It has been decided. At Tuesday’s post-season press conference, Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson said, “Carson [Wentz] is the quarterback going forward.”
So, where does that leave backup quarterback Nick Foles? A player who is beloved by his teammates, Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia.
“In an ideal world, the Eagles would pick up the option year on Foles’ contract and head into next season with the Wentz/Foles starter and backup combination that has worked out so well the past two seasons,” said Maxcy.
But it’s not an ideal world. Because of the NFL’s salary cap policy that limits the total payroll expense for all teams, keeping Foles would put the Eagles over the cap for next year. Foles’ contract option requires that he gets paid $20 million next year, which would amount to more than 10 percent of the team’s cap allowance, according to Maxcy. Without the cap space, the Eagles face tough personnel decisions and less flexibility for making moves in the offseason free-agent and trade markets.
As Pederson mentioned on Tuesday, “It’s not about one player, it’s about the team.” The Eagles have a long list of players who are due to become free agents in the offseason and they’ll have to make moves to fill valuable roles. Maxcy explains these roles will be filled by players whose salaries range from $1 to $7 million. Five to six, or more, quality players could be paid for the same cost of Foles, a backup quarterback who is not guaranteed to play a game next season. Freeing up salary cap space taken by Foles’ contract allows the Eagles more options in putting together next year’s roster.
One more thing to consider is that Foles is a young player (he turns 30 this month), who is talented and respected by teammates, Maxcy points out. He’ll want to explore offers from teams where he can be the starting quarterback. Foles himself mentioned after Sunday’s loss, he loves being able to lead a team. Many take it as a hint that he is exploring his options.
Despite Foles being a talented player and a fan-favorite, Maxcy predicts the Eagles will decline the option on his contract and he’ll become a free agent.
“The bottom line is that roster decisions are business decisions in a league where winning is very valuable,” adds Maxcy. “I expect Eagles management will do everything they can in making roster decisions that maintain the current level of success.”
Media interested in an interview with Joel Maxcy, should contact Annie Korp at 215-571-4244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.