While the Eagles decide whether or not to trade Nick Foles, the name that keeps popping up is Sam Bradford.
According to multiple reports, the Eagles are using the 2016 deal that sent Bradford to the Vikings for first- and fourth-round draft picks as a template for discussions involving Foles. Peter King of SI.com goes on to say NFL teams may not be willing to meet such lofty demands this time around.
“The Eagles got first- and fourth-round picks for Sam Bradford 17 months ago and feel Foles is better, so it’ll likely take at least that to pique their interest, and that’s likely not happening,” King writes.
King adds the Eagles already received at least one offer for Foles termed “respectable” by league sources, though clearly less than the current asking price. Geoff Mosher for FanRag Sports reports a second-round pick was on the table.
Of course, nobody expected the Eagles to negotiate the haul they did for Bradford, either.
The circumstances are obviously different. Bradford was the starting quarterback at the time of the trade, while Foles is expected to reprise his role as backup next season — King says the Eagles are “confident” Carson Wentz will be healthy in time for Week 1. Bradford was also under contract for two years whereas Foles has only 2018 remaining on his current deal. Even then, the price for Bradford was too high until Vikings signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater suffered a catastrophic injury months later at training camp.
That doesn’t mean the Eagles are crazy to request a similar return. In fact, they might be content to work from the same playbook that led to that set of circumstances — wait it out and see what happens.
Unlike Bradford, Foles isn’t clamoring for a way out of Philadelphia, nor does he have a history of serious knee injuries. At an affordable $7.6 million, Foles also accounts for significantly less against the salary cap than Bradford’s $18 million in 2016. From another team’s vantage point, the fact that Foles only has one year left is a non-issue, as a contract extension would surely follow a swap. And while the Eagles hope Wentz is back for Week 1, there’s still no guarantee, perhaps creating some semblance of leverage.
The Eagles can slow-play Foles talks the same way they did Bradford. If teams aren’t willing to play ball for a first-round pick now, circumstances can always change after free agency and the draft play out, come training camp or as late as mid-season.
Why settle now? The Eagles will have to pay Foles a roster bonus worth $3 million on March 18, so there is some coin on the line. But the Eagles were willing to eat $11 million of Bradford’s contract in ’16, as long as the right deal came along.
Other than money, the Eagles have nothing to lose by sticking to their guns. If they wait, a desperate team may eventually come around. Should a deal never come to pass, they have the best backup quarterback in the NFL — which worked out pretty well last season.