Carson Wentz

What would it even take to make a Nick Foles trade worthwhile?

What would it even take to make a Nick Foles trade worthwhile?

Believe it or not, there are a few negatives when it comes to winning a Super Bowl. One is having your assistant coaches poached from your talons. And the feeding frenzy is well in effect for the Eagles as they have already lost their offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. It happens.

The other slight downside is where you will be selecting in the draft.

The Eagles hold the 32nd overall pick (last) in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft. That’s the price of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and having Mayor Kelce be the keynote speaker at the parade. Where this gets a little more worrisome is the fact that the Birds do not own a second-round pick. That went to Cleveland as part of the Carson Wentz deal — a trade-off I think any Eagle fan would take. Oh, by the way, they also don’t have a third-rounder. That went to Buffalo in the Ronald Darby trade.

So if you’re scoring at home, that’s the last pick in the first round and nothing again until the fourth? Not exactly ideal. However, they do have a “backup” quarterback who led them to a championship and won Super Bowl MVP. He will never have more value than he does right now. Let’s make a deal you say? I wouldn’t be so quick to pull that trigger.

Wentz tore his ACL and injured his LCL on Dec. 10. The Eagles' first regular-season game projects to be right around nine months from the injury. That’s assuming no setbacks. It could also mean a compromised football workload while he rehabs the knee — OTAs, the early portion of training camp, etc. There is no doubt Wentz will go above and beyond when it comes to making it back for the start of next season. But sometimes the mind will lose out to the body. There is no guarantee he will be ready to start the season. Wentz also plays a very aggressive style of football. I, for one, have no problem with the way he plays. I thought he did a good job for the most part of avoiding the unnecessary big blows. The play he got hurt on was a good football play, trying to score a touchdown. But because of his athleticism and strength, he is going to get hit more than most QBs.

Even taking Wentz's knee injury out of the equation for a moment, ask yourself how many backups in the NFL could have stepped in and accomplished what Nick Foles did during that magical run? I did and the answer was none. He’s the best backup in the league. Foles went toe-to-toe with the G.O.A.T. and The Hoodie on the biggest stage and dropped 41. Truly remarkable. Is a late first- or second-rounder worth that?

There is no doubt that if say, the Cardinals, offered you the 15th overall pick, that could be a game-changer. There are offers that are too good to refuse. But a mid-second-rounder for the value that Foles gives you? The smart play could be to hold on to the known quantity. The NFL is littered with backups who can’t play. The types of guys who bring an end to your season no matter how good you are in other areas. Howie Roseman has shown himself to be very deft at making deals and acquiring draft picks, so the cupboard may be thin right now, but some groceries could be added with some wheeling and dealing.  

The Eagles have the ultimate insurance policy. It might be wise to keep making the payments just in case.

Eagles' championship offers a strong life lesson

Eagles' championship offers a strong life lesson

I still remember pretty vividly the first day most people thought the Eagles were dead. It was a Tuesday morning, the day after the Eagles' 34-24 win over Washington at home on Monday Night Football. 

Sure, the Eagles had moved to 6-1 on the season but after already losing Chris Maragos and Darren Sproles, they suffered two even bigger blows. Middle linebacker Jordan Hicks and left tackle Jason Peters, who were both carted off against Washington, were done for the season. 

"We still have a lot of football left," Doug Pederson said on Oct. 24. "We still have a game this Sunday and the season's not over." 

Of course, Pederson ended up being right. The Eagles weren't dead. They continued to win, continued to get stronger. But he had to rally his team again a couple months later when it lost Carson Wentz to a torn ACL. 

Again, a lot of people thought the Eagles were dead. They weren't.

No matter how it happened, the Eagles' first Super Bowl championship was going to be something memorable. But looking back at it, the way they won it made it even more special. The fact that they overcame multiple losses that would have killed most teams makes it incredible. 

Owner Jeff Lurie realized it too. 

And in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, Lurie actually agreed that it would be special to win a championship with this specific team. 

"It would," he said at Super Bowl media night, six days before Super Bowl LII. "It would mean everything to win no matter what. But to win this way, I just think it would be a great message to the world that it's not always on paper. You can overcome so much and succeed in life. 

"This is the most resilient group of human beings I've ever watched or been a part of. I feel like that's a quality that really is incredible to have." 

As hokey as it sounds, Lurie's insight is worth remembering. What the Eagles overcame leaves a pretty incredible message of resilience. 

Of course, this all gets back to the underdog mentality and the masks and Jason Kelce's impassioned speech on the steps of the art museum. The Eagles used the idea that others were counting them out as fuel. They relished in the idea of doing something most deemed impossible. Maybe that made it all possible. 

But thinking about the talent they had on the sideline during Super Bowl LII — Sproles, Maragos, Peters, Hicks and Wentz — it's hard to not come away impressed that a team missing that many key players was able to take down one of the most impressive dynasties in NFL history. 

The fact that the Eagles were able to do it without those players probably has them thinking about getting those guys back for another run next year. That seems pretty possible; they'll get most of them back. 

But this specific team grew incredibly close and it's not hard to figure out why. Aside from natural chemistry, there's something about going through adversity that helps people grow closer. This team will never be the same, as many players began to note toward the end of the season. Some players will leave, while new guys will infiltrate the locker room. 

At least once they get those Super Bowl rings, they'll have them forever. And every time they look down and see it shining back at them, it'll serve as a reminder. The same reminder Eagles fans will get every time they think about their Super Bowl-winning team: It's possible to overcome so much. And if you do, the reward will be even sweeter.

Eagles can afford both Nick Foles and Carson Wentz

Eagles can afford both Nick Foles and Carson Wentz

Finally world champions, the Eagles find themselves in the world’s most enviable predicament: What to do with the MVP of the Super Bowl?

Doug Pederson squashed any notion of a quarterback controversy postgame. As long as he’s healthy, the job belongs to 25-year-old All-Pro Carson Wentz.

“I told him that hopefully, we'll be back in this game with him leading the way,” Pederson said.

That means Nick Foles — the man who guided the Eagles through the playoffs and over the Patriots in the Super Bowl — becomes trade bait this offseason. At least, that’s the natural conclusion to draw.

There is another option. Theoretically, the Eagles can also hold on to both Wentz and Foles for 2018.

From a purely financial standpoint, it’s a viable plan. Between the two of them, Wentz and Foles are scheduled to make less than $15 million in salary cap terms in '18. That figure would easily land the Eagles in the bottom half of the NFL for quarterback spending.

The Eagles currently rank 21st in cap space allocated to quarterbacks after new contracts around the league for Jimmy Garoppolo and Alex Smith (pending). Enormous paydays are anticipated for free-agents Kirk Cousins and Drew Brees as well.

Though reports indicate Wentz could be recovered from a torn ACL in time to play Week 1, that’s far from a certainty. Even if he is 100 percent by September, that doesn’t mean he’ll be healthy come January, as the Eagles recently learned.

As long as Foles is on the roster, the Eagles are prepared in the event Wentz’s injury lingers or he gets hurt again.

Not the worst idea for a team that has designs on repeating.

Naturally, there are other factors involved with the decision at quarterback. Money is tight, and the Eagles currently possess one pick in the first three rounds of the 2018 NFL draft. Trading Foles aids with both dilemmas.

There’s a potential moral imperative to do right by Foles, too. If he can be a starting quarterback and sign an expensive, long-term contract someplace else, the Eagles may not want to delay his opportunity, provided they receive a fair offer.

Then again, Foles chose to return to the Eagles and doesn’t seem like the type to let ego get in the way. He may be OK with waiting until 2019 when he can become a free agent.

Given everything Foles did for the Eagles this past season, and everything the organization is trying to accomplish in the year ahead, it’s certainly an avenue worth exploring.

QUARTERBACKS BREAKDOWN
*Ages as of Sept. 6, 2018

Nick Foles
Age: 29
2018 cap hit: $7.6 million

The question becomes what is Foles worth in a trade? As remarkable as his postseason run with the Eagles was, there’s a reason it was equally improbable. The six-year veteran is incredibly streaky. Foles’ successes, or failures, appear tied to the quality of his supporting casts, so he won’t necessarily appeal to just any quarterback-needy team. An established playoff contender would be the most logical landing spot, maybe the Bills, Cardinals or Vikings. Whatever his value, if a move is coming, expect it to happen quickly — Foles has a roster bonus worth $3 million due March 18.

Carson Wentz
Age: 25
2018 cap hit: $7.275 million

In case you’re wondering why the Eagles don’t have a legitimate quarterback controversy on their hands, the answer is simple. Wentz is younger, he’s under contract through 2019 with a team option for 2020, and he possesses physical abilities that most quarterbacks — including Foles — simply cannot replicate. The injury is a concern for the immediate future, but most professional athletes make full comebacks at that age. Regardless of who was at the helm for the Eagles in the playoffs and Super Bowl, Wentz is the unquestioned leader of this franchise.

Nate Sudfeld
Age: 24
2018 cap hit: $630,000

If the Eagles trade Foles, are they comfortable with Sudfeld as the backup? That seems like a gamble for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Sudfeld did OK in his first NFL action, mopping up the final three quarters of a meaningless Week 17 game against the Cowboys. He made safe decisions with the football, completing 82.6 percent of his passes with zero turnovers, and demonstrated functional mobility with a 22-yard scramble. It was a promising debut, though probably not enough for the Eagles to stay completely idle at quarterback if Foles is out of the picture.