Nick Foles

Frank Reich Wanted Colts To Acquire Nick Foles In Previous Years

The Colts brought in Matt Ryan to stop their cycle of quarterback instability, but Nick Foles adds a steadying presence as a backup. Although Jacoby Brissett‘s presence proved vital even during the years he was not asked to start, the Colts featured a thin QB2 setup last season — after Brissett signed with the Dolphins.

Frank Reich confirmed he wanted Foles in Indianapolis prior to 2022. This year marked the simplest Foles transaction, with the former Super Bowl MVP’s value dropping to the point he agreed to join the Colts on a two-year deal — one ESPN.com’s Field Yates tweets will carry a $2.5MM base salary in 2022 and a $3.5MM base in 2023. Foles already cashed in a $4MM roster bonus from the Bears this year. Foles’ cap hits will be just $2.6MM and $3.6MM with the Colts.

What [GM] Chris [Ballard] and I said was in a perfect world, you get a proven backup, but if it doesn’t happen, we’re not going to chase it,” Reich said, via Mike Wells of ESPN.com. “We’re not going to overpay. We’re not going to do something crazy that could hurt the team long-term.

I wanted Nick since I’ve been here to be on this team because I think he’s that good of a player. I think he’s the perfect backup quarterback. It literally fell into our lap. We didn’t chase it. If it wouldn’t have worked out, we would have been happy with Sam [Ehlinger], but we’re really happy we got Nick.”

Foles was tied to the Eagles during Reich’s first year with the Colts, playing a key role in Philadelphia yet again by leading the team — which lost Carson Wentz late that season to injury — to the divisional round. The Jaguars signed Foles to a four-year, $88MM deal in 2019 — during an offseason in which the Colts had Andrew Luck still locked in as their starter — and Brissett was still under contract to back up Philip Rivers in 2020. Last year represented a contractual window to acquire Foles, who became a nonfactor in his second Bears season. But with Wentz also on the team, it is understandable the Colts steered clear.

Ryan has not made the Pro Bowl since his 2016 MVP season, and the former Falcons franchise passer ranked 21st in QBR last year. But Ballard said he plans on the trade acquisition being Indy’s QB1 for at least two seasons. Foles’ stock has plummeted considerably since his second Eagles stint, but back with Reich — whom he worked with during a 2017 season that ended with a Super Bowl MVP honor — the 33-year-old veteran could conceivably represent competition for Ryan. For now, that is not the plan.

This is Matt’s team,” Foles said. “He’s the leader, and he’s running the ship. … I think any time you have a QB room like this, you’re excited to go to work every day. You’re excited to work alongside an MVP.”

Colts To Sign QB Nick Foles

Days after it came out that the sides were nearing a deal, the Colts are indeed signing veteran quarterback Nick Foles. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports (on Twitter) that Foles has agreed to terms on a two-year contract with Indianapolis. 

It was reported last week that the Colts were open to the prospect of adding a veteran to their QB room. Many believed that the signal-caller they would be most interested in would be Foles, given his connection to head coach Frank Reich. It was during their time together with the Eagles that Foles led the team to a Super Bowl title. He recently said, “I learned more with [Reich] and that staff in that season in 2017 than I ever have”.

Days later, it came out that the 33-year-old was nearing a deal with the Colts. When asked about the possibility of adding the familiar face, Reich said, “we’re not in a rush. There is a timing to the way things go, and the way the roster is put together, that is very intentional.” Now, almost immediately after those comments, the two have been reunited.

Foles most recently had a two-year stint in Chicago after a disappointing season spent in Jacksonville. He made seven starts in 2020, but was relegated to the No. 3 role this past year behind rookie Justin Fields and fellow veteran Andy Dalton. At the end of April, he was released, opening the door to this signing. The Colts had competition for his services, however, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that the Eagles were “involved” in Foles’ free agency leading up to his decision to join the former.

In Indianapolis, Foles will provide experienced depth behind Matt Ryan, whom the team has stated a desire to maintain as their No. 1 for multiple years. Should anything happen to him, Reich will now be able to lean on a trusted former colleague for at least the immediate future.

Colts, Foles Getting Close To Deal

After reports that Indianapolis was open to adding a veteran quarterback to their roster, behind recent addition Matt Ryan, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports that a deal is in the works for the Colts to bring in Nick Foles. The move would reunite Foles with Colts head coach Frank Reich, who served as his offensive coordinator during their Super Bowl run with the Eagles. 

At the Colts’ rookie minicamp a week ago, Reich was asked specifically about the possibility of signing Foles, who was released by the Bears at the end of April. “We’re always looking at who makes this team better, at every position,” Reich said. “Who are the available veterans? Who can we still sign? [GM] Chris [Ballard] is very methodical about that process. We’re not in a rush. There is a timing to the way things go, and the way the roster is put together, that is very intentional.” 

Foles and Reich have a strong relationship, and Foles recently said, “I learned more with [Reich] and that staff in that season in 2017 than I ever have.”

Foles’ subsequent stints with the Jaguars and Bears were eminently forgettable, but he would certainly represent a qualified backup for Ryan. And that could be critical for a team that saw firsthand in 2021 how an inexperienced backup can negatively impact a season

In a close game against the Rams in Week 2 of the 2021 campaign, Jacob Eason replaced starter Carson Wentz, who had suffered two sprained ankles. Eason, a 2020 fourth-rounder who was seeing his first regular season action, promptly threw a crippling interception and finished the game 2-for-5 for 40 yards and the pick. He was waived a month later.

Foles will be competing for the backup spot with second-year quarterbacks Sam Ehlinger out of Texas and James Morgan out of Florida International, as well as rookie undrafted free agent Jack Coan out of Notre Dame. According to Garafolo, the deal is expected to be finalized early next week.

Colts Open To Veteran QB Addition

The Colts will be deploying Matt Ryan, who will turn 37 in two days, under center in 2022 (and perhaps for several years beyond that). But as Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star writes, the club remains open to adding a veteran passer.

At the Colts’ rookie minicamp on Friday, head coach Frank Reich was asked specifically about the possibility of signing Nick Foles, who was released by the Bears at the end of April. “We’re always looking at who makes this team better, at every position,” Reich said. “Who are the available veterans? Who can we still sign? [GM] Chris [Ballard] is very methodical about that process. We’re not in a rush. There is a timing to the way things go, and the way the roster is put together, that is very intentional.” 

Of course, Reich was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator in 2017 when Foles, filling in for an injured Carson Wentz, led Philadelphia on a magical run to its first Lombardi Trophy. Foles and Reich have a strong relationship, and Foles recently said, “I learned more with [Reich] and that staff in that season in 2017 than I ever have.”

Foles’ subsequent stints with the Jaguars and Bears were eminently forgettable, but he would certainly represent a qualified backup for Ryan. And that could be critical for a team that saw firsthand in 2021 how an inexperienced QB2 can negatively impact a season.

In a close game against the Rams in Week 2 of the 2021 campaign, Jacob Eason replaced (coincidentally) Wentz, who had suffered two sprained ankles. Eason, a 2020 fourth-rounder who was seeing his first regular season action, promptly threw a crippling interception and finished the game 2-for-5 for 40 yards and the pick. He was waived a month later.

Indianapolis is high on 2021 sixth-rounder Sam Ehlinger, and it would not be surprising to see him as Ryan’s clipboard holder come Week 1. However, he has not thrown a regular season pass in the NFL, and the same can be said for James Morgan and rookie UDFA Jack Coan, who round out the current QB depth chart.

As such, Foles could be an attractive option. Aside from him, the pickings on the free agent quarterback market are pretty slim, with Cam Newton at the top of a list that also includes Ryan Fitzpatrick — who is 39 and who suffered a season-ending hip injury in the first game of the 2021 season — Mike Glennon, and A.J. McCarron.

Panthers Still Open To Veteran QB Addition

Although the Panthers came away with a Day 2 quarterback in this draft (Matt Corral), third-round picks do not necessarily block teams from further investments at this position. The team will continue to look into the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo, Baker Mayfield and now Nick Foles, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes.

GM Scott Fitterer said post-draft the team would go with its current group — one headlined by Sam Darnold and Corral — but Garoppolo or Mayfield would provide an upgrade. The Panthers and Browns had discussed Mayfield ahead of last week’s second round but could not determine how to divvy up the since-replaced QB’s fifth-year option salary ($18.9MM). Darnold is already attached to that sum, which would make Carolina eating all of Mayfield’s option price a non-starter. As such, Mayfield is in limbo.

This marks the second Garoppolo connection to form in the past few days, with the Texans also believed to have the longtime 49ers starter on their radar. Houston did not draft a quarterback last week. Few Garoppolo connections emerged this offseason, with the 49ers’ high asking price limiting teams’ interest. The eight-year veteran’s shoulder surgery provided a roadblock as well.

Foles, 33, languished on the Bears’ bench for most of last season. The former Super Bowl MVP also lost his starting job in both 2019 (to Gardner Minshew in Jacksonville) and ’20 (to Mitchell Trubisky, after having taken it from the incumbent earlier that year). Last season, Andy Dalton and Justin Fields ran Chicago’s offense in all but one game — a Foles-directed win in Seattle — and the Bears finally cut bait after the draft.

Corral became a Panther after the team traded into the third round, giving up its 2023 third-rounder to do so, but the team might have had its eye on a different QB. The Panthers had a deal on the table to trade back into Round 2, when Corral, Malik Willis and Desmond Ridder were on the board amid their Friday-night freefalls.

I had the card in my hand, and [owner David Tepper] looks at me and says, ‘What do you want to do?’” Fitterer said, via Breer. “And we both just kind of took a moment, and we looked at the board, and we decided the right thing to do was to be patient. Let’s not overpay. Let’s be smart about this. Let’s not dig ourselves in a hole for next year. Let’s inch back on trading with these quarterbacks.”

The Falcons and Titans took Ridder and Willis, respectively, and Breer adds the Panthers would have been fine going with Sam Howell instead of Corral. They decided on the Ole Miss product, and the in-state product fell all the way to Washington atop Round 5.

Bears Release QB Nick Foles

After deciding to move forward with rookie quarterback Justin Fields as their starter behind center, the Bears have agreed to release Nick Foles, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. 

At 33-years-old, Foles will be searching for his sixth NFL team. He was drafted by the Eagles in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft, starting the last six games of his rookie season when then-starter Michael Vick was injured with a concussion. After an offseason competition with Vick and newly-drafted Matt Barkley, Foles entered his sophomore season as the backup, but soon took over, starting the last 10 games of the season and getting selected to the Pro Bowl after throwing 27 touchdowns versus only 2 interceptions. The following season saw Foles break his collarbone after only eight games.

Foles was traded after that season to the Rams and spent a season in there in St. Louis and the next year with the Chiefs, where he signed after briefly considering retirement. When the Chiefs declined the second-year option on his contract, he returned to Philadelphia to back up second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz was having an MVP-caliber season before tearing his ACL in a Week 14 game against the Rams. Foles stepped in and led the Eagles to a Super Bowl XXVI victory, being named MVP of the game in the process. Wentz returned to the starting job three weeks into the next season with Foles appearing again late in the year and in the playoffs, but ultimately getting defeated by the Saints.

Foles signed after that as a free agent with the Jaguars. An injury-stricken year in Jacksonville led them to trade him to Chicago. Foles replaced a struggling Mitchell Trubisky as starter during his first year before suffering a rough hip injury that took him out of action. Foles was slotted in as the third-string quarterback for most of the 2021 season behind Fields and back up Andy Dalton. Foles did appear for one start in their absences, though, showing his usual heroics with a late game-winning touchdown to Jimmy Graham to win by one point.

Without Foles the Bears will roster Fields, Trevor Siemian, and Ryan Willis. The Bears had been seeking a trade partner for Foles, but, in a brilliant show of class, the team’s new regime wanted to allow Foles the opportunity to find his next home on his own.

NFC North Notes: Alexander, Bears, Lions

The Packers were unable to reach an extension agreement with Davante Adams, leading to a blockbuster trade following a franchise tag. Brian Gutekunst would prefer the Jaire Alexander process conclude before a potential Alexander tag comes into play. The fifth-year Packers GM said the team “would love” to extend Alexander this offseason, via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman (on Twitter). Gutekunst confirmed the Packers and Alexander are in talks, which became known earlier this month, and said the discussions could continue throughout the year. Alexander finds himself in an interesting position, coming off a season a shoulder injury mostly nullified. But the one-time Pro Bowler is still eyeing a top-market extension. Alexander figures to face a decision on playing out a contract year ahead of a potential tag or taking long-term security — at likely a slightly lower price — before the season.

Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • Larry Ogunjobi was onboard with the Bears for fewer than five days, with the team nixing the defensive tackle’s deal due to a failed physical. New Bears GM Ryan Poles is open to agreeing to another contract with Ogunjobi, per ESPN.com’s Courney Cronin, who notes the failed physical stemmed from the former Browns and Bengals D-lineman’s surgically repaired right foot (Twitter link). Ogunjobi suffered a foot injury during the Bengals’ wild-card win. Poles noted the Bears’ deal with Ogunjobi prevented them from adding other free agents during the legal tampering period, per Adam Jahns of The Athletic (subscription required).
  • Viewing Trevor Siemian as a better fit in the offense Luke Getsy is installing, Poles said (via Jahns) he hopes a Nick Foles trade emerges in the near future. But nothing is on the horizon, continuing this holding pattern for the former Super Bowl MVP. Foles is due a $4MM base salary in 2022, the final year of his contract. Foles has the Bears’ fourth-largest cap number ($10.7MM); a trade would let the Bears off the hook for Foles’ salary but still hand the team a $6MM-plus dead-money charge.
  • Although the Bears gutted their front seven by trading Khalil Mack, cutting Danny Trevathan and not re-signing Akiem Hicks, Poles said the team is not planning to move on from Robert Quinn. No Quinn trade scenario has come up, Poles said (via Jahns, on Twitter). Quinn’s $17.1MM cap figure is the largest on the Bears’ 2022 payroll. Despite going into his age-32 season, Quinn boosted his trade value last year by breaking Richard Dent‘s franchise single-season sack record.
  • Prior to Chandon Sullivan‘s Vikings agreement, the Packers made a late push to keep him, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Sullivan spent the past three seasons with the Packers, who have a need at slot cornerback thanks to his defection to a division rival. The Broncos also pursued Sullivan but signed K’Waun Williams days before news of Sullivan’s Vikings agreement surfaced.
  • The Lions will primarily use a 4-3 defense next season, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Detroit started last season by changing to a 3-4 look, but Aaron Glenn‘s unit adjusted a bit down the stretch. Prior to last season, the Lions had used a 4-3 look for many years.

Latest On Nick Foles

Given the current quarterback situation in Chicago, it seems inevitable Nick Foles will be on the move soon. It comes as no surprise, then, that NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports that the Bears “have explored trades” involving the veteran (Twitter link). 

[RELATED: Bears To Sign Siemian]

Foles, 33, has been with the Bears for the past two years. He started seven games in 2020, posting a 2-5 record while throwing 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Last offseason, the team signed Andy Dalton and drafted Justin Fields, setting them up for the short- and long-term future. That left Foles on the sidelines for all but one game in 2021.

The former Super Bowl winner was thought to be a trade candidate even though Dalton only signed a one-year contract, and he will remain one with the addition of Trevor Siemian on a two-year pact. A deal has recently become more manageable, though, which could accelerate the process of Foles finding a new home.

As Garafolo notes, a $4MM roster bonus Foles was due last week has been paid out. That, coupled with the fact that only $1MM of his remaining compensation is guaranteed, would make it easy for a team to add him from a financial perspective. A trade would save the Bears $8MM in cap space, while creating a dead money charge of $2.67MM.

While most teams are settled with regards to their starting signal-caller, Foles could still be an effective backup on any number of teams. The question of where he lands next could soon be answered.

QB Trevor Siemian Visits Bears

The Bears are eyeing some reinforcement at quarterback. Veteran QB Trevor Siemian worked out for the Bears today, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter).

The 30-year-old ended up getting four starts this past season with the Saints, his most starting nods since he was a full-timer with the Broncos in 2017. New Orleans went 0-4 in Siemian’s four starts, with the quarterback completing 57.4 percent of his passes for 1,154 yards, 11 touchdowns, and only three interceptions.

Siemian was 13-11 as a starter during his time in Denver, tossing 30 touchdowns vs. 24 interceptions. He was a seventh-round pick by the Broncos in 2015.

Speaking of Bears QBs, Nick Foles received his $4MM roster bonus the other day. The bonus was fully guaranteed, so it’s not a surprise that the veteran is still on the roster. However, as ESPN’s Courtney Cronin tweets, teams could have some interest in the veteran in-season considering half of his 2022 earnings have already been paid.

Bears To Start Nick Foles In Week 16

Nick Foles‘ anonymous 10th season will include at least one start. The Bears will give their usual third-stringer the keys Sunday, with Andy Dalton out and Justin Fields dealing with an injury.

Fields is not certain to miss the game. Matt Nagy, however, said the first-round rookie would be a game-time decision to suit up as the backup. The Bears ruled out Dalton due to injury.

This will be Foles’ first start since Week 10 of last season. Nagy summoned Foles to replace Mitchell Trubisky in Week 3 of last year but then moved Trubisky back into the lineup after Foles began to struggle. Trubisky finished the season as Chicago’s starter, and the team signed Andy Dalton in March. The Bears’ Fields pick in April moved Foles into trade rumors, but nothing materialized. The former Super Bowl MVP has not taken a snap for the Bears this season.

Fields was limited in practice Wednesday but sidelined for the team’s two subsequent workouts this week. After a previous injury, Fields returned to the starting lineup in Week 14 against the Packers. He played throughout Monday’s loss to the Vikings. Nagy has said Fields is his starter when healthy, but the missed practices will lead to Fields either suiting up for an emergency role or not dressing for the team’s game against the Seahawks.

Following his Super Bowl MVP outing, Foles finished the 2018 season as the Eagles’ starter and led them on a late-season rally to the playoffs. He then beat the Bears in the “double doink” wild-card game. The Jaguars gave Foles a starter deal in 2019 but traded him after one season. Foles’ reworked Bears contract runs through next season.