DEAL OR NO DEAL — IS THERE A MARKET FOR EAGLES QB NICK FOLES?

By Peter Gleason

While Mark Sanchez has held his own more or less as his replacement, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles has been busy rehabbing his broken left collarbone and tossing the ball around at the NovaCare complex.

Which has stoked trade talk on the radio and in the minds of Eagles Nation.

The question is:

Should the Birds sign Sanchez, trade Foles and draft a top college QB for the future?

It hasn’t been a great 2014 for Foles, who might have been exposed by the competence of Sanchez. After Foles put together spectacular numbers during a brief season in 2013, most Eagles fans had high hopes. But Foles came crashing down in 2014, with his numbers resembling the merely competent stat line he posted as a rookie under Andy Reid. Foles’s touchdown-to-interception ratio, a gaudy 27:2 in 2013, was a marginal 13:10 before he broke his collarbone in November.

Sanchez hasn’t been dominant, but his numbers are similar to or better than what Foles posted this year in just about every category. If Chip Kelly’s system can make the previously mediocre Sanchez look this good, it doesn’t make Foles look like much of a quarterback. Instead, stories leaked after Foles’s injury suggesting that general manager Howie Roseman had already begun to sour on Foles as he struggled in 2014.

The Eagles wouldn’t save much at all by trading Foles, who has a very team-friendly deal per his third-round rookie contract. The Eagles will owe Foles just $815,880 in the upcoming fourth and final year of his rookie deal, at which point Foles will become an unrestricted free agent.4 Philly would save $660,000 by trading Foles, but that’s chump change for a team that perennially leaves millions in cap space available for flexibility’s sake.

The Eagles would really only want to trade Foles if they felt like they were set at quarterback (either by signing Sanchez to a new deal after his one-year contract runs out this offseason or by acquiring another passer) and wanted to acquire some sort of asset for their former starter before Foles hits free agency in 2016. This would be a tactical move, not a financial one.

Unlike Robert Griffin III, Foles wouldn’t be a one-year rental; while Foles has now missed time with injuries in each of his three professional seasons and really only has that one outlier season in 2013 to suggest he’s a superstar in the making, he’s exhibited enough to justify a multiyear commitment, if not necessarily a lengthy one. A team that trades for him could try to use the leverage created by that final year of his deal to renegotiate friendlier terms on a long-term contract, in a similar vein to what the Cardinals did with Kevin Kolb after trading for him in 2011.

Foles could very well appeal to a team that doesn’t want to give up a first-round pick but also wants to upgrade at quarterback. If the Rams move on from Sam Bradford this offseason as most expect, would they be willing to sacrifice a second-rounder to try to find their quarterback of the future? With the Bills giving up on EJ Manuel and spending the first round of the 2015 draft on the sideline after the Sammy Watkins deal, could they have interest in dealing a midround pick or two for Foles?

 

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