Ranking Nick Foles' top nine landing spots after being named Super Bowl LII MVP

The following post, which was published before the Super Bowl, has been updated to include the details from the Eagles' win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

For the first time ever, the Eagles are Super Bowl champions. On Sunday, the Eagles shocked the world by beating the Patriots in an 41-33 epic shootout. Nick Foles vs. Tom Brady might've seemed like an unfair fight heading into the Super Bowl, but Foles -- once again -- wasn't rattled by the moment, throwing for 373 yards, three touchdown passes and even catching a touchdown pass. It was enough for him to earn Super Bowl MVP honors. 

Now, an uncertain but bright future awaits Foles.

Foles only got the Eagles' starting job in December because regular-season MVP candidate Carson Wentz tore his ACL. Wentz will get his job back as soon as he's healthy. But Foles isn't exactly free to leave Philadelphia in search of his own starting gig. Foles will be under contract with the Eagles in 2018 for the cost of just $7.6 million, according to Spotrac. So, if the Eagles decide they want a proven backup quarterback on their roster while Wentz recovers from a serious injury, they can keep him around. But given how Foles lit up the Patriots (and the Vikings in the NFC title game), he might draw significant interest on the trade market.

This is a quarterback driven league without 32 starting-caliber quarterbacks. And this is a quarterback who once threw 27 touchdowns and two picks in a single season. His career passer rating rests at 87.4, which is better than the likes of Ryan Tannehill and Joe Flacco, and he comes at a significantly lower cost.

Most teams can't afford the luxury of having two starting-caliber quarterbacks. The Eagles could decide to sell Foles while his value is at its highest and acquire a decent draft pick in exchange for his services, which could then be used to bolster the team around Wentz. It might make financial sense for the Eagles to keep Foles in the event Wentz needs longer than expected to recover from his torn ACL, but if some quarterback-needy team offers them a moderately high draft pick, it probably makes more sense to sell high on him.

Who could be in the market for Foles's services? I'm glad you asked. Below, you'll find nine teams ranked as most likely to have Foles under contract in Week 1 of the 2018 season. In truth, spots 9-2 blended so closely together while No. 1 stood out as the clear front-runner. So, don't get too worked up about the order of the teams below. None of them -- except the No. 1 team -- should be considered the favorites.

We start with the New Orleans Saints.

9. New Orleans Saints

Why it could happen: Future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Drew Brees is a free agent this offseason and the Saints can't franchise tag him. If the Saints were to lose Brees in free agency, they'd be absolutely lost at quarterback. Chase Daniel isn't the answer. It'll be tough to draft Brees's successor without trading up considering the Saints are slotted to pick 27th. If the Saints could get Foles for cheap, they could try to do what the Eagles accomplished this January: lean on their running game -- which is historically dominant, unlike the Eagles' backfield -- and their top-10 defense, and hope Foles gets hot when they need it most.

Why it won't happen: The Saints and Brees almost definitely aren't breaking up. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora recently predicted that the two sides will agree to a three-year contract:

Brees is the best free agent-to-be out there, regardless of position, by a long shot. A number of teams that believe they are an upgrade at QB away from a Lombardi would have to explore his market. But he is also nearing 40, and the Saints are one of those teams on the cusp of glory. It's just too good of a fit, especially with New Orleans not sitting on a Pat Mahomes-type in its quarterback bullpen. It won't be cheap, and it never is with a QB of this caliber, but there is a strong sense among other GMs in the QB market that Brees is going nowhere. I'm thinking a three-year deal worth a little more than $75 million, with the first two years guaranteed at the time of signing.

Brees sounds like he wants to be back.

And Sean Payton said that Brees is, in fact, returning.

That's why Foles-to-the-Saints almost definitely won't happen.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars

Why it could happen: The Jaguars' quarterback situation is uncertain. Blake Bortles played decent football at times, but it wasn't good enough to get the Jaguars past the Patriots in the AFC title game. Do the Jaguars really trust Bortles to get them over the hump? His cap hit is set at $19 million in 2018, but none of it is guaranteed, which means the Jaguars can dump him if they feel like he won't improve.

Why it won't happen: For one, Bortles probably played well enough down the stretch for the Jaguars to bring him back. In three playoff starts, he threw three touchdowns and no interceptions while posting a 91.0 passer rating. And even if the Jaguars do move on from Bortles, they're more likely to target a different quarterback like Kirk Cousins or Tyrod Taylor. Foles might not be a big enough upgrade for the Jaguars to cut Bortles and then give up something for Foles. 

7. Cleveland Browns

Why it could happen: The Browns still do not have a franchise quarterback. They already tried to acquire Alex Smith via trade. Foles would be their best quarterback since ... oh jeez, he would actually be their best quarterback in the last decade, wouldn't he? Here's the list of the Browns' leading passer in each of the past 10 seasons: 

  1. DeShone Kizer
  2. Cody Kessler
  3. Josh McCown
  4. Brian Hoyer
  5. Jason Campbell
  6. Brandon Weeden
  7. Colt McCoy
  8. Colt McCoy
  9. Brady Quinn
  10. Derek Anderson

That's why Foles could be the Browns' starting quarterback.

Why it won't happen: The Browns own two of the first four picks in this year's draft and will likely use one of those picks on a rookie quarterback while Kizer hangs around for at least one more season.

6. Minnesota Vikings

Why it could happen: The Vikings' quarterback situation is a mess. Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, and Teddy Bridgewater are all scheduled to become free agents. The Vikings just watched Foles tear them apart in the NFC title game. If they lose all three of their quarterbacks or bring back Bridgewater on a cheap, prove-it contract, they could bring in Foles to compete for the starting job.

Why it won't happen: The Vikings will probably find a way to retain Keenum, who outshot his expectations by a significant margin to lead them deep into the playoffs this season. La Canfora predicted that the Vikings will hit him with the transition tag and also bring back Bridgewater:

The season ended with a thud, with Keenum undone amid crumbling pass protection. But with only a practice-squad QB on the roster for 2018 and with a Super Bowl-ish roster and expectations high, the Vikings can't afford to hit March without Keenum's rights secured. Given how late he blossomed, I'm going with the transition tag here, which allows someone else to do a contract for them if the market forms. And it saves a few million bucks off the franchise tag. Maybe they just franchise him. But the way he clicked with all of their skill players was no fluke and when Mike Glennon just made $19 million in the first year of his free-agent deal with the Bears only to lose his job in October, nabbing Keenum for $21 million for one year doesn't seem crazy to me. The Broncos would be the team I would expect to most heavily pursue Keenum if he is allowed to hit the market, but I suspect they end up going in a different direction.

5. Buffalo Bills

Why it could happen: The Bills continually refuse to commit to Tyrod Taylor as their long-term quarterback. In the middle of a playoff race and facing the Chargers on the road, they benched him for fifth-round rookie Nathan Peterman. At the Senior Bowl, coach Sean McDermott refused to comment on the situation.

"I'm not going to get into Tyrod's future," McDermott said, per NewYorkUpstate.com. "Like I mentioned earlier, we're still going through our evaluation. Those decisions will come at some point down the road here."

La Canfora predicted that the Bills will trade Taylor to the Broncos. If they cut Taylor, they'll save nearly $10 million in cap space, according to Spotrac. The Bills also have an extra fifth-round pick that could be used as a trade chip. If the Bills do jettison Taylor, they might be in the market for a rookie quarterback, but they won't make their first selection until No. 21, which makes it difficult to find a quarterback they can play immediately. Trading for one might be their only move at that point.

Why it won't happen: The Bills probably shouldn't be giving up draft ammunition for a quarterback who wouldn't even be an upgrade over Taylor. They have too many holes on their roster to be doing that. At this point, draft picks are more valuable to them than a borderline replacement-level quarterback. 

4. Denver Broncos

Why it could happen: The Broncos don't have a starting quarterback on their roster. It's not Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian. Foles would be their best quarterback by a significant margin.

Why it won't happen: The Broncos, who are coaching at the Senior Bowl, are set up to draft their quarterback of the future at No. 5. If they don't, they appear to be more likely to pursue someone like Kirk Cousins rather than Foles. Broncos players have already expressed their interest in Cousins, with linebacker Brandon Marshall saying he expects GM John Elway to chase a free agent quarterback, while one report said that the Broncos will pursue Cousins. The bottom line is that Elway isn't looking to take a huge chance on another quarterback. He wants a sure thing after the past two seasons. Foles certainly isn't a sure thing.

3. New York Jets 

Why it could happen: Like the Broncos, the Jets don't have a starting quarterback on their roster. Josh McCown is a free agent. Christian Hackenberg is still Christian Hackenberg. Bryce Petty is still Bryce Petty. Furthermore, the Jets actually won too many games (5) for them to be guaranteed the quarterback of their choosing in this year's draft. They're slotted to pick at No. 6. By then, there's a chance the quarterback they want will be off the board. A year ago, they took a flier on McCown and it worked out pretty well. Foles is better and younger than McCown. Why not give him a shot while developing a quarterback behind him? 

Why it won't happen: The Jets will either draft the best remaining quarterback at No. 6 or they'll get Cousins, because they have the money to pursue him. La Canfora wrote that the team he believes "will make the most concerted effort to land Cousins is the Jets" because of their cap space and draft position.

2. Arizona Cardinals

Why it could happen: Carson Palmer retired, which leaves them without a starting quarterback. They also won too many games (8), which means they're not picking until No. 15. That means they're likely not getting one of the top three quarterbacks in this year's draft barring a trade up. The Cardinals are in a weird spot. They just lost their coach and quarterback to retirement, and Larry Fitzgerald could follow them, but they still won eight games. A complete rebuild doesn't make total sense, and they might not want to spend big on Cousins if they'd rather address multiple holes in free agency. Foles figures to be cheaper.

Why it won't happen: Does Foles elevate the Cardinals to the level of a contender? Probably not. The Cardinals reside in the same division as the young, but dominant Rams, the always good Seahawks, and the up-and-coming 49ers. The Cardinals would be better off saving their draft picks and signing someone like McCown or Sam Bradford as a bridge quarterback.

1. Philadelphia Eagles

Why it could happen: This is all about Wentz's recovery. He tore his ACL in December, roughly nine months before the start of the 2018 season. So, Wentz -- a quarterback who relies on his mobility behind the line of scrimmage -- might not be fully healthy in time for the regular season. Just because Adrian Peterson did it doesn't mean Wentz will be able to. 

And the Eagles would be wise to make sure Wentz isn't rushed back. He's 25 years old. His long-term health needs to be his priority. That's why keeping Foles as an insurance plan makes the most sense. He's demonstrated the ability to fill in for Wentz and he's relatively affordable. According to Spotrac, the Eagles are projected to rank 19th in quarterback spending by cap space even if they keep Foles. That's a completely fair and manageable financial commitment. Given Wentz's injury, it's the smartest possible move unless someone is willing to overpay for Foles.

Why it won't happen: Foles just lit up the Patriots and won Super Bowl MVP. That's bound to get his trade market going. If a quarterback-needy team offers the Eagles a high draft pick, they'd be foolish not to take it while they can. By getting a draft pick in return for Foles, they can continue to build a great team around Wentz. They might've won the Super Bowl, but the Patriots did expose some of their weaknesses in the process. If Foles asks to be traded, the Eagles should fulfill his request. He's a Super Bowl hero who just turned 29. This might his final chance to be a starting quarterback again.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

Our Latest Stories