AFC South, could the Jaguars be the favorites to sign Foles? Only time will tell, but it’s definitely an intriguing option and one that both sides should explore.