Nick Foles

Eagles Notes: D-line, Wentz, Foles, Sudfeld,

The Eagles‘ defensive line is the best position group in all of football, opines Chris Wesseling of NFL.com. Wesseling makes his case for the Eagles’ line as the best unit in the NFL by highlighting all the big name talent it has. Fletcher Cox may be the best interior lineman in the league after Aaron Donald, Super Bowl hero Brandon Graham is returning, as is promising second-year edge rusher Derek Barnett, and the team added “three-time Pro Bowler Michael Bennett and former All-Pro Haloti Ngata” this offseason.

The Eagles’ ability to win in the trenches was a huge part of the team’s success last season, and it should continue in 2018. They constantly reset the line of scrimmage and practically lived in opposing teams’ backfields. Wesseling says that what the Eagles have been able to do with their defensive line has been so impressive that other teams have started “copying Philadelphia’s blueprint up front.”

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • “One of the biggest surprises” of the Eagles‘ offseason workouts, OTAs, and minicamp was how healthy Carson Wentz looked, according to Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. Shorr-Parks writes that the “only sign” Wentz was even recovering from an injury was the brace he was wearing on his left leg. It sure sounds like Wentz has a very good shot at being 100% healthy by the time week 1 rolls around.
  • Speaking of Wentz’s health, it might be a factor in whether or not the team decides to trade Nick Foles, but Nate Sudfeld‘s development might be too. Shorr-Parks notes that if Sudfeld “really impresses” this summer, it could make a deal more likely. However, “short of the Eagles acquiring a first-round pick”, he writes, a trade is still “unlikely.”
  • Shorr-Parks thinks Jalen Mills will wind up as the team’s slot cornerback and that last year’s second round pick Sidney Jones will be moved outside. He thinks Mills will for the second year in a row “lead the Eagles‘ cornerbacks in snaps.”

Extra Points: Foles, Eagles, Bucs, Clark

Last offseason, Nick Foles considered several opportunities before ultimately joining the Eagles. This included a chance to sign with the Buccaneers, where head coach Dirk Koetter was heavily pursuing him. During an appearance on SiriusXM Radio, the quarterback discussed his decision to join Philly.

“Initially we were trying to stay (in Kansas City),” said Foles (via Ed Kracz of TheEaglesWire.com). “We loved Kansas City. I never thought I’d handle being a backup because I always like being on the field, but my heart had changed. Those were my favorite years of football being in Kansas City. We loved being there, loved the barbecue, loved my teammates. We tried to work it out but couldn’t.

“We were trying to figure out what was best for our family. My wife at the time was really pregnant. That comes into account. Do you want to move somewhere where you know no one or go to a city you were traded from but know so many people and wonderful people? That was a tough decision for me.”

Well, we all know how that ended up. Foles joined the Eagles and was forced into the starting lineup following a season-ending injury to Carson Wentz. The 29-year-old ended up starting all three of the Eagles’ playoff games en route to a championship and a Super Bowl MVP.

Let’s take a look at some other notes from around the NFL…

  • Meanwhile, during an appearance on FS1, Foles discussed his backup role and his revised contract with the Eagles. “I would love the opportunity to lead a team,” Foles said (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “Now, let me also say this, I’m not just going to go to a team and say, ‘Hey, I want to lead this team,’ and not see where they are. It’s about an environment. . . . So if that does come to be, I want to find the right [place], be with the right team, a team like the Philadelphia Eagles organization…They had me under contract this year. Everyone wanted to know where I was going to be. I’m grateful to be a part of it. They restructured my deal. They wanted me there. I wanted to be there this year. We’ll see what happens after the season, but I’m excited about this 2018 Eagles season. I get to wear that jersey at least one more year, and I’m super excited about wearing it one more year.” Back in April, Foles and the Eagles agreed to a reworked deal that included a mutual option for 2019.
  • Former NFL agent Joel Corry says Danielle Hunter‘s new deal shouldn’t define the market for Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark (Twitter link). The 2015 second-round pick had spent his entire three-year career in Seattle, and he finished the 2017 campaign with 32 tackles, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles in 16 games (12 starts). The 25-year-old will earn $943K in 2018 before hitting free agency next summer. The anticipated franchise tag for his position is expected to be around $17.5MM, according to Corry.
  • Earlier today, Hunter signed a five-year, $72MM extension with the Vikings. We’ve listed reactions to the new deal, we’ve heard from general manager Rick Spielman, and we’ve explored why linebacker Anthony Barr could be next in line for an extension.

East Notes: Pryor, Eagles, Giants, Bills

Terrelle Pryor and Todd Bowles have a slight difference of opinion when it comes to the wide receiver’s timetable. Though, maybe the Jets‘ fourth-year head coach doesn’t want to make an unnecessarily bold proclamation in this case. Bowles is not certain the recently signed wideout will be available when training camp begins. Pryor did not practice this week. After encountering more ankle trouble in the spring, Pryor underwent surgery earlier this month. Despite the ankle trouble limiting him this offseason, one that’s involved a boot on Pryor’s right foot at minicamp’s outset, Pryor believes he’ll be available on Day 1 of camp.

For now, in my mind, I’ll be there the first day,” Pryor said, via Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “Right now, I’m healthy and I’m ready to get back to form and have a dominant year.”

Pryor also said the injury he suffered early last season — a torn deltoid ligament in his right ankle during Week 1 — affected him throughout his woeful Washington campaign. The veteran was not able to practice much due to the malady and ended his Redskins season on IR.

I just really couldn’t focus on my game because I was too worried about my foot,” Pryor said. “It kind of took control and controlled my mind.”

Here’s the latest from around the East divisions:

  • Doug Pederson said this week (via Kalyn Kahler of SI.com) he’s considering splitting first-team reps evenly between Carson Wentz and Nick Foles during training camp. Although the Eagles‘ franchise centerpiece has not been cleared for 11-on-11 work, he continues to progress and is expected to be ready by September. But an even split — similar to how Pederson handled matters in 2016, when Sam Bradford was still on the team — puts Foles in better position to lead the offense if Wentz endures a setback.
  • The Giants may have a new contender for the center job. Jon Halapio is making a strong push to be the starting snapper, with Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com reporting the fifth-year player has emerged in this role after an “extremely strong” spring. Brett Jones entered the offseason as the player most observers assumed would succeed Weston Richburg as Big Blue’s full-time center, and the Giants tendered him at a second-round level. Halapio, once a sixth-round Patriots pick, re-signed as an ERFA. He started six games last season as a guard, his first action as a pro despite being a 2014 draftee, and has now impressed the Giants’ new coaching staff. While that second-round tender should give Jones a good chance come camp, this is an interesting situation on a retooling offensive line.
  • Speaking of unlikely starters, Nathan Peterman may have a reasonable chance of starting for the Bills in Week 1. While A.J. McCarron is the assumed stopgap while Josh Allen learns, ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak calls Peterman a serious contender for the starting job. This would be a strange turn of events after Peterman’s one rookie-year start went so poorly, but it appears McCarron might not have an automatic route to the job.

Eagles Notes: Foles, Bryant, Shittu

A recent reported indicated that the Browns had offered the Eagles the 35th pick in the 2018 draft for Nick Foles at some point this offseason before they ultimately ended up trading for Tyrod Taylor. The report stated that the Eagles approached Foles with the deal, that Foles shot it down, and so the Eagles turned it down out of respect for his wishes.

Foles is now pushing back on that claim, saying there’s no truth to it. Foles said he “didn’t turn down any trade” and added that the first time he heard of the proposed deal was when people started texting him about the article (Twitter link via The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Zach Berman).

If the trade was indeed offered by the Browns and considered by the Eagles and it was not shot down by Foles, it’s an indicator that the Eagles are confident in the health of Carson Wentz as he continues to work his way back from a torn ACL.

Here’s some more news on the Eagles as they continue OTAs:

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Foles, Cowboys

The Eagles reworked backup quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles‘ contract earlier this year, adding incentives to the deal while also tacking on a mutual option for the 2019 season. Initial reports indicated Foles will collect $250K per start and an additional $250K per win if he serves as Philadelphia’s starting quarterback, but he can earn even more than that during the postseason, according to Tim McManus of ESPN.com. For every playoff game in which Foles plays 33% of the Eagles’ offensive snaps, he’ll take home $500K. If the Eagles win a postseason contest with Foles under center, another $500K goes in his pocket.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • While the terms of Foles’ deal could allow him to collect extra cash in 2018, Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams‘ contract language might enable Dallas to escape his pact with no financial penalty, as Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram writes. Williams, of course, was arrested last week for public intoxication and leaving the scene of an accident, charges which Williams disputes. Nevertheless, if Williams is convicted for any sort of alcohol-related offense, he’ll almost certainly face a league-imposed suspension, and “all” Cowboys players have void provisions in their contracts related to bans, per Williams. At present, Williams is scheduled to earn a fully guaranteed $3.5MM base salary in 2018, and Dallas would take on $7.25MM in dead money by releasing him.
  • Head coach Doug Pederson would like the Eagles to re-sign safety Corey Graham “if it works out,” per Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Graham will be 33 years old when the 2018 campaign gets underway, but PFR ranked him as one of the 10 best available safeties before the free agent market opened in March. Although Graham has yet to garner any known interest over the past several months, the safety market has been infamously slow to develop, so the lack of Graham suitors is perhaps unsurprising. Graham played 367 snaps in 2017 as Philadelphia’s third safety behind starters Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins.
  • The Eagles have announced a series of hirings and promotions within their front office. Of note, Jake Rosenberg was named vice president of football administration, Jon Ferrari was named director of football operations, Andy Weidl was named director of player personnel. Meanwhile, Trey Brown — whom you may remember from recent Microsoft Surface commercials and last year interviewed for the Bills’ general manager position — is no longer listed among Philadelphia’s front office roster, as Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic tweets.

East Notes: Eagles, Gronk, Clayborn

Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com does not believe that there will be any tension between Carson Wentz and Nick Foles this year, but he does say that Foles is universally loved in the Eagles‘ locker room. Given that, and given that Foles led the club to its first Super Bowl victory in the wake of Wentz’s ACL tear last season, Shorr-Parks suggests that there is at least a small part of Wentz that feels the need to “re-prove himself” to his team. Shorr-Parks wonders if that desire will impact how quickly Wentz returns to the field and how he interacts with his veteran backup this year.

Let’s round up a few more east notes, starting with several additional items out of Philadelphia:

  • In the same piece linked above, Shorr-Parks says “it appears obvious” that the Eagles do not plan on paying DE Brandon Graham until next offseason at the earliest. Graham will be eligible for free agency at that point, but he is still seeking a long-term extension from Philadelphia prior to that, and Shorr-Parks’ suggestion is somewhat surprising in light of the fact that the Eagles were said to be working on a new contract for Graham in November (and in light of Graham’s on-field performance).
  • In two separate pieces, Shorr-Parks breaks down the Eagles’ current roster into long shots, locks, bubble players, and wildcards, and he also takes a look at some of the biggest names still remaining on the free agent market and whether Philadelphia could be interested in some of those players. He thinks the Eagles could be in play for some of the top available DBs — like Kenny Vaccaro and Bashaud Breeland — but does not see a fit for top WR Dez Bryant or LB Brian Cushing (though he thinks a reunion with Jeremy Maclin should not be ruled out).
  • Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com evaluates the Giants‘ top positional battles going into OTAs, and he believes the fight for the backup QB job is the most intriguing. Second-year pro Davis Webb has a stronger arm than rookie Kyle Lauletta, but Lauletta receives high marks for his intelligence and accuracy, plus he was drafted by Big Blue’s new regime. Whoever wins the job will be the favorite to ultimately succeed Eli Manning.
  • It is unclear whether Rob Gronkowski will report to the Patriots for Phase 3 of the team’s offseason program, which begins tomorrow, though Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says Gronk is still putting in plenty of time at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center, which he says has him feeling good from a conditioning perspective. Phase 3 will be the last chance for Gronkowski and Tom Brady — who is also yet to attend OTAs — to get some multiple-week football work in with the majority of their teammates before training camp. Brady has frequently touted the importance of Phase 3, so it would be notable if he does not attend.
  • Adrian Clayborn, the Patriots‘ top free agent acquisition this offseason, tweaked his quad during recent workouts, per Reiss. Clayborn could be limited for Phase 3 of OTAs, but he is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

East Rumors: Mayfield, Dolphins, Eagles

While multiple reports have indicated the Jets‘ goal for their No. 3 pick was Sam Darnold, their new heir apparent, Baker Mayfield‘s agent said the team was effusive in its praise for his client when he visited Gang Green headquarters in April.

When he visited the Jets, they pretty much said ‘You’re our guy if you’re there,'” Mayfield’s agent Jack Mills said on “The Business of Sport with Andrew Brandt” podcast (via Newsday). “(The Browns) didn’t say you’re our guy. I don’t know what they said. They liked him and (John) Dorsey never contacted us.”

It’s since come out the Browns had several executives independently declare Mayfield was the draft’s top quarterback, but for weeks, the Jets/Mayfield noise increased. However, this may well have been contingent on Darnold not getting past Cleveland.

Here’s the latest from the East divisions, continuing with a Dolphins draft what-if.

  • Here’s a nice chain reaction from the fourth round: the Ravens appear to have sought Miami running back Mark Walton with their fourth-round pick, but the Bengals took him at No. 112. This led to Baltimore selecting Alabama cornerback Anthony Averett at No. 118. This, in turn, depressed some in the Dolphins‘ war room. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears the Dolphins sought Averett with their fourth-rounder (No. 122), but they ended up drafting Notre Dame tight end Durham Smythe. This came after Miami already took Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki in Round 2.
  • The Dolphins have T.J. McDonald signed through 2020, but they may be considering moving him to linebacker, per Jackson. Miami extended McDonald last September and deployed him as a starting safety in eight games after his eight-game suspension ended. He graded as a middle-of-the-pack safety in the view of Pro Football Focus, but the analytics site rated McDonald as an upper-echelon run defender. Set to have Kiko Alonso and Raekwon McMillan start at two of their three linebacker spots, the Dolphins may have an interest in stationing McDonald at one of their outside positions. Although, they did draft former McMillan Ohio State teammate Jerome Baker in the third round.
  • Darren Sproles will make $1.015MM in base salary this season with the Eagles, per Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. It’s uncertain what bonuses and incentives are in the 34-year-old running back’s contract, but Sproles is already on the books for this salary.
  • The Eagles are highly unlikely to pick up Nick Foles‘ mutual option in 2019, Parks notes. That figure is worth $20.6MM as a result of the renegotiated deal the Eagles and Foles agreed upon earlier this year. Foles faced a somewhat similar circumstance in 2016, when the Chiefs did not pick up an eight-figure option and sent him back into free agency. Shorr-Parks writes the Eagles understandably would be more willing to work out a long-term deal with their backup quarterback than have him stick around on that price.

NFC Notes: Bulaga, Foles, Cowboys

Given that the Packers could save nearly $5MM by releasing RT Bryan Bulaga, and given Bulaga’s recent injury history, there was some chatter that Green Bay could part ways with the ninth-year pro (especially since Bulaga is not even guaranteed to be ready for the start of the 2018 season after tearing his ACL on November 6). But we recently heard that Bulaga remains in the team’s 2018 plans, and head coach Mike McCarthy said Bulaga’s rehab is ahead of schedule (per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com). Therefore, it certainly sounds as if Bulaga will be back for the fourth year of the five-year pact he signed prior to the 2015 season.

  • In a series of tweets, Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com passes along more details on Nick Foles‘ reworked deal. Foles’ cap number is now $9.6MM, fourth-highest on the Eagles, but if the team were to trade him after June 1, it would save $7MM in cap space, more than it would have saved prior to the restructure. As such, the restructure looks like a win-win in that Foles gets more money and incentives and it’s easier for the Eagles to deal him if someone comes along with a great offer. Shorr-Parks, though, still does not expect Foles to be traded.
  • The Cowboys selected Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White in the fifth round of this year’s draft, which marked just the sixth time Dallas has drafted a QB since Jerry Jones purchased the franchise in 1989. White is expected to compete with Cooper Rush for the backup job, though Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News writes that executive vice president Stephen Jones is open to carrying three signal-callers in 2018.
  • Per Mike Triplett of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Saints head coach Sean Payton does not know if the team will bring in a fourth QB to compete with Tom Savage and Taysom Hill. Payton said the Saints considered drafting a signal-caller this weekend, but they are anxious to see what Savage and Hill can do.
  • Brady Henderson of ESPN.com says the Seahawks see Shaquem Griffin, whom they selected in the fifth round of this weekend’s draft, as a weak-side LB at the next level, and he also reports that Seattle viewed fourth-round pick Will Dissly as the best blocking tight end in the class (Twitter links).
  • The Lions apparently disappointed at least a couple of teams in this weekend’s draft. Per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Detroit selected Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson one pick before the Redskins were prepared to take him, and the Panthers were going to take UL-Lafayette CB Tracy Walker with the No. 85 overall pick, but the Lions nabbed him with their No. 82 pick.

East Notes: Foles, Giants, Breeland

The Eagles and reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles just agreed to a reworked contract that gives Foles a $2MM raise for 2018, plus a whole host of incentives. The deal also includes a mutual option for 2019, though if Foles were to decline the option, he would have to give back the $2MM he just received.

Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com examines why Philadelphia, which is tight against the cap this year and will be again in 2019, made the move. The reworked deal probably had little to nothing to do with the Eagles’ wanting to reward Foles for his postseason heroics, so Shorr-Parks speculates that Foles and his camp could have put some pressure on the team, and he also suggests the new contract may come with a lower cap hit.

The chances that the Eagles exercise the 2019 option are very slim, as Foles would be owed a $20MM salary under that scenario. But, if the two sides want to continue their relationship beyond 2018, this gesture will certainly buy the Eagles some goodwill when it comes time to negotiate again. It also guarantees that Philadelphia, which already had the best QB insurance policy in the game, will keep that policy perfectly content this season, and even if Carson Wentz cannot stay healthy, the team has given itself a chance to deploy a capable signal-caller for at least the next two years.

Now let’s take a quick swing around a few other east division clubs:

  • Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com says the Giants could look to trade offensive tackle Ereck Flowers during the draft, though that will probably be a difficult trick to pull off. Raanan also says Big Blue has done a lot of pre-draft work on punters this year, and he believes the team could bring in a UDFA punter to compete with Riley Dixon. Dixon was recently acquired from Denver for a conditional seventh-round pick, so if he does not make the club, the Giants will likely not need to surrender the pick.
  • Former Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland was set to sign a three-year, $24MM pact with the Panthers last month, but Carolina scuttled the deal due to a “non-football incident” in which Breeland cut his foot. The foot became infected, and at the time, it was reported that Breeland was a few months away from being able to pass a physical. He will surely garner some interest this summer once he is healed, but JP Finlay of NBCSports.com says Washington is not expected to bring Breeland back into the fold. Indeed, Breeland himself indicated on Instagram that the Redskins never had interest in retaining his services.
  • The Patriots are in the unique position of having three fifth-year options to either exercise or decline before May 3, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says the team will almost certainly exercise those options on defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Malcom Brown (at a little over $7MM apiece). However, the team is unsurprisingly not expected to exercise the $9.387MM option for receiver Phillip Dorsett.
  • The Cowboys are expected to exercise Byron Jones‘ fifth-year option.

Details On Nick Foles’ New Contract

We learned yesterday that the Eagles and quarterback Nick Foles had reached agreement on a new contract. Today, we’ve got specific details on the new deal.

The reworked contract will ultimately earn Foles an extra $2MM in 2018, but the quarterback has the potential to earn a whole lot more. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the contract includes another $14MM worth of incentives based on playing time, playoffs, and Pro Bowl. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo adds that Foles will earn $250K for each appearance, and that number will increase to $500K if the team wins. The 29-year-old has already earned a $3MM roster bonus and $2MM signing bonus, and he’s set to make a $4MM salary next season.

We also learned yesterday that the contract includes a mutual option for the 2019 season, meaning Foles could hit free agency next offseason. As Garafolo explains (via Twitter), the Eagles will have the ability to pick up Foles’ $20MM deal for 2019. Meanwhile, the quarterback will have the ability to “buy his way to free agency,” but that’d require him to sacrifice the $2MM signing bonus he just received.

With Foles having won Super Bowl MVP and the Eagles also rostering Carson Wentz, there was some question about how the organization would proceed at the quarterback position. As our own Zach Links pointed out, the new deal isn’t a reflection of the team’s feeling on Wentz’s recovery from an ACL injury. Rather, it’s “about giving [Foles] extra compensation in light of his postseason performance.”

Foles had expressed interest in being a starter next season, and the Eagles reportedly shopped the veteran quarterback. However, this new deal would seemingly be a reasonable compromise for both sides.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.