On Monday, a report from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer suggested that the Chicago Bears would entertain offers for veteran quarterback Nick Foles. The former Super Bowl MVP has become an afterthought in the Windy City this offseason when the Bears traded up nine spots in the 2021 NFL Draft to select former Ohio State standout Justin Fields while also signing veteran Andy Dalton this offseason.
Trading Foles isn’t as simple as it seems. The phones may be ringing at Halas Hall and while general manager Ryan Pace may answer, the only voice that seems to truly matter is Foles, who wants a say in where he lands if traded. Breer’s report also states that the Foles will dictate where he lands.
One team that’s been mentioned, the Indianapolis Colts, who was Foles offensive coordinator with the Philadephia Eagles in 2017, consequently the year Foles was named Super Bowl MVP.
“Frank Reich is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, coaches of all time,” Foles said during training camp. “He understands me as a player. He understands me as a person. But you know, I haven’t had any talks with them. I’m a Chicago Bear right now. But he knows me, he understands.”
Foles strong endorsement of Reich makes the Colts an intriguing trade candidate. Dictating where the veteran lands is all about ensuring Foles lands in a situation that will set him up to succeed while giving him a chance to start and win consistently. Looking around the NFL, there aren’t many team’s who could be labeled as intriguing fits for Foles, especially with most teams having their week 1 starter in place.
Discussions to move Foles will need to happen quickly with the regular season approaching. One factor that continues to dictate Foles talks include his cap hit, which is slated to be $6.6M for the upcoming season, including $5M in guaranteed money for 2022, according to Over The Cap. Foles did admit that discussions to move him took place throughout the offseason but talks never got serious enough to strike a deal, which will likely require the Bears to rework Foles contract and eat up a part of his contract.
The Chicago Bears enter 2021 with newfound hope at the quarterback position after signing veteran Andy Dalton drafting rookie Justin Fields. Despite an overhaul of the quarterback room, the only veteran left from 2020 at the position is third-string quarterback Nick Foles, who started seven games in 2020.
Let’s flashback to last offseason: When the Bears acquired Foles, Chicago’s thought process was simple: Create competition at the quarterback position. Foles’ familiarity with the coaching staff, including head coach Matt Nagy, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, along with his knowledge of the offense was a reason many believed Foles would succeed in Chicago.
On Monday, Foles spoke to the media for the first time since the conclusion of the 2020 season. With Foles name popping up in trade rumors, he was asked about his thoughts regarding the 2020 season and why the Bears stumbled throughout his time as starting quarterback.
“There’s a lot of reasons that I can’t talk about to be honest with you,” Foles said via the Bears official Twitter account. “In the right situation, with the right people, that understand me as a player, I know what I can do because it’s been done.”
The first red flag in the entire press conference was when Foles essentially said that he wasn’t going to be talking about what went wrong. Foles answer clearly will draw mixed reactions, especially since he didn’t directly mention Nagy or the offensive staff, who some blame for the Bears failures last season.
“When you have a great coaching staff, it’s something special,” Foles said. “A big reason we were great in Philly is we had a great coaching staff. We did really well, they put us in positions to succeed. And it showed. I think everyone can say it showed.”
With rumors swirling regarding Foles future with the Bears, the Indianapolis Colts have been mentioned as a possible trade destination. Under current Colts head coach Frank Reich, Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl victory in 2017, reviving the Eagles season at a time when everything seemed lost.
“Listen, Frank Reich is one of my favorite, if not my favorite coaches of all-time,” Foles said. “He understands me as a player, he understands me as a person. I haven’t had any talks with him. I’m a Chicago Bear right now.”
Foles referencing his success with Reich and the Eagles should speak volumes as to what seemingly happened with the Bears last season and why everything went wrong. After praising Reich, it’s clear that Foles views the Colts coaching staff as a better fit compared to what the Bears have to offer going into 2021. Foles press conference also implied that the veteran quarterback has moved on from 2020 and is ready to start fresh in 2021, perhaps elsewhere.
It’s becoming more likely that the New York Jets will go into camp with James Morgan and Mike White backing up Zach Wilson.
According to a report from Brian Costello of the New York Post, those expecting Super Bowl hero Nick Foles to don a new shade of green shouldn’t get their hopes up.
In addressing the New York Jets’ backup quarterback situation, Costello reports that the team has “had discussions” with the Chicago Bears about adding Foles as the understudy and mentor to incoming franchise man Zach Wilson. However, he acknowledges that such a deal “seems unlikely”.
Foles, who guided the Philadelphia Eagles to a championship in 2018, is projected to be Chicago’s third-string option behind first-round pick Justin Fields and incoming veteran Andy Dalton. With Wilson set to take over, he seems like a perfect candidate to not only serve as a mentor to the rookie but step up in case of an emergency. The 32-year-old Foles posted an 80.8 passer rating in nine games (seven starts) in place of Mitchell Trubisky last season.
However, Costello says that Foles’ salary is the biggest roadblock in the path to getting him in a green helmet. Foles came over from the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020 and restructured his contract to be a three-year deal worth $24 million ($17 million guaranteed). Chicago would be out $14 million in dead money if they were to release Foles, rendering a trade the only likely departure from the Windy City.
It appears more likely that the Jets will go into the season with either James Morgan or Mike White as their backup quarterback. Like Wilson, neither has thrown a pass in a regular season NFL game. Morgan was chosen in the fourth round during the 2020 draft and did not dress in no games last season. White is a 2018 fifth-round pick from Dallas who has been on and off the Jets’ practice squad over the last two seasons.
Head coach Robert Saleh admitted that the team had discussions with former San Francisco backup Nick Mullens (who eventually signed with Philadephia), but he was interested in seeing what Morgan and White had to offer.
“It doesn’t mean that just because (a newcomer is) a veteran it’ll help the (rookie) quarterback,” Saleh said in June, per notes from the Jets. “There’s a match that has to happen, there’s a scheme familiarity that has to happen. If you just bring in a veteran that doesn’t know anything about your scheme, he’s learning just like the rookie is.”
“I think Zach, and that entire quarterback room, is already ahead of the curve on, with how they handle their bodies and study. I don’t know if there’s much value aside from being comfortable that if something hits the fan, that you have a veteran who’s played football. It’s more of a comforting feeling, rather than trying to work your ass off to develop the quarterbacks that are already in the building.”
The Jets are slated to begin training camp activities on Tuesday.
The Chicago Bears will start training camp at Halas Hall in just over two weeks, with significant turnover at the quarterback position. The Bears moved on from Mitchell Trubisky this offseason, replacing the former second overall pick with veteran Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields. Set to return is also veteran Nick Foles, who started seven games for the Bears in 2020, winning just two games.
As Chicago continues to get ready for the 2021 season, what are three questions at the quarterback position? Let’s find out.
1) How long will Dalton hold off Fields?
The million-dollar question that has every Bears fan buzzing: When will Fields start? Bears head coach Matt Nagy has consistently said this offseason that a plan exists to develop Fields. Part of that plan is hoping Dalton plays well enough to hold off Fields, giving the Bears a stable bridge quarterback.
Chicago has a brutal schedule in 2021 but expect Fields to play at some point. Those in favor of starting the rookie quarterback hope that Fields is starting in Chicago’s week four contest at home against the Detroit Lions. Others prefer to let Fields sit the entire year, similar to how Patrick Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith for 15 games in Kansas City during the 2017 season.
Dalton will need to start off fast week one against the Los Angeles Rams and begin to stack consecutive wins against teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and Las Vegas Raiders to remain starter. That means winning at least four of Chicago’s first five games to have a chance at starting between weeks six and nine.
2) Will the Bill Lazor offense have an impact on Fields’ development?
When the Bears handed playcalling duties to Bill Lazor late in 2020, immediate life was sparked in Chicago’s offense. Heading into 2021, we know that Nagy will call plays but we don’t know what scheme the Bears will run. Should Chicago decide to run the play-action offense it ran with Lazor calling plays, the Bears will significantly slow down the game for Fields, allowing the 11th overall pick to play faster.
Fields has shown he’s a dual-threat quarterback who can hit any throw on the field or hurt a defense with his mobility. Expect the Bears offense to develop a pass-first identity with Fields first read being a deep throw down the field. A play-action offense would open more opportunities for Fields in the middle of the defense, creating additional opportunities for Chicago’s wide receivers.
3) Is Nick Foles more valuable than we all think?
It is a fair question to ask, especially since Foles won just two games in seven starts last season but has been labeled as an incredibly smart player who knows Chicago’s coaching staff and offense. Foles won’t receive any meaningful playing time in 2021 but he can serve as a mentor for Fields to speed up the 11th overall picks development.
Foles’ magical Super Bowl run should also serve as a reminder that any NFL quarterback can get hot at any time, especially in big moments. Fields has had his fair share of big moments at Ohio State but Foles’ presence will instill confidence in a young quarterback who’s willing to do anything needed to succeed, especially since Foles will serve as a sounding board in 2021.
Robert Saleh doesn’t seem too worried about it, but the New York Jets’ backup quarterback situation creates an eerie offensive aura.
Rejoice, New York and New Jersey, for it’s officially summer in the metropolitan area.
Don’t turn your calendar to June 21 just yet. It’s perfectly fine if you haven’t run to the ice cream truck for a Choco Taco. Summer in the city is often welcomed not by the beach, blockbusters, and burgers…but rather a New York Jets quarterback controversy.
Now, rest assured, Jets fans, you who have been granted legitimate hope in the form of Zach Wilson. The second overall pick of April’s draft is the latest (and, the Jets certainly hope, last for a while) name chosen to lead Gang Green into the 21st century. Time will tell if he lives up to his status as the long-awaited passing prophet absent since Joe Namath hung up his helmet adorned with a green oval, but there’s no doubt that he is the man the Jets envision starting in three, five, ten years from now.
This time around, however, the problem lies behind Wilson.
As New York commences their minicamp proceedings this week, three quarterbacks reside on the current passing ledgers. Wilson is far and away the top option, with James Morgan and Mike White sitting behind him. There’s not much in common between the three, with the glaring exception that they all have the same number of regular season passes in the National Football League: zero.
The goose egg is a startling contrast to the last few attempts the Jets have made in providing insurance, both mentally and physically, to their would-be backup quarterback. Todd Bowles’ tenure began with Ryan Fitzpatrick set to mentor Geno Smith before an infamous training camp altercation thrust the bearded Harvard alum into the starter’s role (and deeper into the hearts of the American football fan). After being used as a stopgap the year before, Josh McCown was re-signed with the purpose of being the Yoda to Sam Darnold’s Luke Skywalker. Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco took over the role last season, though it was clear to the Jets that there was no saving Darnold from the Adam Gase era, leading to Wilson’s selection. Years beforehand, Mark Sanchez earned some of his final football hours thanks to the late-career efforts of fellow two-time AFC finalist Mark Brunell.
Flacco switched his shades of green in the offseason, moving on to Philadelphia to mentor (and possibly compete with) another young hopeful, Jalen Hurts. For the three weeks between the Darnold trade and the draft’s opening night, Morgan and White were the only quarterbacks on the roster before Wilson heard his name called in Cleveland.
Yet, Jets coach Robert Saleh doesn’t sound overly enthused about bringing in a backup any time soon. Speaking after the Jets’ minicamp proceedings on Monday, Saleh seemed to hint that bringing one in at this point in time wouldn’t have much of a purpose at this point in time.
“If you just bring in a veteran who doesn’t know your scheme, he’s learning just like the rookie is,” Saleh said, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. “Aside from helping him with rehab…and study habits, which I think Zach and that entire quarterback room is already ahead of the curve on how they handle their bodies and study, I don’t know if there’s much value aside from being comfortable that if the crap hits the fan you have a veteran who has played football. It’s more of a comforting feeling rather than working your ass off to develop the quarterbacks who are already in the building.”
The role of the backup quarterback may well be the most underrated job in professional sports. Sometimes, the role proves to be bizarrely rewarding. Fitzpatrick, for example, has built a 17-year NFL career through quasi-Winston Wolf endeavors, solving starting quarterback problems in various locales. He’s spending the 2021 season in Washington, which is still buzzing from the antics of Taylor Heinicke, the Old Dominion legend who viral for playing respectably during the NFC Wild Card playoffs against Tampa Bay last winter. Charlie Whitehurst, he of a Christ-like physical appearance and nearly 400 pass attempts over 11 NFL seasons, earned a cult following as “Clipboard Jesus”.
In these modern NFL Sundays, dominated by the social media behemoth of Twitter, it doesn’t take much for overzealous fans, even facetious supporters looking for engagements, to start calling for the backup’s name. Once he’s in, the primary directive is simple: do not be the reason your team fails to prevail. For instance, Heinicke (26-of-44, 306 yards, 46 rushing yards, 2 total scores, 1 interception) was far from the primary reason that Washington fell to the eventual Super Bowl champions, and it convinced the Football Team to bring him back on a two-year deal. The same couldn’t be said about, say, 2019’s Pittsburgh Steelers, who failed to keep up the same offensive production with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges after Ben Roethlisberger went down.
But when a rookie quarterback, an anointed franchise man, joins the fold, the backup takes on double duty: serving as a mentor or even holding down the fort while the freshman gets his NFL legs.
The latter concept is an endangered species. Kansas City’s gambit…remaining in immediate contention with effective incumbent Alex Smith before turning the reigns over to future champion Patrick Mahomes…probably bought it some time. The Los Angeles Chargers were set to roll with such a strategy before a medical emergency forced the chosen veteran, Tyrod Taylor, to vacate the starter’s role in favor of eventual Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert. Miami partially employed it, but never truly committed to Tua Tagovailoa last season. When thrust into a surprise playoff run, they turned to, who else, Fitzpatrick.
Right now, neither of the understudies on the Jets’ roster seems capable of fulfilling those roles. The fourth-round selection of Morgan was bizarre when it happened (especially when Gabriel Davis went to Buffalo three picks later) and was made even more puzzling when the Florida International alum couldn’t even earn a dressing during a meaningless two-win season. White, a fifth-round pick in Dallas back in 2018, at least has the benefit of a couple of preseasons under his belt, but those numbers (68.5 passer rating over eight contests) aren’t inspiring.
The Jets have actually had ample opportunities to address the area this offseason, but have curiously passed on each one. Brian Hoyer, another thrower who has extended his career through sizable backup endeavors, was brought in for a workout but he chose to continue his third tenure in New England. Nick Mullens, a former pupil of the Jets’ new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur back in San Francisco, seemed like another prime candidate before he joined Flacco and Hurts in Philadelphia. The free agent market is relatively shriveled at this point, with the best option perhaps being a trade with Chicago, inquiring about Nick Foles. Flacco’s fellow Super Bowl MVP is a popular entry in the backup quarterback Mount Rushmore who won the 52nd alongside current Jets general manager Joe Douglas, the latter then residing in the Eagles’ front office. He’s expendable in Chicago through the arrivals of veteran Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields.
Between Saleh’s words and the logistics and protocols involved with a new entry, it’s probably not wise to assume that Jets (who have a decent amount of extra draft picks to barter with) will be welcoming Foles to their minicamp proceedings this week. But they’d be better off trying to solve the situation sooner rather than later.
As the Darnold era quickly proved, the Jets can hope all they want that a certain prospect will pan out, but they need to have both guidance and insurance working with the rookie. Darnold would routinely mention that his best days came under the watch of McCown, years after Mark Sanchez built a strong relationship with Brunell. Otherwise relatively quiet on the football timeline, the early summer months can be a perfect time for Wilson to work with a mentor. By neglecting this area for so long, they’ve wasted some valuable time in Wilson’s development.
One can have the highest hopes and dreams for Wilson, and it’s abundantly clear that the Jets have such fantasies in store for him. However, when the prized rookie comes in and is somehow tied for the title of the most experienced man in the room…that’s a controversy.
At the start of the 2021 NFL offseason, uncertainty was one phrase used to describe the Chicago Bears franchise. The Bears had an aging defense, no long-term solution at quarterback, and soured relations with wide receiver Allen Robinson, one of the franchise’s best players. Fast forward to May, the defense may still be getting older, but the Chicago at least has a long-term solution at quarterback in Justin Fields.
When looking at the Bears offseason, Chicago admitted its mistakes this offseason, especially head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace. By letting former second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky hit free agency, Pace admitted that the former North Carolina quarterback was a miss. Compared to last offseason, this is a big step forward for Pace as an evaluator because the seventh-year GM is finally learning to cut losses and move on instead of forcing and hoping everything works out.
Then there’s Nagy, who many labeled an offensive guru four years ago. That title hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype. Nagy didn’t only flop with Trubisky, he was a reason that the franchise traded for Nick Foles last offseason, guaranteeing Foles $21M in the process while giving up a fourth-round pick.
The Bears’ experiment with Foles didn’t exactly work out either. In seven starts, Foles would win just two games, throw 10 touchdowns, and toss eight interceptions. Foles stat line wouldn’t be bad for just Foles, it’d be bad for every starting quarterback over a seven-game stretch.
Chicago further admitted that trading for Foles was a mistake when the Bears signed Andy Dalton to a one-year, $10M deal in free agency. Dalton may not move the needle significantly for the Bears, but he is the winningest NFL-ready quarterback on the Bears roster.
The winds of change swept through Chicago this offseason. For a franchise that has traditionally been known to make multiple mistakes and move on from players too late, the Bears admitted their mistakes this offseason, resetting the timeline for the franchise to be competitive once again.
It wasn’t that long ago that it was fresh news that the Philadelphia Eagles were planning to not franchise tag Nick Foles, and to let the quarterback become a free agent on the open market. There was some speculation that Foles could be a good option for the New York Giants, who are looking for a quarterback to eventually take over for Eli Manning and to offer some competition this season at the position, but it now looks like that won’t be a viable outcome.
That’s because Foles has already found another team, and it happens to be one of the other quarterback needy teams that the Giants would have to compete with in either the draft or free agency. Foles is expected to sign with the Jaguars according to Philly.com, and that’s both good and bad for the Giants.
The bad is that there’s another quarterback off the market and the Giants won’t be able to consider bringing Foles in to serve as a backup or competition to Eli Manning this year before eventually acting as a stopgap while the team finds a franchise quarterback. Such a move wasn’t the most popular of all the potential options, but it was an option nonetheless and it puts more pressure on the Giants to find their next quarterback in the draft.
The good is that with the Jaguars finding a quarterback, they are no longer a risk to trade up past the Giants and take the player that the Giants are possibly looking at, Dwayne Haskins Jr. Haskins has been mocked to both the Giants and the Jags and with both teams picking one spot apart from each other, a trade up could easily result in the Jaguars getting the Ohio State quarterback instead of the Giants.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the draft is the way to go. The Nick Foles rumors have lasted since before the season ended, but now, we can officially put them to bed. If the Giants want a new quarterback, even as a backup, they’re going to have to look elsewhere.
In a change of events since the earlier trends in the offseason, it looks like the Philadelphia Eagles are set to let quarterback Nick Foles walk away and sign for a different team in free agency. Foles has been speculated on as a stopgap option at QB for the New York Giants, but it was believed before that the Eagels would sign Foles to a new deal before trading him away to save cap space. It looks, though, like Foles will become a free agent after all.
“We’ve been so fortunate over the last couple of years to have two top-15 quarterbacks in Carson and Nick,” said Eagles Executive VP of Football Operations Howie Roseman, on Wednesday. “We’ve spent a lot of time discussing this internally and with him, and we’ve decided to let Nick become a free agent.”
The other alternative would have been to use the franchise tag on Foles, which would be the more expensive option and would waste the tag on a backup quarterback who isn’t expected to get playing time barring an injury to starter Carson Wentz.
Foles could be a target for the New York Giants but not as a starter. It looks like the team will draft a quarterback whose goal is to learn behind Eli Manning, but another option would be drafting a quarterback in the future and signing Foles for now, who has the skills to push Eli Manning as actual competition while remaining in a backup role.
It’s not the likeliest deal, though. While New York does ave a certain appeal, all signs point to Eli Manning being the starter this season and therefore the Giants may not be the most attractive destination to Foles, regardless of pay. Still, it’s good to have options, and one of those options might be Nick Foles if things go the way they’re currently headed.
Nick Foles was one of the names most mentioned when it came to a veteran quarterback that the New York Giants could sign to compete with Eli Manning and potentially serve as a stopgap between Manning and a successor. It’s not hard to see why. Foles might not be the best quarterback in the league, but winning a Super Bowl isn’t something that gets ignored easily.
Furthermore, Foles was a player that would have potentially been available through free agency rather than a trade that would cost the Giants assets. But Foles never became a free agent. It was only something that was expected, and now, it looks like those expectations were misplaced. According to Ian Rapoport, the Eagles plan to bring Foles back for another year.
From Super Bowl Live: The #Eagles are expected to pick up the $20M option for QB Nick Foles, sources say. Not a surprise, but an important piece. What happens next will be intriguing. pic.twitter.com/FOpLeAhQu1
It’s a somewhat strange move, as Foles’ contract is a steep price for a backup quarterback. Carson Wentz is entrenched as the starter in Philadelphia, and many expected the team to let Foles walk to avoid paying that much for a player that isn’t going to seriously compete for the starting job. The only explanation is that the Eagles will trade Foles after picking up the option, or that they’re hoping that a good backup will benefit them like it did during their Super Bowl run.
What does this mean for the Giants? For one, it means fewer options. This is a rather barren year when it comes to the availability of veteran quarterbacks, and Foles was the name that was mentioned more than any other in that conversation. Even if the Eagles trade Foles, the Giants would now have to give up assets to sign him, which would be counterproductive.
It looks more and more like the Giants will be drafting their quarterback when the NFL Draft rolls around in April, rather than signing or trading for one. Whether that quarterback is Dwayne Haskins or someone else remains to be seen.
Will Nick Foles become a future quarterback of the New York Giants? It’s not the most likely outcome, but out of everything that could happen during this offseason, it’s also not the most unlikely one either. Foles has been the main name suggested when it comes to veteran quarterbacks that the Giants might be able to bring on, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only did Foles win the Super Bowl last season, but the Eagles quarterback is expected to be a free agent.
The idea of Foles joining the Giants has drawn mixed opinions. On one hand, Foles performed alright in Philadelphia and came through for the Eagles when it mattered. On the other hand, Foles isn’t even the top quarterback on his current team and the Giants don’t have a Super Bowl winning roster to help make up for average or below average QB play.
One player that has an opinion on the possible move is Chris Long, Eagles defensive end and a current teammate of Foles. Long, however, isn’t too pleased with the prospect of Foles possibly making the jump from Philadelphia to New York.
“I would hate to see him with the Giants just because I hate playing my friends, and if I end up back in Philly I’d have to play him twice a year. But I think whoever gets him is going to be very lucky. He’s a leader. He’s a franchise-type quarterback,” Long told NJ Advance Media.
Long also admitted that it looks like Foles will be moving on because of the quarterback battle with Carson Wentz. “The tough thing is we have another franchise quarterback, a guy who is homegrown and is going to be a great player for a long time to come.”
Foles isn’t the first option that Giants fans want, and the more popular route would be to stick with Eli Manning and attempt to develop a rookie quarterback from this year’s draft. However, the Giants going for a veteran to compete for the quarterback job can’t be ruled out completely, and if they go that direction, it definitely seems that Foles will be in the running for the job.