Philadelphia Eagles: Navigating the departure of Nick Foles

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Philadelphia Sports
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The Eagles apply the franchise tag, and Nick Foles accepts

In the Eagles ideal world, this is what happens.

Signing the franchise tag would guarantee Foles makes $25 million for the upcoming season. The rule, in part, serves as a way for teams to retain a pending free agent in order to work on a long-term contract extension. The Eagles would not be applying the tag for this reason, but it would give any team acquiring Foles an opportunity to renegotiate a contract extension, which would have to be completed by July 15.

The team acquiring him would have exclusive rights to his services for one year, at a minimum.

Why this works for the Eagles:

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For one thing, it alleviates any potential drama. The Eagles can shop Foles around to interested teams come March 13, and complete any trade of their liking. It gives them total control. If the Eagles wanted to keep Foles away from any particular team, like say the Redskins or Giants, they could.

There is an element of risk involved, though.

With Foles signing the franchise tag, he is a member of the Eagles (until any subsequent move), and the team must honor the $25 million cap hit incurred. At this point of the offseason, the Eagles are already an estimated $7 million over the cap (according to Spotrac). So, if Foles is to return – even if only temporarily – the team will have to undergo significant salary cap restructuring including the possibility of significant players getting cut.

On the flip side, this is the first offseason where Carson Wentz is eligible to sign a contract extension with the team. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has likely been planning for this since drafting Wentz, and the team would need to free up cap space in order to ink their franchise QB anyway.

Is it possible that Roseman could take the freed up cap space initially reserved for Wentz, and use it to keep Foles while actively seeking a trade? It certainly makes sense. Once Foles is traded, the Eagles and Wentz could agree on an extension.

Wentz is the present and future quarterback of the Eagles and is going to get paid, but it may just have to wait a few months.

Reasons for concern:

With Foles signing the franchise tag, the Eagles lose some degree of leverage. The Eagles want to officially hand the reigns over to Wentz so he can compete and play without looking over his shoulder to a Super Bowl MVP lurking in the wings. Teams around the league know this, and they know the Eagles don’t ultimately want to invest in Foles.

As mentioned before, the Eagles would likely receive a third-round compensatory pick for Foles if they decided to simply let him walk in free agency. By placing a tag and with Foles signing, the Eagles risk receiving less of a return if the trade market evaporates.

Roseman must gauge the market properly, or the Eagles will either be forced to keep Foles one more year or accept a less-than-stellar return.