Eagles prepared to keep Nick Foles from hitting free agency

Philadelphia Eagles

Nick Foles will be among the top quarterbacks available this offseason, but the Philadelphia Eagles are ready to put all their barriers in his way.

Just about a year ago, Nick Foles was coming off winning Super Bowl MVP. That would’ve been the peak of his value, but with Carson Wentz coming back from a torn ACL keeping him was a good idea and Foles started the first two games this season as well as a few more at the end, right into the playoffs.

The Eagles have a $20 million option on Foles for next season, and on Saturday Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the team is expected to pick up that option. Foles can then give back a $2 million signing bonus, and effectively buy his way into free agency. Then the ball goes back to the Eagles’ court, with one last option to try to extract value from Foles.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Eagles plan to use their franchise tag on Foles in an effort to trade him. The price is expected to be a third-round pick, as Schefter added teams have already inquired about a deal for the Super Bowl LII MVP.

Foles stands toward, if not at, the top of a thin group of available quarterbacks this offseason. That puts him in position to get a nice multi-year deal in free agency, and also puts the Eagles in position to get better value for him in a trade than they otherwise might.

Of course Foles could wait to sign the franchise tender, thus tying up the Eagles’ financially as he knows there’s no path to a long-term deal in Philadelphia. The team may then be forced to rescind the tag, and set him free anyway. It’s rare for a franchise tag to be rescinded, with the most notable case the Carolina Panthers doing it with cornerback Josh Norman in 2016.

The Eagles are committed to Wentz as their quarterback, as they should be, and letting Foles go is a necessary part of that equation. But the team is not offering a good look now that it’s out there they’ll use all of their options (and install all the possible barriers) to keep Foles from maximizing his own value, in an effort to get the extra coin-flip proposition of a mid-round draft pick who might stick.

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