Eagles

Contemplating retirement best thing to happen to Nick Foles

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Contemplating retirement best thing to happen to Nick Foles

It was less than two years ago when Nick Foles thought about retiring from football. He seriously contemplated, at 26, walking away from a game he's played his whole life, a game he loves.

On Sunday, he'll play for the chance to play on football's greatest stage. 

After a disappointing 2015 season with the Rams, Foles was eventually granted his release from the organization on July 27, 2016. Before he signed with the Chiefs on Aug. 3, Foles did some serious soul-searching. 

During that week, he spent time talking to his wife Tori and then he leaned on his Christian faith to come up with his answer. 

"I literally said a prayer," Foles said, "and my heart said go back." 

Foles reunited with Andy Reid, the guy who drafted him in 2012 out of Arizona, and he said that decision made him a better person. After the Chiefs didn't pick up his option last offseason, Foles came back to Philadelphia where his career started and once hit its highest peak. He came back in a different role, obviously, as Carson Wentz's backup. But things happen and ACLs sometimes tear. The Eagles are now relying on Foles as their starting quarterback. 

Now, thanks to his choice to re-find happiness in football, Foles is one win away from playing in the Super Bowl. 

"It wasn't an easy decision," Foles said on Wednesday. "It's not like it was 100 percent, but my faith and my guidance and the way I felt like going into that experience allowed me to grow to make me a better player now because you experience those emotions, you go through that. I mean, it's an emotional thing. It's something I've done my entire life, and to go through that and make that decision, that wasn't easy.

"But I leaned on my wife, I leaned on my family and I leaned on my faith in those moments, and I'm very grateful I made the decision I did and we made it together."

The fact that Foles will start in the NFC Championship Game against his former teammate Case Keenum isn't lost on him. Both have been benched, turned into backups, thrown into the trash heap and now resurrected. 

He said the biggest message to take from it is to never give up on yourself. While Foles almost gave up on football, he never gave up on himself. 

Foles calls the week he spent contemplating his football future the best thing that ever happened to him. He knows he's not the only NFL player who felt that way or questioned whether or not they should walk away. 

"We're professional athletes and we have moments where we step back and we have to think and assess everything in life," Foles said. "Like I have a family, I have a wife, I have a daughter, I have a dog. I have to step back and focus on that because that's so important to me. 

"I'm so fortunate that I have my wife there to talk these things through and in these moments where we're playing for this Championship Game, like you do reflect. A few days ago, you just sit there, and I sat there with my wife and we just talked about how blessed we are to be in this moment.

"But I know where my heart is and my heart was all being in Philly, being with these guys, going out there on the field, like stepping in the huddle and knowing that each guy is playing for each other, that's a special thing and that's been the testament of this season. And you know it's an honor and blessing to be here and play in this game."

Trey Burton denies report questioning his Eagles future

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Trey Burton denies report questioning his Eagles future

Several hours after an NJ.com report surfaced that the Eagles were unlikely to re-sign Trey Burton, the tight end denied it on Twitter.

Replying to a tweet about the report from former Eagles teammate Emmanuel Acho, Burton said he hasn't spoken to anyone.

NJ.com's Matt Lombardo reported Friday that the Eagles made Burton an offer that the soon-to-be-free-agent "didn't consider serious."

"We are fully expecting Trey to sign elsewhere," the source said.

It wouldn't be surprising whatsoever if Burton leaves in free agency. A team will likely pay him starter's money and offer him a chance to start, which he doesn't have here with Zach Ertz firmly entrenched.

The Eagles are over the projected salary cap, and while they could create space in numerous ways, they also have to worry about re-signing key linebacker Nigel Bradham.

6 ways for Eagles to create cap space

6 ways for Eagles to create cap space

The Eagles are coming off a thrilling season but there's a lot of work to be done. 

The NFL's new league year begins on March 14 and the Eagles must be under the salary cap by then. The problem is that based on projections, the Eagles are set to be more than $9 million over the cap, according to OverTheCap. So it's time for some maneuvering. 

The good news is that Howie Roseman's specialty has always been finding unique ways to get the Eagles out of cap trouble. There are ways for him to do it again.

Cut Torrey Smith 
Probably the easiest one. Smith was a great teammate and a solid addition to the Eagles' locker room, and he really stepped up his game in the playoffs, but it's probably not enough to bring him back. He just wasn't good enough last season, and cutting him would save the Eagles $5 million in cap room with no dead money. The Birds still have Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, while Mack Hollins is entering Year 2. 

Cut Brent Celek
This one will hurt, but Celek can take away the sting if he decides to walk away as a champion. He's set to have a cap number of $5 million. That's just way too much for what Celek provides these days. By cutting him, the Eagles would save $4 million in cap space. So just between Smith and Celek, the Eagles will almost get back to zero ... but there's other work to do. They'll still need money to sign free agents and draft picks. 

Extend Brandon Graham 
Graham is entering the final year of his contract with a cap number of $8 million. He wants a new contract and deserves one. Good news: An extension would work for both sides. Graham would get more money long term and the Eagles could get his cap number down this season. 

Rework/cut Vinny Curry
Curry is coming off of probably his best season in the NFL but will have an $11 million cap number. That's tough to swallow, especially with Derek Barnett waiting for his chance to start. It seems likely the Eagles will ask Curry to take a pay cut or rework his deal. If not, cutting him would leave $6 million in dead money but would also save $5 million in cap room. 

Trade Mychal Kendricks
If you remember, Kendricks actually wanted a trade last offseason. Good thing that didn't happen. Kendricks ended up being a big part of the Eagles' success in 2017. Depending on what happens with Nigel Bradham in free agency and with Jordan Hicks' Achilles recovery, trading Kendricks might again be an option. A trade would save $4.4 million in cap space. 

Trade Nick Foles 
This is such a tough one β€” we explore it more here. But basically, Foles is a pretty amazing insurance policy until we know when Carson Wentz is going to be ready. If the Eagles do trade Foles, it would save them $5.2 million that they could certainly use. The problem is that by the time they know Wentz's status, free agency will be long gone and that cap space won't help this year. But it could help in 2019.