Nick Foles, Eagles should wait before even considering trade
MINNEAPOLIS – Fresh off of their championship upset of the New England Patriots, Nick Foles and Doug Pederson just wanted to enjoy the moment. But soon enough the Philadelphia Eagles and their backup-turned-Super Bowl MVP will have decisions to make about their future together.
Now that Foles has resurrected his career, stepping in for an injured Carson Wentz to deliver the Eagles the Lombardi Trophy, the phone will likely ring.
Quarterback-needy teams will approach Philadelphia executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman about the possibility of prying Foles away to provide a much sought-after sense of stability.
But it’s important for Roseman and Pederson to practice restraint here.
It's not clear what Foles wants for his next chapter. His career once looked to be at its end but now has reached the pinnacle, at least as far as team achievements.
Signing Foles last offseason proved to be a brilliant move. But what happens when Wentz completes his rehab from reconstructive knee surgery? Will Foles simply return to life as a backup? The chances of Pederson holding an open competition for the starting job are slim to none – not after the MVP-caliber season Wentz delivered prior to his injury. And the coach said he told Wentz on Sunday night, “Hopefully we’ll be back in this game, next time with you leading the way.”
Would Foles rather spend the final year of his contract elsewhere so he can start? He did request his release from the Rams after they drafted Jared Goff in 2016, but that was understandable given the state of the franchise at the time.
For now, it’s far too early for Foles to know what’s next, he said. He loves his coaches, he loves his teammates, and his organization.
“I’m not worried about my future,” he said Monday morning after accepting his Super Bowl MVP trophy. “I take pride in wearing the Eagles uniform. … I’m excited for Carson Wentz coming back. He’s a stud. … I’m just living in the moment. I’m not thinking ahead.”
And when asked how he would handle his quarterback situation, Pederson cracked, “I knew I couldn’t get off without that question.”
He added, “I’m happy for Nick, happy for the team. It’s not about one guy, I’ve said that, and we’re just going to enjoy these next days.”
Pederson did right not to address the matter at the moment. It takes a while for the magnitude of winning a Super Bowl to sink in, and he and the organization should savor this. But more importantly, no one really knows how things will play out with Wentz’s recovery.
Yes, the Eagles could probably fetch a couple nice draft picks in exchange for Foles. But there are no guarantees in recoveries from serious injuries. Just ask Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and the doctors that have struggled to restore his shoulder to full strength.
Having a legitimate backup plan at the start of the season might have helped the Colts avoid such a disastrous 2017 campaign, though even Jacoby Brissett's early September arrival only helped so much. The same goes for the Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans given their inability to compete without Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson.
And as was demonstrated in Robert Griffin III’s epic fall from prominence following knee surgery – an instance where he should not have rushed back for Week 1 of his second season and instead been given more time to recover – it’s not a given that Wentz will be the same right away even after receiving medical clearance.
A patient approach would probably benefit the Eagles and Wentz.
Sure, Foles might aspire to remain a starter, and no one could blame him if he does wind up asking for a trade or release. But the quarterback, who has said he wants to become a pastor once his playing days are over, believes he returned to Philadelphia for a reason. Because he’s an unconventional thinker, he could desire remaining with the team for the final year of his contract. As he has experienced, a new situation and starting opportunity doesn’t always translate into happiness.
Meanwhile, the Eagles would do well to keep him in the fold, at least while they monitor Wentz’s progress. If the franchise cornerstone is back to 100% by August, then Roseman could always find a trade partner for Foles then.
But for now, as Foles and Pederson said, those decisions will come in due time. Let the Eagles and their quarterback dance in the confetti a couple days longer.
Follow Mike Jones on Twitter @ByMikeJones.
PHOTOS: Super Bowl LII