Nick Foles is a free agent.
In a flurry of late Tuesday night maneuvering, the Eagles reportedly picked up the $20 million contract on Nick Foles and the quarterback answered almost immediately by countering the move by agreeing to pay the team $2 million in order to buy his way into free agency.
This is what Foles wanted, the right to be a free agent.
“I think having the opportunity to be a free agent is extremely important,” said Foles, during the team’s clean-out day on the day after their season ended in the Divisional round of the playoffs against the New Orleans Saints.
Foles also has stated his desire to want a chance to be a starter in this league. No more second-fiddle to Caron Wentz.
“I would love to lead a team,” said Foles. “Impacting a locker room, that’s why we play the game, to impact people, to create an atmosphere, and you can’t just do it as a quarterback, though. It’s not just one person. That’s the thing. If this (Eagles) team has shown something, is it takes a team. It’s not just a quarterback. This team, in all facets, leans on one another, defense, offense, special teams, coaches. Ultimately that’s what creates a winning atmosphere.”
The Eagles can end Foles’ bid for free agency by placing the franchise tag on him. They have until March 5 to make that decision, with the opening of the NFL’s league year right around the corner from that date, at 4 p.m. on March 13.
There are reports the Eagles will do just that.
(Foles talks about the season in this attached video)
It’s a risk to use the franchise tag with Foles, because they would then owe him approximately $25 million for the 2019 season, though the final number for a franchised-tagged quarterback has not been calculated, yet. The team cannot afford that price tag. They are already pressed tightly to the salary cap wall. After renegotiating the contract of safety Rodney McLeod, the Eagles are still about $8 million over the cap.
Foles still would have a card to play if the franchise tag is applied. He could refuse to sign it.
That would be a hardball move.
The thinking here is the Eagles and Foles’ representation are negotiating a landing spot, which is something that would benefit both team and player.
The Eagles get something for Foles while the Eagles help him find a team that suits his very specific skillset.
It is the job of executive vice president of player personnel Howie Roseman’s to improve the team, but to do so at the cost of invoking hard feelings by a quarterback who has meant so much to the organization isn’t Roseman’s style, either.
That means there is plenty of talking going on with Roseman and teams in need of a quarterback.
There are a list of teams who do, starting with two in Florida – the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars. There are also two in the NFC East - the New York Giants and Washington Redskins.
Some others who may be interested are the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders.
Whichever team it is, they would have to take on Foles’ $25 million salary for 2019 and commit even more money to him on a newly-negotiated contract that could run two or three years or more.
Here’s the catch, though. The Eagles have to be under the salary cap when the new league year arrives, and the Eagles could not officially announce the trade until the new year league begins. So if he is on the roster at $25 million, they have to factor that into their 2019 salary cap, even it is for only a couple of hours until the trade is approved. That would mean some major cuts.
This is a situation that won’t go away anytime soon, even after the first salvos were fired Tuesday night.