Eagles

Nick Foles is in a tricky position

usa-carson-wentz-nick-foles-eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

Nick Foles is in a tricky position

Doug Pederson says this is Nick Foles' team now.

Not so fast, says Foles.

"I feel like the confidence level (is there), absolutely," Foles said. "But this is Carson's team."

Foles is in an interesting position and it can be a little bit tricky. He feels like he needs to defer to Carson Wentz, his teammate and close friend when it comes to the big picture. He knows Wentz will be back behind center next year as soon as he's healthy.

But he also understands he has to assert himself as the leader of a playoff-bound football team.

"Now, I get like, 'Oh wait, you're the guy,' and all that, but that's just how I am," Foles said. "I respect Carson Wentz. I love that guy. I work with him every day and I'm going to give him his respect because he is this franchise's quarterback.

"My job right now is to be the starting quarterback, to lead the guys on the field and I'm going to do that. I've been here, I've done that. I know what it entails, I know the responsibility.

"But this is Carson Wentz's team and I respect him too much to make that statement. … Doesn't change my mentality. My mentality when I step on the field is, 'Let's roll.'

"I don't need to be named the starting quarterback. I'm going to go play and help my team win and be aggressive and be the player I've always been."

Foles threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions in his first start in 14 months Sunday, leading the Eagles past the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

He'll make his second career playoff start next month in the conference semifinals at the Linc.

So it's a tricky balance. Foles knows he needs to show a tremendous amount of leadership in the huddle, in meetings, on the field. But he still thinks of this as Wentz's team.

"When you're in a position like I am, where you're the backup quarterback and you're out on the field and you're leading the guys, I'm myself," Foles said.

"I'm not changing. You just become more vocal and you have more responsibility and people look to you more because you're the one that's throwing the football.

"I understand the different roles. Carson is still the leader, he's still here, but right now he's in a different role. But we're all doing this together. It's just a different role.

"It's a crazy sport and things happen fast."

Sunday was a very important day for Foles, who other than a brief appearance at the end of the Rams game a week earlier had never played with guys like Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Torrey Smith.

Part of becoming this team's leader is proving you belong. Foles did that Sunday.

"The only way you do that is in the huddle in a game," he said. "You can practice as much as you want, but when the lights turn on and you're on the field, people can change.

"So you're never really sure until you experience it and go through adversity on the field, you're in the huddle, you see a guy get hit, you see a guy make a play and then that 'ah-hah' moment of 'this guy can do it.'

"And then it's just the relationship. You go through a game, you build camaraderie, you make plays together, you fight together. That's big."

Wentz has been around this past week. Not all day, but he's around for rehab every morning and Foles said he's popped into meetings and is always a big part of everything the other quarterbacks do.

"He's very much still involved," Foles said. "He loves this team, he's the leader of this team, he's the quarterback of this franchise, and he's going to be around.

"He's a huge presence and he's a huge reason why we're in this position."

Forget empty Day 2 of draft, Eagles hoping to find gold in Day 3

us-kelce.jpg
USA Today Images

Forget empty Day 2 of draft, Eagles hoping to find gold in Day 3

The Eagles are scheduled to have a pretty boring Day 2 of the draft this year. Because after they pick at No. 32, they don’t have another selection until the 31st pick of the fourth round. 

That means 98 players will be taken between the Eagles’ first and second picks. And they’ll have to watch other teams pick that entire Friday (Rounds 2-3) without them … unless they make a move. 

“We’re not looking at it like we’re sitting out on Friday,” Eagles de facto GM Howie Roseman said. “We’re going through our draft process looking at every scenario. When we get to Friday, we get to Friday.” 

Even if the Eagles don’t make a move, they’ll be plenty busy on Saturday, the final day of the draft. They have two fourth-round picks and one pick in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. 

Eagles personnel head Joe Douglas showed up to his media availability with a stat ready to go to illustrate the importance of Day 3. 

“We’re excited that we have five picks on Saturday,” Douglas said. “When you look at the Super Bowl, there’s 22 starters that were third-round picks or lower. Of those 22, 18 of them were fourth-round picks or lower. So 18 starters in the Super Bowl this year were fourth-round picks or lower, including six of them that were undrafted free agents. We choose to keep the glass half full.” 

Douglas is right on all those stats — 22 of 44 starters in the Super Bowl were drafted in the third or lower and 18 of them would be considered Day 3 picks. Not bad. 

Here’s how the Super Bowl starters broke down by round: 1-10, 2-12, 3-4, 4-4, 5-3, 6-3, 7-2, UDFA-6. 

The Eagles accounted for seven of the 18 players who were drafted in the fourth round or later, so the Patriots were the ones who found even more value late in drafts. And of those seven, just three were original Eagles — Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Jason Kelce and Jalen Mills. 

Of the six undrafted players who started in the Super Bowl, two were from the Eagles — LeGarrette Blount and Rodney McLeod. Neither was an original Eagle, but the Birds also relied heavily on running back Corey Clement, who was an undrafted rookie last season. 

With a dearth of high draft picks, it would make sense if the Eagles attack the undrafted market following the draft, but Douglas thinks it won’t be as easy as many might think. 

“You would think because we’re coming off a Super Bowl, we don’t have a second or third round pick that it would be a lot easier after the draft,” Douglas said. “But my experience coming off a Super Bowl, it’s sometimes harder to get guys to commit to your roster because agents and players have a perceived notion that it’s going to be that much tougher to make the team. I think that’s going to be a challenge. I think that’s going to be a challenge for us and we know it and we’re going to attack it.”

The Eagles in recent years have shown a willingness to pony up significant money to entice undrafted players to sign with them and if Douglas is right, they might need to do it again to land some this year. 

Either way, the Eagles know how important Day 3 and beyond can be. So when they’re bored on Day 2, they don’t plan on losing focus. 

Eagles reward Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles with reworked contract

usa-nick-foles-celebrate.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles reward Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles with reworked contract

The Eagles gave Nick Foles a little raise on Friday, reworking the Super Bowl MVP’s contract, a league source confirmed. 

Basically, the Eagles are rewarding Foles after he helped the franchise win its first-ever Super Bowl a few months ago. 

Foles, 29, is still entering the final year of his contract with the Eagles, but the new deal also includes a mutual option for the 2019 season, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. The mutual option will still allow Foles the possibility to test the free agent market next season, but could leave the door open to a possible return beyond this upcoming season. 

Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport from NFL Network first reported the revised contract, which includes a $2 million signing bonus and “several millions in incentives if he’s the starter and hits various benchmarks,” according to Rapoport. 

That part makes a ton of sense. If for some reason Carson Wentz isn’t ready to play in 2018 or if he goes down again, Foles will have a chance to earn what might be closer to starter money. 

Foles was set to earn a base salary of $4 million in 2018, with a salary cap hit of $7.6 million on the contract before Friday’s renegotiation. 

Wentz and Foles grew very close last season — third-string QB Nate Sudfeld too — and have both been very selfless in a situation that would be awkward for many others in the league. But both have been incredibly selfless throughout the entire process. Just this week, Wentz admitted he had to fight jealousy but was truly happy for his teammate and friend, who became the Super Bowl hero (see story)

Earlier on Friday, Foles tweeted out this photo with his wife and daughter from the NovaCare Complex. That’s a $2 million smile.