As NFL free agency approaches, several teams have a need at the quarterback position but the incoming draft class is looking below average . When comparing this year’s class to next year’s – a class that will almost certainly include Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm, and Justin Herbert – it looks even weaker. Tagovailoa may be one of the most qualified quarterbacks to come out of college in the past decade. As for Fromm, he has had a solid, three-year career under center for Georgia. He of course lead his team to the National Championship Game (but lost to Tagovailoa, who came off the bench) in his true freshman season. Herbert, to put the icing on the cake, was considered the top quarterback prospect to possibly enter this year’s draft.. Ultimately though, Herbert chose to return to Oregon for one last season.
Already a weak quarterback market, it thinned out even further this week when the Broncos acquired Joe Flacco. Remaining free agent veterans include Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater and could soon include Case Keenum on the trade market , who may now be expendable. The most prominent of the group seems to be Foles, who was the Super Bowl MVP just a year ago after humiliating Keenum and the Vikings in the NFC Championship game before going on to defeat the New England dynasty in Super Bowl 52.
Foles’ status will depend on whether the Eagles are willing to simply let him walk in free agency or tag him. If they did tag him, they would of course look to trade him. Either way, here are five potential landing spots for Nick Foles.
New York Giants
The Giants make a lot of sense on the surface and there is said to be mutual interest. They were largely terrible last season with a weak defense, an aging quarterback in Eli Manning, along with one of the worst offensive lines in football. There is a fairly strong core on offense, however, between rookie sensation Saquan Barkley and a wide receiver core led by Odell Beckham Jr.
Barkley – entering his sophomore season – already looks like a top five running back in the league, but the offense still faces problems at quarterback and on the offensive line. Eli’s best days are clearly behind him and to make things worse, he’s playing behind an offensive line that can barely protect him. If the Giants were to sign Foles, they could open their top 10 draft pick to improving other positions such as along the offensive line or on defense.
Though this situation seems like a good fit, I think the Giants either take Haskins at 8 or move back and select a QB in the mid-first like Drew Lock or Daniel Jones. It’s even possible that whoever they draft ends up sitting out their first season while being mentored by Eli. The Giants will not trade Manning, so unless they can convince him to hang up the cleats, I don’t see them getting rid of him or benching him in favor of Foles.
The main reason the Eagles are considering franchise tagging Foles is because they do not want to see him sign and play for the Giants or the next team on this list.
Ah, another divisional rival. The Redskins have not shown as strong an interest in Foles as the Giants have but the team most certainly has a need at quarterback. Last off-season, the team acquired Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs and started off with a strong 6-3 record and looked to have a chance at taking back the NFC East. These plans suddenly crashed when Smith broke his leg and suffered a compound fracture followed by backup Colt McCoy injuring his fibula on Monday Night Football against the Eagles. These injuries lead to the worst possible outcome a fan can ever imagine: Mark Sanchez becoming your starting quarterback.
The need is definitely high for the Redskins, who are expected to not have Smith for the entirety of the 2019 season but I just don’t see the connection. Nick Foles will be 30 years old at the beginning of next season and is seeking a long-term contract while the Redskins have Smith on an extension until 2022 worth $94M with $71M guaranteed. The better option for the Redskins would be to draft someone with either their first or second round picks or simply try to sign a quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater to a 1 year deal.
With Jon Gruden leading the team, you really don’t know what he’s planning. The Raiders have three first round draft picks at 4, 24, and 27 after trading stars Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack. The Raiders already have Derek Carr at quarterback, but his chemistry with Gruden is suspect and Gruden seems to be wishing to enter full rebuild mode, which could mean a change at quarterback.
If the Raiders were to pursue Foles, it would likely mean that they are drafting a rookie who can sit back and develop while Foles starts. This scenario actually makes sense because a-lot of the teams mentioned in this article will certainly have plenty of, if not more interest in Carr versus Foles. Carr is younger and, in my opinion, simply better than Foles.
This scenario seems unlikely if Foles is tagged by the Eagles, however. There is a slim chance that the Raiders would trade away Carr only to acquire Foles on a franchise tag contract.
Changes in coaching staffs almost always leads to personnel changes. The Dolphins recently hired Patriots’ defensive coordinator Brian Flores and after several disappointing and heavily injured seasons, it seems the team may be looking for a new look on offense. The team has been close but unable to reach the playoffs the past couple seasons and it seems a change at quarterback is obvious.
The Dolphins seem like a good fit for Foles as they are a team with some talent and are not necessarily interested in a full re-build like the Raiders. The team does not have Tannehill on a long-term contract and could be able to cut him if they had to do so.
I left the Jaguars last because they are the best fit for Foles.
For starters, they have a HUGE hole at quarterback. Blake Bortles was able to play mediocre enough in 2017 to allow the defense to carry them to the AFC Championship game In 2018, he was benched for the last four games of the season to Cody Kessler, a guy even the Cleveland Browns didn’t even see as part of the future.
The Jaguars are certainly a good team besides their quarterback woes, however.. They have a top 5 defense that while not as strong as it was two seasons ago, is still a top five unit led by Jalen Ramsey. The offense is carried heavily by Leonard Fournette – who was injured much of last season resulting in the Jaguars offensive struggles for a majority of the season. The front office of course is led by Tom Coughlin – who will be aggressively attempting to bring the team back to the Playoffs.
Overall, the mutual interest is there. The Jags will most certainly be willing to give Foles a long-term deal with guaranteed money and an opportunity to start for an NFL team. Among the five teams mentioned, the Jags are also the most talented and have the best chance of making the playoffs with Foles at quarterback.
This is really hard to predict because many are unsure whether the Eagles will simply let Foles walk or if they will franchise tag him. If I had to mske a prediction today, I would predict that they let him walk. It’s a lot of money on his head for the tag and he is not someone that is worth that kind of money.
The team would still get a compensatory pick in the 3rd Round of the Draft in 2020 if they let Foles walk and the team would be able to change their focus towards retaining other players hitting free agency; such as Brandon Graham, Jordan Hicks, and Golden Tate. If the team loses Graham to free agency and possibly Chris Long to retirement, they would be left extremely thin on the defensive line.
My prediction is that the Eagles will let Foles test the market and that he will sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s the best fit and they are the team most likely to offer him a long-term deal. He could very well sign with New York or Washington, but the demand is not as high as it is in Jacksonville. Plus, is our boy really gonna bail on us for a division rival? I can’t see it.