The largest beneficiary of Bears kicker Cody Parkey’s double-doink discipline objective miss that gave the Eagles a wild-card playoff win in Chicago is the Philadelphia quarterback who has develop into a playoff legend.
Sure, Nick Foles earned an additional $1 million in incentives with the victory, $500,000 for taking part in 33 p.c of the snaps in a playoff win, plus one other $500,000 when he begins Sunday’s divisional playoff recreation in New Orleans. He can add to that whole if the Eagles maintain advancing within the playoffs, however his greatest payday lies forward. As Foles heads to contract negotiation time in February, and attainable free company in March, his price ticket is rising with every postseason win.
This week’s outcome would possibly inform us loads about how Eagles common supervisor Howie Roseman will strategy Foles’ pending contract standing. (There’s a membership possibility for 2019 that Foles should purchase out).
Even when the Eagles lose in New Orleans, Philadelphia will make an effort to maintain Foles, particularly contemplating his late-season heroics mixed with the truth that common starter Carson Wentz is injured on the finish of the season for the second straight 12 months. Wentz additionally has a comparatively cheap wage cap hit of $8.5 million subsequent season, with the Eagles prone to train Wentz’s fifth-year possibility for 2020 however maintain off on a profitable extension till they see whether or not he can keep wholesome and carry out effectively subsequent season.
But when Foles pulls off one other playoff upset, his price ticket ought to take a major leap. Then we’d be speaking a few QB who in his final 4 postseason video games had performed the next: threw for 352 yards and three TDs to beat Minnesota’s top-ranked protection within the 2017 NFC championship recreation; tossed three TD passes, caught a TD go and threw for 373 yards on his technique to Tremendous Bowl 52 MVP honors in a victory over the Patriots; led two second-half TD drives, together with the game-winning TD go on 4th-and-2 with 56 seconds to play, in opposition to the vaunted Bears protection. Then he would have crushed the 13-Three Saints within the raucous Superdome. All this alongside together with his robust play in three straight wins to finish the 2018 common season and earn the Eagles the NFC’s last wild-card spot.
That sequence of excellent performances in crunch time put the 2012 third-round decide in an elite class. Given the precise teaching and supporting forged, Foles must be thought-about at the very least an equal contract-wise to the likes of Kirk Cousins ($28 million per 12 months, absolutely assured) and Jimmy Garoppolo ($27.5 million per 12 months).
That is how most GMs would consider Foles regardless of, till the final two years, an up-and-down profession. Name him a late bloomer a la Jim Plunkett, who quarterbacked the Raiders to 2 Tremendous Bowl wins within the last 9 seasons of a 16-year profession.
Philadelphia’s present QB state of affairs jogs my memory of our 1998 Vikings workforce. As GM, I noticed starter Brad Johnson sprain his ankle in Week 2 and get replaced by his backup, former Eagles Professional Bowler Randall Cunningham, who performed so effectively he stored the beginning job on his technique to an MVP season for our 15-1 workforce.
Following that season, we could not afford each quarterbacks below the wage cap, so both Johnson or Cunningham needed to be traded. Since each gamers have been of their 30s (Johnson was 32, Cunningham 35), age was not an element. It was not prudent to commerce the league MVP, so I dealt Johnson to Washington for a first-, second- and third-round decide.
Cunningham ended up enjoying solely six extra video games for the Vikings, as his efficiency fell off in 1999. We had drafted Daunte Culpepper with the first-round decide we bought from the Redskins, so he grew to become the starter. Johnson went on to play effectively for Washington, so the commerce labored out for each groups.
As was the case for me in my decision-making course of with Johnson and Cunningham, the Eagles QBs are simply three years aside in age — Wentz is 26, Foles 29. So Roseman won’t contemplate age a significant factor for a place at which there are many high quality starters who’re older than 30.
What’s totally different on this case is the a number of excessive draft selections Philly gave up — two No. 1 picks, one No. 2 and one No. 3 — to maneuver as much as the No. 2 total in 2016 and choose Wentz, who was on tempo for a league MVP award final 12 months earlier than he tore his ACL in Week 14. Plus, the Eagles ought to be capable of afford each gamers contemplating the rising wage cap … if they will get Foles at an inexpensive quantity.
Wentz missed the primary two video games this season as he accomplished his ACL restoration after which performed effectively in his 11 begins earlier than he suffered a again fracture. However with the Eagles not enjoying as much as their functionality, they went 5-6 in these video games. Enter Foles, and 4 straight wins emerged for a workforce that believes it might’t lose when Foles’ good karma hits the sector.
Now one other Foles run to the NFC championship recreation (or additional) would actually put stress on the Eagles to attempt to discover a technique to maintain Foles in Eagles inexperienced — as in uniform coloration and cash.
Roseman won’t commerce Wentz after investing a lot within the draft commerce until the GM receives an outstanding supply, which might be onerous to get for a participant with an damage historical past. I can see Roseman providing Foles round $12 million-$15 million for 2019 with mammoth incentives as soon as once more within the deal. That most likely will not be sufficient to maintain Foles from eager to hit the free-agent market, the place he ought to appeal to a proposal within the $25 million to $30 million-per-year vary. That vary, in fact, may vault even greater if he will get to — and presumably wins — a second straight Tremendous Bowl.
Foles might be retained if the Eagles pay him $20 million below the choice, which should be exercised within the week following the Tremendous Bowl. However Foles can then purchase out the contract by paying $2 million. The Eagles can also train the choice and attempt to commerce Foles (if he does not train the buyout) earlier than the contract turns into assured 5 days into the brand new league 12 months, which begins March 13.
If the Eagles train the choice and Foles doesn’t purchase it out, I doubt the workforce would wish to retain him on the $20 million for one 12 months. However maybe Philadelphia may creatively construction a deal by which Foles will get the cash through an $18 million signing bonus on a two-year cope with a 2019 base wage of $2 million; and there is another choice 12 months, so in impact, the 2019 cap quantity is available in at $11 million.
Foles would possibly resolve he desires to remain in Philly (as he beforehand has mentioned), however he additionally would possibly view this as his alternative to money in elsewhere on a long-term cope with a big assure.
A loss to the Saints with Foles not enjoying nice would make it simpler for the Eagles to let him transfer on to a workforce in search of a high quality veteran. A victory Sunday would make it harder to half with a cool, calm folks hero who performs his greatest in essentially the most pressure-filled video games.
It’s fairly the conundrum for the Eagles brass, and one they might like to handle if they will proceed their postseason success.
Jeff Diamond is a former president of the Titans and former vice chairman/common supervisor of the Vikings. He was chosen NFL Government of the Yr in 1998. Diamond is presently a enterprise and sports activities advisor who additionally does broadcast and on-line media work. He makes talking appearances to company/civic teams and faculty lessons on negotiation and sports activities enterprise/sports activities administration. He’s the previous chairman and CEO of The Ingram Group. Observe Jeff on Twitter: @jeffdiamondNFL.