Nick Foles has unique control over his situation, and the Jacksonville Jaguars may have made a coaching hire to help court him.
The Jacksonville Jaguars finalized their 2019 coaching staff on Wednesday, including the hiring of John DeFilippo as offensive coordinator. As they get set part ways with Blake Bortles and with Nick Foles set to be available, bringing in DeFilippo may not have been an accident.
Foles completed a run to Super Bowl MVP last year, with DeFilippo as his quarterbacks coach with the Philadelphia Eagles.
That work got DeFilippo the job as offensive coordinator job for the Minnesota Vikings, but he was fired with three games to go in the season as head coach Mike Zimmer lamented a lack of commitment to the run.
Technically, the Eagles control Foles’ 2019 rights with a $20 million option they have until the essentially week after the Super Bowl, 30 days before start of the league year, to exercise.
But Foles has some unique power, as he can give back his $2 million 2018 signing bonus and become a free agent.
A return to Philadelphia could still happen at that point, but it would be unlikely. The team has remained committed to Carson Wentz as the starting quarterback going forward, while practically saying goodbye to Foles, in the days since their season ended.
The Eagles may do Foles a favor, as a thank you for last year’s Super Bowl run, and just not pick up that $20 million option. But if they do, Foles has the ability to act in his own interest and give up $2 million with an eye on much more than $20 million guaranteed in a multi-year deal.
The first step for the Jaguars is cutting Bortles, and they can spread a $16.5 dead money hit over two years by making him a post-June 1 cut.
But one way or another Bortles will be gone and based on DeFilippo’s hiring, Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL in Jacksonville thinks an “aggressive play” for Foles is coming.
Foles will have plenty of options, however he and the Eagles ultimately part ways. Any lingering stigma attached to the Jaguars is a necessary negative to consider, along with DeFilippo’s lack of experience as a play caller and how dismal things were in Minnesota.
But Foles seems to value things a little differently than a lot of players and pure familiarity with DeFilippo may be enough to bring him to Jacksonville.