Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson told the media this week that “Carson [Wentz] is the quarterback moving forward,” and that’s despite Wentz failing to finish the last two seasons due to injury.
This announcement leaves Wentz’s backup, Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles, with some major career choices to make.
Foles’ story is unique but his current situation is typical in today’s NFL, and here we go deeper into how this Eagle from Texas redefined what it means to be a backup in the NFL and the odds and predictions of which franchise he will be playing for in 2019.
How about a quick Nick Foles bio?
Nick Foles is a big 30-year-old man who stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs in at 243 pounds.
Foles was born in Austin, Texas to a couple of restaurateurs and as a two-season starting high school quarterback (Westlake High, class of 2007), he threw for a record 5,658 yards and 56 touchdowns.
Foles was also a highly sought after basketball player (Georgetown, Baylor, and Texas recruited him), but he played college football at Arizona State for three years after a quick freshman run at Michigan State.
In three seasons at Arizona, Foles threw for 10,000+ yards and 67 touchdowns with 33 interceptions and after his graduation in 2012 was drafted in the 3rd round of the NFL draft with pick 88 by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Has Foles always been a Philadelphia Eagle?
For his first three seasons in the NFL, Foles was a Philadelphia Eagle, playing in 28 games and starting 24 of them, with a decent 15-9 record in his starts.
Despite going 6-2 as a starter in 2014 before his season-ending shoulder injury, his ten interceptions and four fumbles kept him behind then-starter Mark Sanchez and during the offseason, the Eagles traded Foles to the St. Louis Rams.
In 2015, Foles went 4-7 in St. Louis but lost his starting job multiple times to Case Keenum after turnovers continued to haunt him, and after the Rams selected Jared Goff with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Foles requested and was granted a release.
Foles and the Kansas City Chiefs signed a one-year deal with a second-year option but wasn’t resigned after starting (and winning) just one game for the injured Alex Smith and in 2017, his magical year, signed a two-year contract as a backup with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Has Foles always been a backup?
Just under 60 percent of the time he has been a backup.
Foles has been in the NFL for 6 seasons and including the postseason he has started in 50 games out of a possible 118.
His all-time record as an NFL starter is 30-20, or .600.
What NFL records has Foles tied?
Foles has tied two different NFL records in his six-year career.
In 2013, Foles threw 7 touchdown passes in a game, tying an NFL record shared by seven other quarterbacks.
In 2018, Foles completed 25 passes in a row, tying an NFL record shared by two other quarterbacks.
Foles was also the NFL passer-rating leader in 2013 with a rating of 119.2.
How did Foles the Eagles’ backup become Super Bowl LII MVP?
Short answer, Philadelphia starter Carson Wentz got injured and backup Foles closed the deal.
In Week 14 of the 2017 season, Wentz’s season ended after he tore his ACL, so Foles came in the game and despite his completing 6-of-10 passes for just 42 yards the Eagles won and clinched their first division title since 2013.
Foles’ Eagles then won the next three games, including Super Bowl LII, and after completing 28-of-43 passes in the postseason for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns with just one interception, Foles was named Super Bowl MVP and his incredible story made the headlines for months.
After his Super Bowl win, did Foles make more money?
Yes, with the whole world watching, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie revised Foles’ contract and gave him a $2 million bonus.
There were also millions of dollars in incentives included if Foles were to become a starter, and a 2019 mutual option, which means the Eagles could pick up his 2019 salary, $20 million, however, he could also buy his way to free agency freedom with one little financial condition:
Foles would have to give back the $2 million Super Bowl bonus that he received.
What kind of 2018 did Foles have?
A pretty good one, actually, considering he was the backup.
Foles started the season for the recovering Wentz and he finished the season after Wentz’s year ended in December due to a back injury, ending 2018 with a 4-1 regular season record and going 1-1 in the postseason.
And another backup miracle Super Bowl run almost happened to Foles and his Eagles until during a final potential game-winning fourth-quarter drive he threw an interception to Marshon Lattimore to end their season.
After his 2018, did Foles make more money?
Yes, he did, but only because the owner was decent about it.
Foles actually came up four plays short of qualifying for his incentives, but again Lurie did the right thing by him.
Since Foles took about 33 percent of the Eagles’ snaps and the team made it to the playoffs, he received a $1 million bonus despite being slightly under.
Why is Foles now available?
Mostly because of the aforementioned 2019 mutual option.
In February, the Eagles announced that they would indeed pick up the $20 million option on Foles’ contract, which would have prevented Foles from becoming a free agent.
That exact same day in February, however, Foles told the Eagles they could have back their $2 million Super Bowl LII bonus, which immediately voided the team’s option and made Foles a free agent at the start of the 2019 league year in March.
Why didn’t Foles take the $20 million Eagles deal?
One reason only – the man wants to be a starter, and who can blame him?
At the end of 2018, Foles made his main-man desires quite clear:
"I would love to lead a team … The starter thing, leading a team, impacting a locker room ... that's why we play the game, to impact people, to create an atmosphere."
And once Pederson told the world that Carson was his man, there was no reason for Foles to stick around any longer.
Why don’t the Eagles just keep Foles?
Because they still believe in Carson Wentz.
Despite Wentz’s propensity to get injured and having to miss games as a result, Pederson and the Eagles still see him as the franchise quarterback and they aren’t ready to give up on him just yet.
Sure, they could have slapped a $26 million franchise tag on Foles and forced him to stay, but that would have been costly and as Philadelphia’s general manager Howie Roseman has said to the media, “[Foles] deserves an opportunity to lead a team.”
Is Foles good enough to be a starter?
Absolutely, who wouldn’t want a Super Bowl MVP who’s 4-2 in the playoffs?
Actually, most NFL teams already have their quarterbacks set, so it’s going to take a mixture of need and open cap space to land a catch like Foles.
Foles is coming off a five-game season where he completed 72.3 percent of his passes for 1,413 yards and 7 touchdowns.
His downside continues to be turnovers, with four interceptions in the 2018 regular season and that season-ending pick in the NFC Championship Game.
What kind of money will Foles receive as a free agent?
Foles’ franchise tag would have been worth $26 million in 2019, but he’ll probably receiver less than that with a new long-term contract.
The upside will be the greater length of the contract, which the 30-year-old will most likely prefer, and it’s reported that Foles’ current market value is about $25 million annually over three or four years.
That amount of money limits Foles’ choices, but there are still plenty of teams who could use a leading man like him.
What are the current odds on Nick Foles’ next team?
Where oh where will Nick Foles go?
The oddsmakers have a pretty good idea of which NFL franchises have both the need and the money for a player who is a proven winner under center.
Here are the current odds on which team Nick Foles will be playing for in 2019:
Miami Dolphins +200
The Dolphins already have a 30-year-old starting quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, but he’s not nearly as successful as Foles and seems to already be halfway out the door.
With a new head coach and after a 7-9 season, big changes are welcome in Miami and Foles could be a part of that.
Washington Redskins +250
The Redskins’ starting quarterback is 34-year-old Alex Smith and he’s in the middle of a four-year, $94 million contract extension.
Smith is older and prone to injury, though, so Foles signing as a Redskin backup could lead quickly to a starting role and Washington could become the team that Foles commands.
Jacksonville Jaguars +350
The Jaguars seem done with their starting quarterback, 26-year-old Jake Bortles after a disappointing 5-11 season and only one playoff appearance in his five seasons with the team.
Bortles and a few others would have to be released to free up some salary cap space, but it’s doable to get Foles and the team could sure use a leader who’s used to going to the postseason.
Denver Broncos +400
Even though the Broncos just brought in Case Keenum, that wouldn’t prevent fed up general manager John Elway from making a change, especially after a 6-10 season and three missed post seasons in a row.
Foles and Elway are fellow Super Bowl MVPs, and that may be enough to tip the scale his way.
Philadelphia Eagles +600
There’s zero chance of this happening at this point, so it’s strange that there are any odds given at all on the Eagles.
The team needs a backup and Foles wants to be a starter, end of the conversation.
NY Giants +1000
The Giants are still putting their money on 37-year-old Eli Manning, or so it seems, but that can’t last forever or as long as Tom Brady’s senior run.
Foles wouldn’t be guaranteed the starting job initially, but after a 5-11 season and only one playoff appearance in the seven seasons since their Super Bowl win, chances are the Giants would be up for a Foles / Manning competition to start in 2019.
Oakland Raiders +1500
Raiders’ starting quarterback Derek Carr is 27-years old and he threw for 4,049 yards and 19 touchdowns with 10 interceptions for arguably the second-worst NFL team in 2018.
Head coach Jon Gruden is in Oakland for the long haul and he’s certainly erratic enough to trade Carr and give Foles a shot, but a lot would have to happen before that becomes a betting reality.
Carolina Panthers +2000
This probably wouldn’t even be a possibility except Panthers’ starter Cam Newton’s shoulder injury could keep him from playing in 2019.
Foles could come in and save the day, but what happens when 3x Pro Bowler Newton heals up and wants to play again?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +2000
Tampa Bay is a long shot because they don’t exactly need to throw another quarterback into their already confusing mix.
Of course, before signing with the Eagles in 2017, Foles had narrowed down his options to Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, so he does like the idea of being a Buc already.