Eagles

Exploring top landing spots this offseason for Nick Foles

Exploring top landing spots this offseason for Nick Foles

We’ve already examined all the factors that are going to go into the Eagles’ decision about Nick Foles (see story), but now it’s time to figure out where he’s going to land. 

While oddsmakers left the Eagles on the board, it seems pretty clear that Foles is going to move on to another team one way or another this offseason. I still think the most likely way he leaves is as a free agent, but there could also be a trade if the Eagles can work one out and Foles is agreeable. 

Anyway, let’s try to figure out where Foles will land with the help of some odds. 

OK, let’s go team by team: 

Miami Dolphins
It seems like the Dolphins are ready to move on from Ryan Tannehill as their starting quarterback after six seasons and a 42-46 record. Cutting Tannehill would leave a ton of dead money ($13 million) but would also save $13 million in cap room. If the Dolphins really want to move on, the dead money will be worth it. 

Keeping with the theme of 13, that’s where the Dolphins pick this year. Now, just a few years ago, the Eagles were able to move from 13 to 8 to 2 to draft Carson Wentz, but unless the Dolphins are willing to do that, they’re kind of in no man's land in the middle of the first round wanting a QB in a QB-deficient draft. So maybe they need to go the free agency route. 

Adam Gase is gone and the presumed new head coach will be the Patriots’ Brian Flores. He’ll likely be hired whenever the Patriots’ season is over, either this weekend or in a couple weeks. Maybe he’ll sign the guy he watched outduel Tom Brady in Super Bowl LII. 

Washington Redskins 
Last offseason, they picked up Alex Smith, but his injury is really significant, so it’s time to find somebody new. It would make more sense for them to try to get a young quarterback to build around, but they have the 15th pick. 

And Dan Snyder can probably talk himself into thinking they’re a QB away. Remember when the Redskins got off to their 6-3 start in 2018. Well, then they had crazy injuries, so he might look at his team and think it's a lot closer than it actually is. 

Jacksonville Jaguars 
These odds actually came out before we learned Jacksonville was about to hire John DeFilippo as its offensive coordinator, so you can argue it should be even higher on the list now. Flip coached Foles for just one year in Philly, but that year ended with a parade on Broad Street. 

The Jags had a disastrous 5-11 season in 2018, but that came after they were 10-6 the year before. So if they think there’s still enough talent in that locker room to be a playoff team, they might just be one QB away. While Foles threw some interceptions this year, he ain’t Blake Bortles in that respect. He could give the Jags the chance to win close, defensive games as long as he doesn’t make mistakes. 

They do have the seventh pick, though, so maybe the Jaguars ought to think about drafting a QB. 

Denver Broncos
Case Keenum is still under contract in Denver, but it shouldn’t let that change anything it does at the quarterback position. In fact, John Elway told Peter King that Keenum was more of a short-term fix. That doesn’t sound good for Keenum. 

Foles is still just 29, so it’s not like he couldn’t be a longer-term fix. And picking at 10th in the draft doesn’t guarantee the Broncos will be able to draft the next QB either. Foles might be as good an option as any. 

Philadelphia Eagles 
Howie Roseman said on Tuesday that the Eagles would like to keep Foles, but how realistic is that? They’ve committed to Carson Wentz being the quarterback, so can they afford to have an insurance policy of over $20 million? The problem here is that’s money they could use elsewhere to build a team around Wentz. And is it fair to the franchise quarterback to always be looking over his shoulder? Even Wentz admitted there’s an added level of pressure after all of Foles’ success. 

The flip side of this is that Wentz hasn’t stayed healthy. He’s been injured in both of the last two seasons and Foles has stepped in for the playoffs. We’d have to just trust that Wentz is going to stay healthy next season. As insurance policies go, Foles is the best one. 

New York Giants 
Eventually, the Giants have to move on from Eli Manning, right? They really should move on from the 38-year-old quarterback now and I think Foles would make a lot of sense. 

The Giants clearly have some offensive weapons and could use a steadying force like Foles, who has played for head coach Pat Shurmur before. 

The big fear about Foles is that he’ll only work in Philadelphia. Well, why not go to a landing spot with an offense that at least has some similarities? Remember, Shurmur was in Philly for Foles’ Pro Bowl 2013 season under Chip Kelly and comes from the Andy Reid tree, which means his offense has similarities to Doug Pederson’s in some ways too. From a purely football standpoint, I like the Giants as a landing spot. But there are some emotional hurdles to get over. 

Oakland Raiders
Head coach Jon Gruden and GM Mike Mayock seem to love Foles and they might be ready to move on from Derek Carr in Oakland or wherever the heck they’re going to play this season. Mayock and Gruden both have ties to Philly and are both very familiar with Foles. 

The Raiders also have three first-round picks, so if the Eagles end up trying to trade Foles instead of letting him walk, the Raiders have the firepower to get a deal done — if that’s the way they want to go. 

It doesn’t mean much, but Foles’ seven-touchdown game came against the Raiders in 2013. 

Carolina Panthers
Apparently, Cam Newton might be in danger of missing the 2019 season because of a shoulder injury. So if the Panthers think he’s not around in the 2019 season, they’ll need someone to play quarterback. Enter Foles? 

The problem here is that Foles wants to go to a good situation and I’m not sure this is it. Newton has one more year left on his contract after 2019, which means Foles would have to play well enough to make the Panthers change their organizational direction and go with him instead. Don’t know why he’d choose that as a free agent. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
The Bucs hired Bruce Arians as their head coach, but it seems like they’re sticking with Jameis Winston at QB. If there’s a change, maybe it would make sense for Foles. But if there isn’t, not sure why they’re on the list. 

A bonus one from me: Cincinnati Bengals
I’m not convinced the Bengals are going to stick with Andy Dalton, which would make Foles an attractive option, especially for new head coach Zac Taylor, who is the brother of Eagles QBs coach Press Taylor. The Bengals still have A.J. Green and Joe Mixon, so it might not be that bad of a landing spot for Foles.

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Personnel disasters and more in Roob's random Eagles points

Personnel disasters and more in Roob's random Eagles points

Taking stock of Derek Barnett, the Eagles’ MVP, a long-range prediction and lots more in this weekend’s edition of Roob’s random Eagles points! 

1. When the Eagles needed defensive end depth, they didn’t hesitate to sign Vinny Curry, who had 11½ sacks in his previous four seasons. When they needed a running back, they signed Jay Ajayi off a one-year layoff. When they needed a wide receiver, it was 32-year-old DeSean Jackson and then when they needed another one, it was Jordan Matthews, who had been released three times in the past year.

Maybe this isn’t entirely true, but the impression these moves give is that the Eagles’ scouting department is bringing back guys it’s familiar with — guys the team has already cut ties with at least once — instead of really doing its due diligence to find the most talented and most promising players available at those positions. Need an Eagle? Find an old Eagle!

Jackson got hurt. Curry’s done nothing. Ajayi’s been here only a couple weeks but looks slow. Matthews lasted two weeks. There’ve been several other lesser guys they’ve recycled. I can’t help but wonder if the Eagles’ scouting department is basing way too much on familiarity and not enough on ability.

2. Barnett hasn’t been awful this year. He’s shown some flashes. Plays hard. But 4½ sacks is 4½ sacks. And 12 sacks in 33 NFL games is mediocre production. Barnett’s only 23 so there’s still time for him to figure it out, but he’s in Year 3 now, and I don’t see signs of him becoming a special player. He’s still trailing Mike Mamula’s pace (13½ sacks in his first 33 games). Not good enough.

3. Incredible that Miles Sanders already has the fourth-most scrimmage yards ever by a Penn State player in his rookie year: Saquon Barkley (2,028), Curt Warner (1,774), Franco Harris (1,235), Miles Sanders (879). Pretty good company. 

4. With Jordan Howard out (as well as Corey Clement and Darren Sproles), Doug Pederson can’t be afraid to give Sanders 22 or 23 carries in a game. He’s by far the most productive running back available right now, and the Eagles can’t simply go 69-31 pass-run ratio like they have the last three weeks just to protect Sanders. If the other backs on the roster aren’t good enough to produce, go find better running backs.

5. I’m not sure how this is possible, but Sanders has only six third-down carries all year. He’s averaging 5.8 yards on third down.

6. This is fascinating: The average third down Eagles opponents are facing is a 3rd-and-8, which is the fifth-longest third-down average by any defense this year. That’s really good. But opposing teams are converting 37 percent on third down, which is 13th best. The second figure should be much lower based on the first figure. Why the discrepency? Because the Eagles are allowing opposing teams to convert an incredible 25.5 percent on 3rd-and-10 or longer. That’s fourth worst in the league. 

7. My colleague Dave Zangaro and I were trying to figure out who the Eagles’ 2019 MVP is, and we were kind of stumped. Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson have been really good for the most part. Fletcher Cox has been his usual self after a slow start. Zach Ertz has big numbers again. Jake Elliott and Cameron Johnston have been terrific. Rodney McLeod has been the most consistent guy on defense. Sanders keeps getting better. But do any of them deserve the title of MVP? Nope. The reality is with four games to go? This team doesn’t doesn’t have one.

8. Ertz has 507 career catches. He needs 17 in the last four games for the most ever by a tight end in his first seven seasons. Jason Witten caught 523 from 2003 through 2009.

9. Ajayi is only 26, but he looks like he’s 36. That’s understandable to an extent. He didn’t have OTAs, didn’t have a training camp. Didn’t practice in over a year before Seattle week. He’s going to look rusty. But that raises the question … if you knew Ajayi had missed a year and wasn’t immediately going to be the same guy he used to be and you needed a running back to contribute now, why did you sign him?

10. Crazy prediction: If the Eagles find a way to beat the Cowboys and if they win the NFC East and if they host a wild-card weekend game, they’re not losing that game.

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Eagles-Giants NFL Week 14 predictions 2019

Eagles-Giants NFL Week 14 predictions 2019

The Eagles (5-7) host the Giants (2-10) at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night. 

To the predictions: 

Reuben Frank (5-7) 
I’m really reluctant to pick the Eagles to beat anybody right now. I have no reason to have faith in this coach, these players, this staff. But then I look at the Giants and they’re way worse than the Dolphins. I don’t think it helps the Eagles that Eli Manning is back, even though he’s been brutal for years against the Eagles. But he's got a better chance to come into the Linc and win a game than a 22-year-old kid who has two career wins.

What Monday night will show all of us is whether the Eagles have mailed it in or if they still have a shred of fight in them. We know the Cowboys have mailed it in. Somebody has to win the NFC East, unless commisioner Roger Goodell just decides to vacate it and add another wild-card team. Probably won’t happen, although if I were the commish I would.

So against my better judgment I’ll pick the Eagles. But at this point, nothing would surprise me.

Eagles 27, Giants 26

Dave Zangaro (6-6) 
Let’s start by making this clear: The Eagles could lose any remaining game on their schedule. I just don’t think they’re gonna lose this one. The Giants are a mess and even with Manning, I’m not expecting that to change. And then there’s the fact that the Eagles have owned Manning and the Giants over the last few years. In fact, the Eagles are 9-1 against the Giants in the last five years. They’ve even won the last five games between the two teams. But four of those five wins have been close games, so I’m not about to predict a blowout. Still, I expect the Eagles to be tied with the Cowboys atop the NFC East on Tuesday morning. 

Eagles 24, Giants 20 

Derrick Gunn (5-7) 
Shocked is the best way to describe what happened to the Eagles down in Miami. The offense came to life, moved the ball effectively and put up 31 points. Then there’s the defense that we had applauded for holding four previous opponents to 17 points or fewer having a complete meltdown and giving up 37 points to one of the worst offenses in the league. If losing wasn’t bad enough, players and the head coach Doug Pederson said in unison “they wanted it more than we did.” So here they stand two games below sea level and fighting for their playoff lives.

The Giants are just as bad as the Dolphins on both sides of the ball. The Eagles’ defense was planning on getting an up-close-and-personal look at Daniel Jones, but he’s injured which means Manning has been dusted off and called into active duty. But wait there’s more: both TE Evan Engram and WR Golden Tate are expected to be healthy enough to return as well. If that happens, Tate, Engram, Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley would all be on the field together for the first time this season.

The Birds have owned Manning in recent years (Manning 1-9 in last 10 meetings with Eagles). This matchup makes me nervous. Manning could want to make a strong showing for a future employer. Will the Giants rally around their former leader? Which Eagles defense will show up? Despite the records, it’s a division battle, but at least the Birds have this one at home. 

Eagles 28, Giants 21

Ray Didinger (4-8) 
It was interesting that the point spread went up when it was announced that Manning would be starting for the Giants on Monday. Has it reached the point where bettors think a rookie, Jones, gives the Giants a better chance to win than a two-time Super Bowl MVP? Wow. 

Anyway, the Eagles were favored by eight but it went up to nine when the Giants announced Manning would start. I think the Giants saw Jones throw three picks Sunday against Green Bay (that's 21 turnovers for him this season) and decided the kid needed to sit for a week or so just to clear his head. Eight straight losses can wreck a young quarterback's confidence. They probably wanted to give Manning a chance at a curtain call anyway.

With Manning at quarterback, there will be a lot of dump offs to Barkley. He caught 91 of them last season when Manning was checking it down all the time. This year with Jones taking over Barkley has just 38 receptions. It is a dramatic difference. So Barkley will get a big work load, rushing and receiving, but it won't spell the difference. Big day for Carson Wentz against a woeful Giants defense.

Eagles 28, Giants 14

Andrew Kulp (6-6) 
I said it last week (while wrongly picking the Eagles), but it's not a given they will win this or any other game for the remainder of the season. That's just the reality of the situation.

That being said, while I might've been tempted to pick the Giants with Jones under center, picking the Giants led by Manning is a different story. Don't get me wrong, I can totally imagine a scenario in which Manning torches the dynamic duo of Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby — I just don't find it incredibly likely.

Manning stinks against the Eagles, stinks at Lincoln Financial Field, and really stinks against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in primetime. I'll take my chances on the Birds here.

Eagles 34, Giants 15

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