Philadelphia Eagles’ Nick Foles walks fine line, explains reworked contract
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles in action against the New England Patriots at Super Bowl 52 on Sunday, February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis. Philadelphia won the game, 41-33.(AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
PHILADELPHIA — Eagles quarterback Nick Foles repeated the phrase “unique situation” a couple times during Tuesday afternoon’s news conference at NovaCare Complex, and there’s reason to excuse his redundancy.
Once Carson Wentz returns to the field following rehab from a torn ACL, Foles expects to return to a backup role less than a year after winning Super Bowl MVP honors. That’s never happened in the NFL.
Jeff Hostetler led the Giants to the title in 1990 as a replacement for Phil Simmons, but he won the starting job in an open competition the next fall. The Ravens chose not to re-sign Trent Dilfer after the 2000 Super Bowl, and several quarterbacks have retired in the wake of championship victories.
No Super Bowl-winning quarterback, however, has stayed with his team and sat on the bench the next season as a clear-cut No. 2. Foles is in position to be the first. And while the 29-year-old signal-caller would like to be the starter for an NFL franchise again, he also said he hasn’t asked the Eagles to release him or felt frustrated with his role.
Instead, Foles and the Eagles reworked his contract last week. The new deal gave the quarterback a $2 million bonus and included a mutual option for the 2019 season.
That means Philadelphia can keep Foles on its roster beyond next year, but if they exercise that option, Foles has the right to buy the team out and enter free agency.
“It was sort of a mutual thing,” Foles said. “We had been talking about it, just because of the situation we’re in. The contract, if you really analyze it, it’s really a good, good contract. It benefits me; it also benefits the team, as well. They have an option on me. We were able to basically create something that protected me and protected the team, because it is a unique situation we’re in now.”
Likely the only reason the Eagles would exercise the option to keep Foles in 2019 would be if Wentz suffers another injury or struggles to recapture his success from last season. Foles, though, said he and Wentz remain close and that both players understand the contract is about security and flexibility.
“Carson still knows where he is,” Foles said.
And that’s at the top of the organization. Wentz is the most important figure for the team; he’s the centerpiece to its future.
Foles cemented his prominent place in Eagles history by leading them to their first Super Bowl, but moving forward, his status is murky. He could be an integral part to a quest for sustained success, he might spend another season backing up Wentz or he could wind up on another team in a few months through a trade.
That’s unusual. It’s odd. It is, in Foles’ words, unique for a reigning Super Bowl MVP.
Foles appears to be taking it in stride. He said he enjoys the Eagles locker room, values his strong relationship with Wentz and looks to his faith and family to remain grounded — and those facts, according to Foles, won’t change no matter how this offseason plays out.
“Do I want to lead a team again? Absolutely,” Foles said. “But am I trying to run away and do that right now? Well, if it presents itself and that works out, then fine, we’ll live in that moment. But at the same time, I’m so grateful to be a part of this organization. Like I said, it is a really special place.”
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