This is really the million dollar question.
The only thing I’m 100% certain of is that Nick Foles has earned another opportunity to be the starting quarterback for a team in this league.
There should be a strong market for Foles. Teams are always desperate for quarterbacks, and when looking at Foles’ entire body of work in his career, the only time he’s really struggled has been when he was with Jeff Fisher, a dark cloud of a head coach that just destroys every quarterback he touches.
Considering that the 49ers just gave up a second-rounder for Jimmy Garappollofor for half a season with no immediate long-term commitment, that should be the minimum offer that teams come at the Eagles with.
However, Howie Roseman is sitting in a position of strength when it comes to leveraging trade value from Foles. Roseman, who once told the Vikings that the price for failure of a quarterback Sam Bradford would have to be a premium, got a first and fourth when leveraging the fact that he would be trading his starting quarterback before Opening Day. Now, Roseman can put another “premium” on Foles just for the simple fact that Wentz’s Opening Day availability is in doubt.
However, the reality is that the Eagles may not want to trade Foles at all. I think the Birds are going to get some very tempting offers, but the better option may be just to keep Foles and let him play out his contract, and then potentially franchise him the following offseason to get some kind of value back for him.
The Eagles have so much invested in Carson Wentz. And Wentz has not disappointed, showing such immense promise after just two years. I feel like the Eagles owe it to themselves to take their time with Wentz’s recovery and not rush him back until he’s truly 100%. Having a Super Bowl MVP backup quarterback allows the Eagles to take their sweet time getting Wentz completely healed, so I think the right move here is to keep Foles around.
But at the same time, there’s a third layer here, and that’s what Foles himself wants. After what he accomplished for the team, helping them do something that no Eagles’ squad had ever done before, I feel as though he’s earned a right to decide what his future will be. If he wants to go somewhere else and start with a team committed to building around him, it’s something that Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie should take into consideration.
It’s such a complicated scenario, weighing the health of Wentz, the opportunity to get a king’s ransom for a guy who no one wanted just one year ago, and while also rewarding and honoring the wishes of a guy who has done such incredible things for the organization.
I can’t even begin to guess how this one plays out.
A lot of people have viewed LeGarrette Blount as a one-and-done, stopgap mercenary here for the Eagles.
And it’s very possible that is the case. But I don’t think it’s impossible that Blount comes back.
The Eagles had a great thing going with their three-headed monster rotation between Blount, Jay Ajayi, and Corey Clement. Blount had some stretches where he was ineffective late in the season, but I think he still has juice left in the tank. Also, Blount brings a unique physical element to the offense that the Eagles haven’t had in the past, and likely won’t replace once he’s gone. It’d be great to keep that element on the offense for another year.
The Eagles have some salary cap issues, and Blount will be allowed to hit the open market, but Blount was unable to draw interest last season with a 1,000-yard season and 18 touchdowns with the Patriots, I’d say its unlikely the market is any different for him. Teams go young at the running back position, and there’s not much sense to invest a ton of money in an older guy.
If Blount is still hanging around late in free agency or after the draft, I think there’s at least a chance the Eagles could bring him back on another cheap deal.
As much as Sproles wants to continue his career, it may not be with the Eagles. With Corey Clement emerging as a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, its hard to imagine the Eagles committing a roster spot to an older running back coming off of a serious injury.
Between Sproles and Blount, I’d much rather keep Blount moving forward.
Smith will be released to help the Eagles open up some cap room. He was frustrating in the regular season, but came up big when the team needed him in the playoffs. If the cap wasn’t an issue, I think he might have been brought back, but the Birds need the cap room, and Mack Hollins may be ready for a much larger role on offense in his second year.
I’d love for the Eagles to find a way to keep Burton in the fold, but I don’t think its very likely. He really emerged into a strong compliment to Zach Ertz, but his solid play has probably earned him a bigger payday than the Eagles can afford.
It’s possible Celek retires and ends his great career by going out on top with a Super Bowl Championship, but I can also see him wanting to stick around and continue his career. If he wants to play another season, he’s absolutely going to have to take a paycut. There’s just no way the Eagles can afford his $5 million cap number.
I really do believe that the Eagles had planned to move on from Kelce after this season. Key word being “had”. Releasing Kelce would have created $6 million in cap room, and between the drafting of Isaac Seumalo and the signings of Stefen Wisniewski and Chance Warmack a year ago, signs seemed to be pointing in the direction of a Kelce release. However, Kelce just turned in a tremendous season, and the Eagles couldn’t justify releasing him even if they wanted to. I do think he’s a strong candidate for a contract restructure to gain some salary room.
Curry can be released for a cap gain of $5 million. The Eagles are going to probably have to part with either him or Brandon Graham this off-season; they have so much money tied up on the defensive line, someone is going to have to go, not only to free up cap room, but to free up playing time for Derek Barnett.
Graham, with one year left on his deal, can be released or traded for $7 million in savings. Graham has indicated that he wants a new contract, and after seeing teammates Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan get paid, Graham won’t be taking any hometown discount. As mentioned before, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Graham or Curry’s names come up in trade conversation. Graham has more value than Curry at this point.
Once again, we’re going to enter an offseason where there’s a lot of speculation about whether or not the Eagles will trade Kendricks. If the Eagles can manage to resign Nigel Bradham, than I think this could be the offseason where a Kendricks trade finally happens. If Bradham walks, Kendricks stays.
Bradham is probably the Eagles’ biggest pending unrestricted free agent at the moment. He really stepped up as the team’s signal caller when Jordan Hicks went down for the season, and is a favorite of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
It’s just tough to imagine the Eagles giving him a big deal, but you can’t rule anything out with Howie Roseman. You know Jim Schwartz is going to push hard for Bradham to return.
A great story who played a huge role in the team’s success, but Robinson won’t be back. He’s earned a bigger payday, and with a strong collection of youth in Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, and Sidney Jones, Robinson’s exit is a foregone conclusion.
Allen was a great find as a seventh-round pick, but its time for someone to offer him a decent contract. With Destiny Vaeao and Elijah Qualls waiting in the wings, the Eagles likely move on from Allen.
Was a very solid find as a third safety. The Eagles probably try to go younger here, but a return isn’t out of the question for another Jim Schwartz guy.
Jake Elliott has the kicking job here, he’s young, cheap, and effective.
Dannell Ellerebe/Will Beatty
A pair of veteran mid-season pickups that served their purpose. Eagles will move on from both and get younger.
Solid special teamer who can play all linebacker positions. He’s stuck around on the roster for five years, and might find his way back again.
Barner really didn’t do much with his opportunity as the Eagles’ primary return man. Eagles will want Donnell Pumphrey to step up in his second year, so Barner likely goes back to the NFL scrap heap, though he’s very much a guy that the team will have on speed dial for an emergency.
Special teams ace filled his role after getting the call in mid season. Not a lot of incentive to bring him back, but always available in a pinch.
Eagles declined to tender him as a restricted free agent, likely signaling an end to his time in Philadelphia. Has a little versatility, and can play both safety and corner, but never really improved during the several years he’s been in the league. Lost the third safety role to Corey Graham, who was an August signing, and fell to the bottom of the cornerback depth chart.