Nick Foles

Broncos Considered Nick Foles Before Flacco Trade

The Broncos “kicked the tires” on acquiring Nick Foles from the Eagles before sending a fourth-round pick to the Ravens for quarterback Joe Flacco on Wednesday, tweets Mike Klis of 9News.

Per Klis, Denver opted for Flacco over Foles for a variety of reasons. First, Flacco has played under center (as opposed to out of a shotgun formation) with regularity: in 2017, Baltimore ranked eighth in the NFL in total snap percentage under center (52%) and sixth in pass rate under center (37%), according to Warren Sharp. That’s critical given that new Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, a product of the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree, figures to put Flacco under center quite frequently. (For reference, Shanahan’s 49ers in 2018 finished second in total snap percentage under center and third in pass rate under center.)

Second, the Broncos consider Flacco the better financial value, reports Klis. Flacco will collect an $18.5MM base salary in 2019, but neither that figure, nor any of his future base salaries, are guaranteed. Foles, meanwhile, is expected to be traded while on a franchise tag that will entitle him to a fully guaranteed, ~$25MM 2019 salary. A Foles extension, as Justis Mosqueda of Optimum Scouting recently detailed, will likely cost an acquiring team north of $40MM in total guarantees.

Additionally, the Eagles are reportedly seeking at least a third-round pick in exchange for Foles, while the Broncos were able to acquire Flacco for only a fourth-round choice.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Foles, QB Summit, Running Backs

If the Eagles franchise tag Nick Foles and attempt to trade him, as is expected, they’ll be taking somewhat of a risk, writes former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry. “There is a school of thought that franchising Foles strictly for trade purposes violates the CBA. Language requiring a good-faith intention to negotiate with a tendered player or keep him for the upcoming season at his tender exists in the CBA”, Corry points out, although he notes it’s unlikely to be enforced.

The real issue is the cap ramifications of tagging and trading Foles, Corry writes. “With Philadelphia’s current contractual obligations, a Foles franchise tag would put the Eagles roughly $20 million over the projected salary cap. Several contracts would need to be restructured and/or players released just to be able to carry Foles’ cap number for as long as he remained with the Eagles even if he was dealt as soon as the 2019 league year started”, he observes. It’s an interesting point, and if the Eagles can’t agree in principle with another team on a good deal for Foles before the franchise tag period is over, they may not end up tagging him after all.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The league is hosting a “QB Summit” to help promote minority coaching candidates, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. According to La Canfora, “the conference will bring together young minority coaches on the offensive side of the ball (quarterbacks coaches, quality control coaches, interns) with established head coaches of all backgrounds in an attempt to facilitate more integration into NFL staffs.” La Canfora writes that “with so many owners seeking a ‘quarterback guru’ and offensive play-callers as head coaches in recent years, and so few African American and Latino coaches currently in those positions in the NFL, the league hopes this ongoing event will foster more integration in the offensive coaching ranks.”
  • With free agency right around the corner, Jason Fitzgerald of Overthecap.com broke down the running backs most likely to be cut this offseason. Carlos Hyde, who has a salary of $4.7MM for the Jaguars while only playing a bit role the second half of the season, is on top of the list. One somewhat surprising name he floats is LeSean McCoy by the Bills, writing that “it’s probably best for both sides to move on.” The team has said in the past that they plan to keep McCoy for 2019, but if they go all in on a youth movement, it wouldn’t be shocking if McCoy wanted out so he could go to a contender in the twilight of his career.
  • In case you missed it, the Ravens believe the presence of Lamar Jackson will help attract free agents this spring.

Nick Foles To Void Option, Become Free Agent

Well, that didn’t take long. We learned a few hours ago that the Eagles were planning on picking up Nick Foles‘ $20MM option for next season, and now ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting (via Twitter) that the veteran quarterback will void the option and buy his way back to free agency.

Of course, this isn’t a very surprising development, as it had been assumed Foles would pay the $2MM it’d take to become a free agent. However, as our own Sam Robinson detailed earlier, this is likely the start of an extensive ordeal for the two sides. The Eagles are expected to slap Foles with the franchise tag, which the quarterback is then expected to accept. Philly would subsequently shop the former Super Bowl MVP, with the team reportedly seeking a third-rounder in exchange.

Fortunately, we should have some clarity on at least the first step of this process relatively soon. ESPN’s Tim McManus points out (on Twitter) that the window for teams to use the franchise tag is between February 19th and March 5th. Of course, with the Eagles in a precarious cap situation ($13MM over the ceiling), they’d likely want to assure that they have a trade lined up before they make such a financial commitment.

Despite the quarterback’s postseason heroics, the Eagles turned back to Carson Wentz in 2018. However, when the former first-rounder was lost to injury, Foles has another shot at the starting gig. In five games, the 30-year-old completed 72.3-percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and four interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Will Pick Up Nick Foles’ Option

The rumors surrounding the Eagles-Nick Foles situation appear accurate. The Eagles informed the Super Bowl LII MVP they are going to pick up his $20MM option, Tim McManus of ESPN.com tweets.

Rather than hitting free agency, Foles remains under Eagles control. However, this is likely the start of an extensive process.

Foles is expected to pay $2MM to free himself from this option and become a free agent, but the Eagles in turn are then rumored to be planning a rare tag-and-trade strategy. Philadelphia’s target is somewhat modest: a third-round pick. But that draft choice would likely come in the 2019 third round, rather than the 2020 draft in a compensatory scenario. Foles, 30, is expected to sign the franchise tender immediately. It would be worth approximately $23MM.

This is a complicated scenario for a player who almost certainly will not be part of the 2019 Eagles, but the franchise is likely going to take the chance another team will part with draft compensation to acquire Foles.

The Jaguars make sense, possessing a veteran-fueled defense held down by Blake Bortles. Former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is now the Jaguars’ OC. The Jags will have to perform considerable cap gymnastics to make this work, though. A new Foles contract will be expected to be authorized by whichever team trades for him.

To some degree, the Redskins fit the profile of a Foles buyer — although, they might be aiming lower in a veteran pursuit — and Pat Shurmur coached Foles in Philadelphia. Neither of these teams will be sought as a trade partner, however, with the Eagles not eager to trade another quarterback within the NFC East like they did when they shipped Donovan McNabb to Washington in 2010.

The Dolphins are also moving on from their longtime quarterback, but they are not likely to be big spenders in free agency and are eyeing a rebuild centered around a 2020 first-round passer. Denver is in need of a long-term answer, too, after receiving below-average 2018 work from Case Keenum. But the Broncos targeting a first-round quarterback adds up better than replacing Keenum with Foles. Despite Derek Carr‘s presence, the Raiders might be a long-shot possibility, Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP writes, adding Mike Mayock is a “big believer” in Foles.

They of the NFL’s worst cap situation ($13MM over the projected salary ceiling), the Eagles will need to know they have a bidder willing to part with appropriate compensation before tagging Foles. The early consensus is the Jaguars will be that team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Wilson, Foles, Newton, Rams

We heard in early January that the Seahawks would begin contract negotiations with star QB Russell Wilson “soon,” but Adam Schefter of ESPN.com writes that the two sides have yet to have a single contract discussion. Wilson is under club control through the 2019 season and is set to earn $17MM next year, and he has previously stated he would be willing to play out the final year of his deal and perhaps go year-to-year under the franchise tag. But as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times observes, the fact that Wilson and the Seahawks have not talked contract yet does not mean much (Twitter link). He says the team will get through other team-building matters first and then start exploring extensions, just as it did when it came time to explore a new deal with Wilson in 2015.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • We know that the Eagles want to trade Nick Foles, and yesterday we explored (again) how such a trade is likely to come about. While player and club would like to work “in concert” in determining Foles’ next team, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (via Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP) says the Eagles are going to try to keep Foles out of the NFC East — the Redskins and Giants could be in the market — and would prefer to deal him to an AFC team. Meanwhile, Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic believes it only make sense for the Eagles to franchise Foles if they already have a trade in place, and that the recent chatter concerning the franchise tag is merely a bluff at this point.
  • Schefter confirms a report from earlier this week that Panthers QB Cam Newton, who underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery last week, is expected to be ready in time for training camp and certainly will be good to go when the regular season rolls around.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says that the Rams, who signed running back C.J. Anderson in December, “absolutely” want to re-sign Anderson this offseason. That makes sense considering how good Anderson has been in his brief tenure with the club, and considering Todd Gurley‘s history of knee problems. Anderson, though, could be in line for a bigger role or salary than what Los Angeles is prepared to give. Anderson is expected to get plenty of work in tonight’s Super Bowl.
  • Rams QB coach Zac Taylor will be formally announced as the Bengals’ next head coach tomorrow, and Rapoport tweets that LA may move senior offensive assistant Jedd Fisch to QB coach. The club could also give current TE coach/passing game coordinator Shane Waldron the passing game coordinator title without requiring him to coach a position and bring in Wes Phillips to coach the tight ends.
  • As expected, the Buccaneers will transition to a 3-4, one-gap defense under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Laine looks at how the Bucs could deploy their current personnel to mirror Wade Phillips‘ success in transitioning two 4-3 defenses to 3-4 schemes.

Eagles Seeking Third-Round Pick For Foles

The Eagles are expected to place the franchise tag on backup quarterback Nick Foles, ESPN’s Adam Schefter writes. That doesn’t make the Super Bowl champion any more likely to return to the team, however, as Philadelphia will seek a third-round pick for his services in a trade. 

Before that tag is used, the Eagles are expected to pick up Foles’ $20MM option next week. The quarterback then will have the opportunity to void the option by paying the team $2MM, which he is expected to do. The Eagles would then be expected to place the tag on Foles, allowing them to trade him to another team.

The long chain of events will culminate with the Super Bowl MVP more than likely suiting up for another team in 2019, assuming the Eagles can find a suitor willing to pay up for Foles. Several teams are expected to be interested in the six-year veteran, including the Jaguars, Redskins and Dolphins. With the process of events, Foles will likely have his choice on his landing spot.

Foles burst on the scene late in 2017, filling in for an injured Carson Wentz and powering the Eagles to a Super Bowl win over the Patriots, the team’s first-ever Super Bowl title. He followed up that performance by again taking the reins from a sidelined Wentz and propelling the Eagles to an improbable run to the postseason and a spot in the divisional round after knocking off the Bears in the wild-card round.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles To Pick Up Nick Foles’ Option?

It appears the Eagles are still trying to see if they can acquire better value for Nick Foles than a compensatory pick. They are now likely to pick up his $20MM option, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link).

If the Eagles passed on this option, Foles would be a free agent. However, even if Philadelphia exercises this option, the sides are expected to still part ways. Foles has a $2MM buyout avenue to free himself from this option, and, per Rapoport, that is his expected move if Philly goes this route.

Should Foles give the team $2MM to buy out the option, the Eagles are also believed to be considering the franchise tag, RapSheet adds. This would open the door to the Eagles trading Foles, which has been on the radar for a bit now, and Rapoport adds the parties could be set to work in concert to send the Super Bowl LII MVP to a destination that makes sense.

Tag-and-trade scenarios are rare. The Patriots executed this 10 years ago, sending their backup quarterback, Matt Cassel, to the Chiefs. Like Cassel and the Chiefs in the 2009 offseason, Foles and his new team — in the event this scenario occurs — would be expected to work out a new contract. Foles would sign his tag immediately to trigger a trade, per Rapoport.

Several teams are in need of starting quarterbacks. The Jaguars, Redskins and the Dolphins could be the prime suitors for a veteran like Foles. Miami, however, may not be what Foles is seeking, the team being expected to target a 2020 quarterback prospect. A trade may rule out the Redskins, too. Though the Eagles previously traded Donovan McNabb to their rivals, they would likely avoid an intra-NFC East trade here. Although they may be more interested in Joe Flacco, the Jags have discussed Foles. Jacksonville may be the leading candidate to pursue this, cap issues notwithstanding.

Teams like the Broncos and Giants, with Pat Shurmur having coached Foles in Philadelphia, make sense too. But those franchises would seemingly be closer to drafting a first-round passer instead of bringing in another veteran.

The Eagles could land a third-round 2020 compensatory pick for Foles, in the event he buys his way out of this and no tag-and-trade path comes to fruition. That appears to be the Eagles’ value floor for Foles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Where Will Nick Foles Land?

The Eagles’ loss to the Saints in the divisional round started a countdown clock to what appears to be an inevitable divorce between the team and Nick Foles. The team still views Carson Wentz as its quarterback of the future, which means Foles will very likely be suiting up somewhere other than Philadelphia next season. Foles can pay a $2MM fee to essentially buy his free agency, but the team could then still franchise tag him and attempt to trade him. Whether it’s through free agency or in a trade, today we’ll be taking a look at his most likely destinations:

The Jaguars are widely seen as being a competent quarterback away from being a contender, and might be the most likely team to pursue a veteran quarterback this offseason. The team made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game last year, but regressed heavily in 2018 and finished the season 5-11. Jacksonville is looking to make the most out of the window that it has with their elite defense, and is a natural contender for Foles.

The team appears set to move on from Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler, and could have an entirely new quarterback room in 2019. If Foles were to be traded the Eagles would likely see the Jaguars as an appealing option, as they’re in a different conference and won’t play each other for another four years. On the other hand, the Jags’ cap situation isn’t the best, and they’d need to shed some salary to be able to offer what Foles is likely to be seeking. The Jaguars have the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft, and could use that to select a quarterback like Dwayne Haskins instead of pursuing a veteran.

Another AFC team that could be interested is the Dolphins. The team isn’t going to be bringing back Ryan Tannehill, and Foles could be a nice option as a bridge quarterback. Tannehill hasn’t been able to stay healthy the past few seasons, and this year wasn’t any exception as he missed five games with a shoulder injury. The team is looking to get younger, and they might want a capable veteran signal caller to help them transition.

With Tannehill’s salary off the books they’ll have plenty of money to offer him a deal, and Miami doesn’t have many other options for a starter next year. On the other hand, the Dolphins have signaled that they plan on going all in on tanking 2019, so they might not be interested in winning too many games with Foles. If the plan is to lose as many games as possible, it wouldn’t make much sense for them to give up draft assets for Foles if the Eagles do end up tagging him.

The Broncos already have a Foles-esque placeholder in Case Keenum, but there’s been some chatter that they might want to move on from Keenum this offseason. Denver could get out of Keenum’s contract fairly easily, and he has no ties to the new coaching staff led by Vic Fangio. If Fangio and his new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello decide they don’t love Keenum, they could ask Broncos GM John Elway to look elsewhere.

Elway has aggressively pursued veteran quarterbacks in free agency in the past, most notably Peyton Manning a handful of years ago and Keenum last offseason, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s interested in Foles. Denver doesn’t appear to be rebuilding and thinks it has the pieces to win with the right quarterback, and Foles could be what they’re looking for.

A slightly more out of the box possibility is the Redskins. The Eagles would surely prefer he didn’t go to their division rival, but if they don’t tag him they might not have any say. It was reported earlier today that Washington was expecting Alex Smith to miss the entire 2019 season, so the Redskins will very likely be in the market for a quarterback.

The Redskins know him well, and Foles beat them easily in Week 17 this year. While the Eagles might do all they can to prevent it, this would certainly be the most entertaining scenario of all. Foles playing Wentz twice a year would be great, and it would be surprising if the Redskins don’t at least look into it.

So, what do you think? Where will Foles end up next season as he looks to continue his magic? Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Colts, Vinatieri, Foles, Eagles

The Colts were one of the best stories of the 2018 NFL seasons. After starting the season 1-5, Indianapolis went on a miraculous run to the divisional round, where their season was finally ended by the Chiefs. Colts fans have a lot to be excited about now that Andrew Luck is finally fully healthy, but GM Chris Ballard still has a lot of work to do. The team is still missing some pieces, and former NFL agent and current CBS Sports Analyst Joel Corry recently broke down what their offseason might look like.

Corry, who knows a thing or two about the cap, writes that the Colts are “the envy of the NFL from a salary cap standpoint”, and that Ballard will have a lot of flexibility to do whatever he wants this spring. He writes that the Colts are in a “position to make a splash in free agency”, which is interesting considering the team has been linked to Le’Veon Bell in the past. Corry also thinks the Colts will be looking for a secondary receiver to pair with T.Y. Hilton as well as a pass-rusher to bolster the defensive line. Whatever Ballard does, the Colts will be one of the most interesting teams to monitor this offseason.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of the Colts, we heard last week that they were interested in bringing back kicker Adam Vinatieri, and now we know the interest is mutual. Vinatieri had previously been noncommittal about his status, but the 46-year-old does indeed plan to play a 24th season next year, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Vinatieri had a disappointing end to the season, missing an extra point and 23-yard field goal, but he was still one of the best kickers in the league throughout the year.
  • We’ve heard a lot about how it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Nick Foles won’t be back in Philadelphia next season, but there’s one scenario that hasn’t been getting much attention. The conventional wisdom has been that the Eagles will pick up his 2019 option and then Foles would pay the $2MM buyout to become a free agent, but the Eagles could choose to decline the option, then franchise tag and trade him, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN (Twitter link). Mortensen thinks the Eagles will want to avoid Foles signing with a rival like the Redskins, and would prefer to control where he lands in addition to landing some potential draft compensation. The Eagles have until February 11th to pick up the option, so we should know more within the next couple of weeks.

East Rumors: Foles, Kitna, Belichick

It is all but certain that the Eagles will part ways with Nick Foles this offseason, and there has been plenty of speculation as to how that might happen given Foles’ present contract situation. The most-discussed scenarios involve the team basically forcing Foles to buy his way into free agency for $2MM, and even then, the Eagles could put the franchise tag on Foles and trade him, thus eliminating any voice that Foles might have in the matter.

But as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, Foles and the Eagles have an excellent relationship, as evidenced by the team’s most recent gesture of goodwill. As such, JLC suggests that Philadelphia could pick up Foles’ 2019 option, thereby triggering a $20MM salary, and then orchestrate a trade to a team of Foles’ liking. Realistically, there are only a handful of teams that will be in the market for Foles, so by going that route, Foles could keep the above-referenced $2MM and still end up with a team that he would have signed with anyway (and he and his new team would likely enter into a long-term pact whether he is traded or signs as a free agent). As La Canfora observes, the Dolphins and Jaguars are the two clubs who have been linked to Foles thus far.

Now for a quick roundup of a few more east-related items:

  • We learned earlier today that the Cowboys could hire Jon Kitna as their QB coach and name Kellen Moore as their new OC. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter), Kitna will indeed become Dallas’ QB coach, which means that Moore — who served as the team’s QB coach in 2018 — may very well take the OC reins. Schefter’s ESPN colleague, Chris Mortensen, reports that head coach Jason Garrett is “in line” to serve as the team’s offensive play-caller in 2019 regardless of who the OC is (Twitter link).
  • In the past couple of years, we have heard a lot about the tension among the three pillars of the Patriots‘ franchise: owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady. But as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com observes, when Belichick recently commented on the upcoming 25th anniversary of Kraft’s ownership, he said, “[h]ope we can continue it for a long time.” That brief but telling statement is in keeping with what Reiss has been sensing of late, which is that Belichick, 66, will be coaching New England for the foreseeable future.
  • Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio tweets that the Bills could promote offensive assistant Chad Hall to wide receivers coach to replace Terry Robiskie, who recently joined the Jaguars’ coaching staff.