The 2019 free agency period is finally upon us, and one player that should be getting a lot of attention is quarterback Nick Foles. He’s officially free to sign with any team, and there are a few teams that want to win right now.
On February 5th, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to pick up quarterback Nick Foles’ $20 million dollar option. On that same day, Foles paid $2 million to void the Eagles’ option, thus making him a free agent. The Eagles could have franchised tag him, but they decided to not use the tag on Foles, which now makes him an unrestricted free agent.
It would have been smart to keep Foles as a backup should Carson Wentz not be fully healthy, but the cost is too steep. The latest reports indicate that Foles will sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars. With that in mind, how good is Foles? How does he stack up against other quarterbacks? What teams other than Jacksonville would benefit the most with Foles at the helm?
What team would fit Foles’ skills the best?
Here at Pro Football Network, we use our metric system for offensive players and how their skill sets are utilized. Our very own Brett Yarris, (@Brett_PFN_BX on Twitter), came up with this formula to find out how effective offensive players are during games. The formula is based on a rating of an offensive player’s performance called Offensive Share Metric (OSM).
Quarterback play is the focus of this article. We take away the stats or instances where it is out of the quarterback hands when, say, a wide open receiver drops a pass he should have caught. That negatively affects the stats of the quarterback because his completion percentage and rating takes a fall; All because the receiver dropped a pass.
Another metric focuses on a pass that is caught for a few yards, which then becomes a huge gain as a result of yards after the catch. We’re hoping that it can be more in-depth than a quarterback rating and could be looked at as part of something innovative like the NFL’s Next Gen Stats.
Foles is in the middle of the pack when it comes to his OSM ranking among other quarterbacks. That isn’t a bad thing. This ranking doesn’t mean the quarterback at the top is the best. What it’s proving is who is more responsible for the success of the offense and who isn’t. So Foles is pretty much in the middle: he does his part, and his receiving corps do theirs as well.
As an example of a quarterback whose ranking is very low and proves why it’s so low is Eli Manning, the lowest ranked quarterback. No surprise. This was due to Manning being very inaccurate at times and missing wide open receivers frequently. Even with Odell Beckham as his top receiver, Manning still struggled and is clearly showing his age. He is the main reason why the Giants’ offense struggled last season, hence his very low ranking.
What teams in need of a quarterback could be a fit for Foles?
One surprising team is the Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton had surgery on his throwing shoulder. There’s no need to rush Newton back if it may jeopardize his career, so why not think about signing Foles? Having a veteran quarterback who is also a Super Bowl winner and MVP would help the Panthers offense greatly. Carolina was 6-2 before Newton hurt his throwing shoulder. They lost every game afterward, except the season finale at New Orleans when they were already out of playoff contention.
A healthy Newton could have had them in the postseason. Carolina already has a dual-threat running back in Christian McCaffrey, but the receivers are lacking. Devin Funchess may not return. Torrey Smith was non-existent this past season. Jarius Wright underachieved. Greg Olsen may return, but his foot issues and desire to get into television are well known.
It all depends on how long of a contract Foles wants. He’s 30 years old, and this may be his last chance at a big payday. The Panthers may not want to pay much to Foles, especially is he’s not in the long-term plans. They could be interested in Colin Kaepernick, who’s collusion case ended recently. Kaepernick could be a cheap option for Carolina for a season while Newton recovers.
Another team that could be looking for a quarterback to start immediately is the Washington Redskins. Alex Smith‘s NFL career may be in doubt, and the other quarterbacks they have on the roster are, well, not impressive. Colt McCoy is a lifetime backup, and Josh Johnson only saw time because of Smith’s injury. Then there’s Mark Sanchez. Pass.
Foles is the biggest quarterback name in the free agent market. Would the Redskins go after a former Eagle to improve their roster? Of course, they would! It’s Washington we are talking about, and Foles is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. That should get Washington owner Dan Snyder very excited in more ways than one. As for the skill positions, Adrian Peterson may or may not come back. He’s an old school running back but showed signs he can catch balls coming out of the backfield. Derrius Guice’s rookie season lasted all of one quarter in the first game of the preseason when he tore his ACL. He should be available for the regular season, but there are no guarantees as of yet.
The Redskins have a subpar group of receivers. Jamison Crowder is a talented receiver, but injuries halted his 2018 to a career-low 388 receiving yards. Paul Richardson was also often injured. Tight end Jordan Reed is expected to stay in Washington, despite his, you guessed it, injury history. He’s a very productive pass catcher when healthy. Vernon Davis can be a good back up tight end if he can stay on the field. When it comes to the Redskins, it’s all about if they can stay healthy. Would Foles be able to produce with such undependable groups of offensive talent?
If Foles wants to win right now and start for a team who may be close, he may consider the Jaguars, hence the reason why he may end up signing with them. It also helps that his former quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia, John DeFilippo, is now the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville. They have a serious quarterback issue and should move on from Blake Bortles. The defense is still good, having ranked in fifth in total defense via ESPN.
The offense was the reason why they didn’t make the playoffs last season. Their quarterback play was that bad. The Jaguars’ passing game was atrocious at times, ranking 26th in both passing and receiving yards via ESPN. Running back Leonard Fournette played in only eight games and wasn’t effective. His lack of health and clashing with the team did not help matters either. His production plummeted from rushing for over 1000 yards in 2017 to 439 in 2018.
The Jaguars were hit with the injury bug early on with wide receiver Marqise Lee tearing his ACL in the preseason. Receiver Donte Moncrief had a decent season, considering Bortles and Cody Kessler were throwing him the ball. Foles can work with receivers like this, but how much money would Jacksonville want to throw at Foles? They should be the destination for Foles since Jacksonville is the most desperate for a starting quarterback right now.