The Nick Foles experiment with the Jacksonville Jaguars appears to be over. Jacksonville is ready to move on from the massive contract it gave Foles and go with Gardner Minshew as its starting quarterback, with an ESPN report stating the Jaguars, ideally, would like to find a trade partner for Foles rather than outright releasing the former Super Bowl MVP. Moving Foles will be difficult for Jacksonville, considering he has three years and $75.7 million remaining on a four-year, $88 million contract the Jaguars gave him last offseason. Jacksonville benched Foles for Minshew in the second half of last season (after Foles missed nine games with a broken collarbone), as Foles threw just 109 pass attempts before being replaced by the 2019 sixth-round draft pick. But it won't be impossible and considering the need for improved quarterback play across the league, Foles' trade market could heat up shortly after the start of the new league year.
Foles finished his first season in Jacksonville completing 65.8% of his passes for 736 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for an 84.6 passer rating, with the Jaguars going 0-4 in his four starts. However, the Jaguars didn't exactly set Foles up for success by call for a pass-happy offense in the 10 quarters after he returned from a broken collarbone. Jacksonville threw the ball 114 times and ran it just 45 times, a pass-run ratio of 71.7%. That high ratio didn't help Foles, who had three interceptions and fumbled the ball twice during that stretch, throwing just two touchdowns as the Jaguars averaged just 11 points per game in those three starts.
A Super Bowl MVP with the Philadelphia Eagles, Foles has been below average outside of Philadelphia, sporting just a 5-11 record and completing just 59.5% of his passes for 3,198 yards, 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for a 76.6 passer rating. He compiled those numbers with three different teams (Jaguars, St. Louis Rams, and Kansas City Chiefs).
In his eight seasons, Foles has completed 61.9% of his passes for 11,901 yards, 71 touchdowns, 35 interceptions, and an 88.2 passer rating. He has a career record of 26-22. In the postseason, Foles has completed 68.1% of his passes for 1,633 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions for a 98.8 passer rating, the seventh-highest in NFL history. He's won a Super Bowl MVP after completing 72.6% of his passes for 971 yards, six touchdowns, an interception and a 115.7 passer rating during the 2017 postseason with the Eagles.
Despite being 31 years old with a massive contract, Foles does have some value as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Whether he is a bridge starter until a high draft pick is ready to take over the reins or a stop-gap for a season or two, there are teams that could use Foles as their quarterback for 2020 (and possibly beyond). Foles has the starting experience and postseason pedigree teams covet, which one poor season with the Jaguars isn't going to eliminate.
The same rationale the Jaguars had when they signed Foles last offseason could apply to another team who feels just a quarterback away from making postseason run.
Below, we break down the teams that should make a run at Foles if the Jaguars are going to trade him. Jacksonville will have to pay a large portion of Foles's salary or give up a draft pick to get rid of his contract, but teams will be interested in a former Super Bowl MVP and proven starter in this league.
The Colts would be an excellent match for Foles given that Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich was the offensive coordinator for Philadelphia when Foles led the Eagles to Super Bowl glory. Foles has plenty of familiarity with Reich's system and can even utilize the run-pass option to his strength, which can work with a proven running back like Marlin Mack in the fold.
Indianapolis has the cap space to take on Foles (projected $86.2 million*) and more than enough room available to give him the roster he needs to be successful. The Colts still have T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle as their top pass catchers, but will need to add a few more receivers to aid Foles. Having a strong offensive line will also help Foles succeed in Indianapolis and that's something he didn't have in Jacksonville.
Would the Jaguars actually trade Foles within the division? Jacksonville would need to pay a large portion of Foles's salary and Indianapolis may command a draft pick if the Colts choose to take on the entire contract. If the Colts strike out on Philip Rivers, Foles may be the next option to upgrade at quarterback.
If Tom Brady does decide to leave the Patriots, will New England actually roll into 2020 with Jarrett Stidham as its starting quarterback? That may not be a risk a team that is constantly in the Super Bowl conversation every season may be willing to take.
Why shouldn't Bill Belichick take on the quarterback that beat him in Super Bowl LII, especially given how good Foles has been in the postseason? New England has the cap space ($41.7 million) to trade for Foles and an offensive coordinator (Josh McDaniels) that can use Foles's ability to stretch the field via the deep ball, something the Patriots have been lacking the past two seasons.
What could hinder Foles in New England is the lack of playmakers on offense. Julian Edelman was forced to play outside because the Patriots lacked any reliable outside receivers and New England's leading tight end was 39-year old Ben Watson (17 catches, 173 yards). The Patriots need to add pass catchers this offseason, which is one of the reasons Brady may leave New England in the first place.
Foles would, at the very least, be a stopgap quarterback in case the Patriots feel Stidham isn't ready. New England doesn't appear set for a rebuild with Belichick at the helm. Foles has enough years left, along with a postseason pedigree, to give the Patriots another run at a Super Bowl. New England just has to get the right pieces around him.
The Bears are looking for a veteran quarterback to challenge Mitchell Trubisky this offseason. There isn't a better option that can get the best out of Trubisky, and provide a legitimate challenge for him, than Foles. There is familiarity with Foles and Bears head coach Matt Nagy, who was the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator the year Foles was with the Chiefs (2016). Nagy is brought some variations of the Chiefs offense with him to Chicago -- the same concepts Foles succeeded with in Kansas City and Philadelphia.
Foles may be too pricey for the Bears (who have just $16.3 million in projected cap space), so the Jaguars would have to pay a significant chunk of his salary for a trade to even be possible. The Bears can find a cheaper backup quarterback option in free agency, but only Joe Flacco has the pedigree and success Foles has generated in the NFL.
Not only will Foles challenge Trubisky, but his leadership qualities will rub off on the former first-round pick. Trading for Foles would be a win-win situation for Chicago, either he gets the best out of Trubisky or the Bears move on and use Foles as a stopgap for their next quarterback. Maybe Foles even takes the Bears back into Super Bowl contention, especially since Chicago has a dominant defense to lean back on.
Why would Carolina save a ton of cap space (projected $34 million as of right now) by trading or releasing Cam Newton and take on even more money for three years of Foles? The Panthers are in a rebuild and Foles could be a solid stopgap quarterback in case they draft a signal caller in the first round and don't want him to start Week 1 with a young roster.
Carolina has weapons in Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore that can help Foles succeed immediately with the Panthers, who could demand Jacksonville pay the majority of his salary and rework a deal that won't tie the franchise down with him for the next three years. Foles could also have a one-year stay in Carolina, as the Panthers can release him after the 2020 season and save $14.375 million in cap space in 2021. They may even get a draft pick out of Jacksonville for getting the Jaguars out of Foles' hefty contract.
Tampa Bay seems to be linked to every major quarterback on the free agent market, but what if the Bucs strike out on Tom Brady and Philip Rivers? The Buccaneers don't seem too excited about bringing back Jameis Winston either. What if Bruce Arians decides to take a chance on Foles? Arians' offense is based on utilizing the vertical passing game and Foles -- all knocks aside -- is an accurate deep-ball passer.
There's plenty of weapons in Tampa's offense (Mike Evans, Chris Godwin) for Foles to succeed and the Buccaneers have plenty of cap space (projected $79.9 million) to add more players to the roster. For all of Foles's faults (six lost fumbles (12 total), eight interceptions in his last 413 attempts), he still has a better turnover rate than Winston (30 interceptions, six lost fumbles (12 total)) in 626 attempts. Winston turns the ball over 5.75% of the time compared to Foles' 3.38% turnover rate.
Foles is certainly a cheaper option ($21,837,500) than Winston if he was franchise tagged ($26,895,000), or any deal Winston makes if a team decides to make him their starting quarterback. Trading for Foles is a fallback option if the Buccaneers can't land either of the quarterbacks they are seeking in free agency (and really just want to move on from Winston).
This is a long shot, especially since Denver already has a quarterback they like in Drew Lock. However, Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway opened Pandora's Box when he said Denver would be open to talking to Tom Brady in free agency, so why wouldn't the Broncos talk to other quarterbacks?
Foles would provide veteran competition to Lock and his familiarity with the offense would be beneficial to Denver. New Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was Foles's offensive coordinator with the Eagles in 2013 and 2014.
If Lock gets injured or struggles, Denver would have Foles as insurance. His leadership would also help an already strong Broncos locker room as Denver can compete for a postseason berth in 2020. Denver has a projected $57.4 million in cap space, so there's plenty of room to absorb Foles's contract.
7. Philadelphia Eagles
Not a chance.
Foles has a statue outside of Lincoln Financial Field and is a legend in the city. That era is over.