Free agency or franchise?
Now that the Philadelphia Eagles’ season is officially over following a loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, the defending champions head into what promises to be an interesting offseason.
Philadelphia finished the regular year with a pedestrian 9-7 record. There’s a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the ball. That doesn’t include a quarterback room that has seen the Eagles switch between young signal caller Carson Wentz and reigning Super Bowl MVP Carson Wentz.
Said quarterback room will certainly change once March comes calling (or before). Philadelphia holds a $20 million option on Foles’ contract — something he can get out of by paying back $2 million of his 2018 bonus. In turn, Foles could hit free agency. If not, the Eagles will likely look to franchise the veteran and get something in return in a trade.
It’s in this that we rank the top-five possible landing spots for Foles this coming offseason.
Jon Gruden is a true wild card here. A recent report suggested that the Raiders are looking into the possibility of trading for Foles. They have three first-round picks in which to work with. And while giving up any of those selections would make very little sense, this does give Oakland a fighting chance to land Foles with later-round picks.
Of course, this is all dependent on how Gruden feels about current franchise quarterback Derek Carr. It goes without saying that the two had their issues with one another this past season. If Gruden — as the Raiders’ de facto general manager — believes Foles is a better option, we wouldn’t be surprised if Oakland dealt for him while trading Carr for further draft capital.
It’s looking more and more like the Dolphins are going to go with a stopgap option at quarterback in 2019. The idea here would be to hit the 2020 NFL Draft hard to find a franchise signal caller. With a $26.6 million cap hit for next season, it’s highly unlikely that Ryan Tannehill will be back in South Beach. That’s magnified by the fact that Miami can save $13.2 million against the cap by releasing the veteran.
If the Dolphins are not going quarterback early in April’s draft, they’d then have to find a veteran option. That’s where Foles comes in. Why not offer up your second-round pick and change to bring in the reigning Super Bowl MVP? Having seen how good Foles is first-hand as a Patriots assistant during last season’s Super Bowl, projected new Dolphins head coach Brian Flores might very well agree.
Are Andy Dalton’s days in Cincinnati numbered? That depends heavily on what new head coach Zac Taylor thinks of the quarterback. He could look to resurrect Dalton’s career — much like what we saw with Jared Goff in Los Angeles. Then again, there’s certainly a good chance that the current Rams’ quarterbacks coach will want to find his own signal caller as he begins what promises to be a bumpy transition from position coach.
Picking 11th overall, it’s highly unlikely that either of the top two quarterbacks will be available unless the Bengals trade up. That leaves the likes of Missouri’s Drew Lock and Duke’s Daniel Jones as reach options in the initial round. Instead, Cincinnati could look to bring in a proven quarterback while addressing other needs in the draft.
A lot of this is dependent on what happens with Alex Smith as he rehabs from a potential career-ending leg injury. The post-surgery complications that Smith has dealt with could very well force the Redskins into adding a veteran quarterback. Obviously, in-house candidates such as Josh Johnson and Mark Sanchez are not viable options.
Having seen Foles first-hand over the past two seasons, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden might lean towards adding the familiar face. The question here is whether Philadelphia would trade the veteran to a division rival. We’re not too sure how viable that possibility is.
Team president Tom Coughlin will more than likely lead the Jaguars’ charge to find a new quarterback. Blake Bortles is all but done in Duval after being benched multiple times for Cody Kessler during a disastrous 2018 season for the Jaguars. Meanwhile, Jacksonville has been linked to both Eli Manning and Joe Flacco. Is either veteran really a better option than Foles? We don’t think so.
Jacksonville also makes a good fit as a trade partner. Jalen Ramsey is said to potentially be in the block. The Jaguars also eliminated the remaining guarantees on running back Leonard Fournette’s contract after he created a ton of drama. Both are areas of utmost need — leading us to believe that a player-for-player swap could be in the cards.