For the second straight season, the back-up quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles rescued his team and led them deep into the NFL playoffs.
Nick Foles replaced an injured Carson Wentz (knee) in 2017 and took the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory in the team’s long history with a win over the New England Patriots. Foles outdueled legendary quarterback Tom Brady and earned the Super Bowl MVP as well.
This season, the Eagles and Foles agreed to a new contract (more about that later) to give Carson Wentz a chance to finish healing from ACL surgery on his knee. Nick Foles started the first two games for the Eagles (going 1-1), and then handed the reins back to Wentz.
Just like the prior season, though, Carson Wentz incurred another late-season injury (back). And, just like last season, Nick Foles led the Eagles on an incredible run into the NFL playoffs.
On Sunday, though, Foles came up on the short end in the second round of the playoffs as his Eagles lost 20-14 to the New Orleans Saints headed by another quarterback from his high school.
Some guy named Drew Brees.
Brees (1997) and Foles (2007) both graduated from Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. Brees set several school records at quarterback in high school. Foles came along and broke most of his records ten years later.
After high school, Nick Foles left the warmth of Texas to play college football at Michigan State. After riding the bench for his first year, Foles went west and transferred to the University of Arizona for his final three years of eligibility.
Coming into the NFL in 2012 as a third round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles, Foles’ became the back-up quarterback behind a guy named Michael Vick. Yes, that guy.
In 2013, Foles was given a chance to start midway through the season due to an injury to Vick, and he made the most of it. He led the Eagles to the playoffs (losing, ironically, to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints) and was named to the NFL All-Pro Team.
In 2014, Nick Foles’ magic in Philly had faded a bit, and his season ended early with a collarbone injury.
Foles was traded to the St. Louis Rams (now in Los Angeles) beginning in 2015. Though he received a nifty two-year contract worth over $24 million, Nick Foles’ on-field performance hit bottom, and he was released after only one season.
For 2016, Foles signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. After a year on the bench behind Alex Smith, it was another one-and-done year for the journeyman quarterback.
After resurrecting the Eagles in 2017 with a Super Bowl triumph and saving the team’s playoff chances in 2018, Nick Foles and the Eagles are at now at a very unusual contractual impasse.
According to reports, the current contract calls for the Eagles to pay Foles $20 million in 2019 (if they want to keep him). They could also trade him to another team (assuming someone is willing to give-up a draft pick or player for Foles’ expensive contract).
If the Eagles do elect to keep Foles and pay him the $20 million, Foles has a brief window where he can decline the offer and opt out of his contract by paying Eagles $2 million. By doing so, he could declare himself a free agent.
With a relatively thin supply of prospective NFL-caliber quarterbacks coming out of college this year, Foles may have several NFL team owners who are willing to open their wallets to pay for his services.
The real question is whether or not Nick Foles is best suited as a highly paid “insurance policy” back-up quarterback instead of an NFL starting quarterback.
His career statistics indicate that Foles’ performance as a reliever may be greater than his value as a starter.
Foles’ calming personality as a teammate and leader in the huddle when coming off the bench are very unique traits in today’s “All about me” NFL.
Then again, this is the same Nick Foles who has now completed his Master’s Degree in Divinity from Liberty University. He wants to become a pastor once his NFL career ends.
Whether he remains in Philadelphia or plays for another team next season, Nick Foles seems to be content with his role. It doesn’t seem to matter whether he becomes an NFL starter or remains the NFL’s most valuable back-up “insurance policy” quarterback.
Like a good neighbor, Nick Foles will be there.