The Eagles quarterback of the past talked first. That was Nick Foles.
About an hour later, the Eagles quarterback of the future talked. That was Carson Wentz.
Both players and the rest of the team gathered together one final time on Monday morning, to clean out their lockers, get their offseason marching orders, and to say their good-byes to one another. For many, it could very well have been the final time in this locker room.
It sure seems like it will be Foles’ final time in that space.
He wants to start, and that is something that won’t happen with the Eagles. Not with Wentz around.
The Eagles have until Feb. 12 – about 30 days before the league year begins in March - to pick up Foles’ contract, worth $20. If they do, Foles has five days to buy himself out of the deal at the cost of $2 million and become a free agent.
What will happen?
Foles didn’t want to dive too deeply into his future.
“I’m taking a breath right now,” he said. “I’ll talk to the team - I have a great relationship with this team. That’s genuine, so we’ll continue to communicate, we’ll continue to talk about everything and ultimately we’ll make the best decision for both sides and we’ll figure it out. That’s what it’s always been about being in Philly. It’ll work out.”
What will happen is Foles will depart and Wentz will resume control of this team, and he will do so without Foles lurking in the background.
Already, the quarterback thinks there could be some added pressure with the high bar Foles set these past two seasons, seasons that Wentz was unable to finish due to a knee injury last year and a back injury this year.
“It could (add pressure),” said Wentz. “Without a doubt, you look at that and say it could put more pressure. You could say coming into the season there was more pressure. I do everything I can to block that stuff out. Right now, my focus is on getting my body right and to play this game freely like I did last year before the injury and just cut it loose, get rid of all that pressure and anxiety or whatever it may be and just play the game freely.”
He has heard the whispers that he is now officially an injury-prone quarterback.
“I realize that's other people's opinion on things,” said Wentz. “I, first and foremost, am looking forward to hopefully putting that to rest over the next couple years. At the end of the day, you play this game and you can't control injuries. Things happen and I'm going to do everything I can to avoid those. My goal is to put those doubts to rest.
“(It’s) super frustrating. You want to play postseason football. I still have zero games of postseason football under my belt. I realize I have a lot to prove in that regard, but I'm confident I will get a chance to do that. To be on the sideline for two straight years is tough.”
Wentz said he could not pinpoint when his latest injury happened, which is the stress fracture in his back. It was discovered following the overtime loss to the Cowboys on Dec. 9, but said it was something that developed over time.
He did not go on Injured Reserve because he wanted to keep himself available, a sort of just-in-case if disaster struck with Foles and backup Nate Sudfeld.
“Sometimes I sit and wonder why (injuries) happened again,” said Wentz. “I know God's doing something in my life. I'm trying not to worry about the other things and focus on what I can control.”
Wentz knows that this past season did not come close to resembling the one he had in 2017, where he would have and maybe should have won the MVP even though he tore two knee ligaments late in the season.
It was an injury that he seemed to admit he never fully came back from this year, especially having to wear a knee brace for the first time.
“I felt like there were times I was constantly just trying to get back to feeling 100 percent like myself and everything,” he said. “It's tough wearing a knee brace and all that stuff and trying to get used to that. I think that's something this offseason I'll continue to focus on getting this back and keeping the knee and getting that full mobility back and the way I was before.”
Wentz added that he should be ready to return to team activities when the team reconvenes in April.
He didn’t want to discuss his contract situation and whether or not he would like a deal done this offseason. Nor did he want to get into whether or not the Eagles have actually told him that they are going to commit to him over Foles, though that seems fairly obvious at this point.
“I'm confident the team's going to do what's best for the team,” said Wentz. “I'm going to support that. I know a couple things - I love Nick. I love that we're like brothers in there - me, Nick and Nate, and the support we have for each other. Whatever happens is meant to happen. I think we're all going to be successful in our own right.”
So Foles will likely move on, but not without having left a large footprint in Eagles history, with the fans, and with Wentz, too.
“I learned a lot from watching Nick play and the type of player he was,” said Wentz, “and seeing the games play well and just seeing the postseason success last year and now this year. You take a lot of that and kind of store it away and use at as motivation, a little bit.”
This is Wentz’s team again. Really, it never stopped being his team. Foles was simply the caretaker. But what a caretaker he turned out to be.