By Peter Gleason
Eagles coach Chip Kelly is nothing if not a risk-taker.
He didn’t go 46-7 in four years at Oregon by being Casper Milquetoast.
And he hasn’t risen to the top of the NFL coaching ranks, in the eyes of most everyone except dummos Jon and Shawn on the Fanatic, by folding when he is dealt a week blackjack hand.
And now apparently he’s all-in on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Foles and Kelly can exist and probably win a good share of games. They have already won 14 games in 19 starts, just not any big ones. And Kelly wants the big one.
So it’s no coincidence that several teams, including the St. Louis Rams are showing interest in Foles — just after NJ Advance Media reported that the Eagles are “going to try” to trade up in the draft to land Mariota.
Mariota, whom Kelly recruited to Oregon, is the quarterback Kelly craves.
And trading Foles can be step one to get there.
St. Louis is one of the teams interested in Foles, likely because starter Sam Bradford can’t stay healthy, and Shaun Hill and Austin Davis will never be more than NFL backups.
The Rams are built to win everywhere but quarterback, and they are doomed to runner-up finishes in the NFC West without a quality starter. Foles could be the answer to a team that hasn’t had a winning record since 2003.
The Rams own the 10th pick in the draft. Would the Rams take the Eagles’ 20th pick and Foles for that pick? Would the Eagles give up their quarterback to move up 10 spots, bringing them that much closer to Mariota?
It would make sense for both.
The Rams get their quarterback and can still get more help at No. 20. The Eagles crack the top 10, which puts them in striking distance of the No. 1 pick and the chance to land Mariota.
The Tampa Bay Bucs, at No. 1, or Tennessee Titans, at No. 2, could be willing to trade that pick for a package of players and/or draft picks. Reports say they are willing to listen. The teams, of course, aren’t saying anything publicly.
But even in their silence, there is a sense that neither team would move from No. 1 or No. 2 to No. 20, even with an attractive package of picks and/or players.
The Eagles probably need to make at least two deals to get a shot a Mariota — a move into the top 10 selections and, from there, a blockbuster that lands them the top pick. A deal with the Rams can be the first step.
Before Kelly and the Eagles make that move and trade Foles, they had better be sure they have a legitimate shot a Mariota. Because while safe might not be exciting, it’s always been better than sorry, and still is.