NOW that the dust has settled from the Divisional Round the Philadelphia Eagles are left looking forward with their season coming to an abrupt end in New Orleans. The franchise has a decision to make before we see them take to the field again with Nick Foles’ magic raising serious questions over who their quarterback should be moving forward, as Carson Wentz, yet again missed the postseason due to injury. You would think that Wentz is the clear answer under center, but after Foles delivered another batch of playoff performances to remember, there is a genuine debate over who the best man for the job is in 2019 and beyond.
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DOUG Peterson has already been on the front foot declaring Carson Wentz as their starting quarterback, but things could change. Perhaps the biggest factor in determining Philly’s starter revolves around their salary cap issues, with the Eagles set to have the highest salary of any NFL squad next year. Their current contracts would take them more than $13 million over the cap, but there are no guarantees all these deals will be paid out.
THE big one hanging over the franchise is the potential $20 million dollar option for Nick Foles. With the ball in Philadelphia’s court, there are a few paths they can go down. One, they could decline the contract and let him walk, they might opt to accept the deal and trade him, or should they be so inclined, they can pay Foles and keep him on the roster. There is a fourth option which involves the Eagles placing the franchise tag on Foles, which would likely be another avenue that leads to a trade. One thing is for sure, they can’t keep Foles under his $20 million dollar option if he’s only going to be their backup, especially with Wentz due for a big payday of his own in the near future.
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REGARDLESS of the financial restraints, Nick Foles’ performance since rejoining the Eagles is something of legend. After previously playing for three seasons with Philadelphia, Foles returned for a second stint in the 2017 offseason and boy has it paid off. With Carson Wentz succumbing to an ACL tear in Week 14 last year against the Los Angeles Rams, Foles guided the Eagles into the playoffs and on one of the most memorable Super Bowl runs of all-time. His clutch performances and ability to stay cool under pressure saw Philly capture their first-ever Super Bowl crown against the New England Patriots in epic fashion with Foles earning MVP honours.
ONCE again late this season, Foles had his number called in Week 15 (ironically against the Rams again) as Wentz battled a back injury and the magic continued. Foles broke Donovan McNabb’s franchise record for passing yards in a single game during Week 16 (471 passing yards), tied the NFL record for most consecutive completions (25) in a game the week prior and guided the Eagles to a 3-0 record, securing an unlikely postseason berth. While it didn’t lead to Philly defending their title, Foles did enough to cause some speculation over if he should be their long-term answer at quarterback.
WHILE this might sound like the Nick Foles show let’s not forget that Carson Wentz was the MVP front runner in 2017 before he got hurt. Through 13 games he had thrown for nearly 3,300 yards, 33 touchdowns (with seven interceptions) leading Philadelphia to a 10-2 record at the time. It might have been unfair for us to expect Wentz to return to an MVP calibre player fresh off an ACL tear, but there were enough signs to show he can recapture his elusive heights.
FOUR years younger than Foles, it’s clear that Wentz has a brighter future in the league and it’s important to not get caught up on recency bias. While Nick Foles will always hold a special place in Eagles fans hearts it would be pretty rash to deal Wentz away and opt to push forward with Foles. However, if they were to trade Wentz away they could demand a king’s ransom of picks and young talent in return and should they keep Foles that might put them in a position to once again challenge for the championship. The Jaguars, Giants and Dolphins could be in the market for a new quarterback and all own top-15 picks in the upcoming draft which would be a nice place to start negotiations for the former No. 2 pick.
IF the Eagles are going to deal away a QB this offseason, I’m sorry Philly fans, but it’s going to be Nick Foles. While he has had 10-15 memorable games for the club since rejoining them Wentz is the answer moving forward and it feels like a trade will likely see Foles shipped out of town. Wentz might have some shortcomings and if he continues to take hits at the rate he currently is, then it may hamper his potential ceiling. However, there is still plenty of time for him to develop considering Wentz has appeared in just 40 career games to date.
THERE is the possibility of Philadelphia flipping the team over to Foles, but I think I speak on behalf of the entire NFL community when I say that would utterly stun us all. Don’t rule out someone overpaying for him via trade or in free agency based on his recent success and if that happens then Wentz will have the chance to prove to the Eagles front office they made the right call.
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