The Jaguars knew they needed to make a change at quarterback this offseason, but spending big on Nick Foles instead of trading for RGIII was a mistake.
In a vacuum it’s very obvious that Nick Foles is a better NFL quarterback than Robert Griffin III. The Jacksonville Jaguars weren’t making that decision in a vacuum, though. The drastic cost difference between acquiring the two signal callers should have resulted in Jacksonville going with RGIII.
According to the Ravens backup, the Jaguars tried to trade for him on two separate occasions last season. That caused Griffin to keep his eyes on Jacksonville in free agency, but he knew his chances of becoming a starting quarterback there ended when Foles signed his mega contract to take over for Blake Bortles.
Foles only carries a cap hit of $12 million this season but that number jumps up quickly to over $22 million in 2020 before escalating above $26 million in 2021. The way the contract is structured effectively ties the Jaguars to Foles through at least that 2021 season.
Predictably, Griffin’s contract is tiny compared to the former Super Bowl MVP. His two-year deal with the Ravens will pay him $1 million this season before he cashes in for a grand total of $2 million in 2020.
The calculation the Jaguars should have been making is whether or not Foles will provide their franchise over $35 million dollars more value than Griffin over the next two seasons. That’s where the decision between the two quarterbacks becomes a lot more interesting. There’s a very logical argument to be made that Jacksonville should have signed Griffin instead of Foles.
Obviously, that would have given the Jaguars a lot more cap space to work with this offseason. Presumably, that would have put the team into the market for a top-notch edge rusher or playmaking wide receiver. Now Jacksonville will be forced to try to fill both holes in the upcoming draft.
Speaking of the draft, the Jaguars would still have been in a great position to find their quarterback of the future at No. 7. Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins will probably be gone by then, but selecting Drew Lock would have given Jacksonville a quarterback with a higher ceiling than Foles.
The Jaguars front office would naturally make the argument that given the horrific play of Bortles in recent years they needed to overspend to make sure they get a minimum of average production at the position in 2019. That’s a logical opinion, but it’s also the type of thinking that keeps teams trapped in NFL purgatory. Building a legitimate Super Bowl contender requires front offices to take the long view. Signing Foles over Griffin wasn’t that kind of thinking. It’s a decision the Jaguars will regret in the future.