Did Howie Roseman Overplay His Hand with Nick Foles?
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - From an emotional standpoint, it's not difficult to understand why Nick Foles remains a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
At least some logic isn't far behind because Carson Wentz will not be around for on-field work in the offseason.
That said, the more educated observers of the Eagles realize continuing to carry Foles has little to do with the superlative performances of the Eagles' backup quarterback in either NFC Championship Game or Super Bowl LII.
Foles remains a member of the Eagles in good standing because of the rare QB market that was flush with at least competent options, which will now be supplemented by a 2018 draft class atypically deep with first-round talents.
With no desperation to prey upon, Howie Roseman simply couldn't get what he wanted for Foles in March but that doesn't mean the open-for-business sign has been taken down at One NovaCare Way.
"We're in the business of making sure we get the right value for the player," Roseman explained at the NFL's annual meeting in Orlando late last month. "What our value is for the player is going to stick. We make those decisions before we get into the time period where you can make moves, not just on Nick but on other players on the team."
Roseman wants what has been described as a Sam Bradford-like haul for Foles, a reference to the steep price the Minnesota Vikings paid for the former Eagles starter -- first- and fourth-round picks -- once Teddy Bridgewater went down 11 days before the start of the 2016 regular season.
Those thinking a similar environment could transpire in August again are simplifying things, however.
It's at least possible the missing ingredients now -- that lack of desperation from the suitors because of the multitude of options available to them -- could transpire but you need far more than that.
What happened in 2016 with the Vikings is best described as a perfect storm, an organization which believed it was a significant contender, had no confidence in the backup (long-time journeyman Shaun Hill) and was unwilling to give up on a season.
In other words, even if lightning strikes twice and another team suffers a major injury at the position in the summer, it's also got to be the right team, not a poor organization or even one that projects to win eight to 10 games because those types are far more likely to take the short-term hit in an effort to garner the higher draft pick in 2019.
Roseman has proven to be a magician in the past and it always only takes one to overpay but for the Eagles to get what they want for Foles would be like lightning striking three times in the same spot.
For that reason, Doug Pederson admitted to ESPN that it's "safe to say" Foles is likely returning for another season as Wentz's backup.
“I’m excited to have him, I’m ecstatic,” Pederson said. “It’s a great room, great dynamic, and I’m excited that we still have all three guys [along with Nate Sudfeld]. It’s still a very good room.”
So Foles will lead the team throughout the offseason and into training camp but as soon as Wentz is medically cleared from the torn ACL and LCK he suffered against the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 10, it defaults to Wentz's team.
“I know Nick and his mentality, and I think he is fine with that,” Pederson said. “I think he is fine. He understands it’s Carson’s team. He knew that last year, but he did embrace his role, obviously, and did it superbly. But moving forward, I think he is going to be OK.”
And all of that means Roseman may have overplayed his hand with Foles.
Remember NFL personnel people aren't fans and they certainly aren't watching Super Bowl LII highlights on a loop. They are also mindful of the film against Oakland and Dallas as well as Foles' poor stint with the Rams. The consensus around the league is that Foles is a starter but a bottom-third starter in the league.
The Eagles also realize that while Foles proved to be a Mariano Rivera-level closer in the 2017 postseason, he's the guy who needs to be handed the two-run lead late, not the player who's going to do the heavy lifting to get it. The odds of Wentz tearing it up again for 13 or 14 games only to need Foles to finish is even less likely than the Bridgewater catastrophe.
From Roseman's perspective, he stills has a valuable card and can afford it because Wentz remains on his rookie deal so the trick is to maximize it. His leverage is gone by next year.
“We know what we have,” Roseman said. “And that allows us the ability to feel very good about the most important position in sports. For us to give up something like that, that’s going to be a high price tag.
"High" doesn't necessarily have to mean a first-round pick as reality sets in, namely the lack of second- and third-round picks in the draft later this month.
Those who make the comparisons with the Bradford deal also miss another key aspect in that the plan was to start the former No. 1 overall pick in 2016 and allow Wentz to have a redshirt season, one which only sped up when Philadelphia was bowled over. In this case, the plan -- as it is for any backup -- is for Foles to serve in mop-up duty unless disaster strikes.
So what if the phone rings on April 27 and say a future third-round pick is added to the second-round selection Philadelphia was offered before the dominos began to fall?
"We're going to do what's in the best interests of the Eagles," Roseman admitted. "I don't want it to be just about Nick, but anything that can make us better at any time of the year we have to look at it."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen