The Eagles decision to give guard Stefen Wisniewski a $250,000 no-strings-attached signing bonus to make up for a $250,000 playing-time incentive he failed to earn impressed many as a fair and appropriate gesture. Some of the other players on the Philadelphia roster may have a different reaction.
“Where’s my reward?” they may wonder.
Indeed, any other player who played a significant role in the regular-season or postseason performances who narrowly missed an incentive or escalator would be justified in wondering whether he’ll get a money-for-nothing bump to his 2018 pay. Apart from that, one specific player who had the biggest hand in getting the team to Minneapolis and delivering Philadelphia its first Lombardi Trophy may be hoping for a chance to get more money, from the Eagles or from a different team.
Yes, if the Eagles are handing out Super Bowl cookies, Nick Foles should want the biggest one. As he makes the rounds with TV hosts would wouldn’t have been able to distinguish him from Jon Heder two months ago, Foles danced around the question of whether he wants a chance to get paid a lot more than $7 million in 2018, or to be a starter elsewhere. Considering the full scope of his answers, however, it’s clear that the issue eventually will come up.
“Are you gonna re-sign you’re saying with the Eagles?” Ellen Degeneres asked Foles. “What’s happening?”
Foles didn’t shut the question down by simply saying, “Actually, I’m already signed for next year. So it’s not an issue.” Instead, he gave an answer hinting that a request for something is coming.
“That’s a question that everyone wants to know,” Foles said. “My honest answer, not being politically correct, is all I want to do is just be with my wife, be with my daughter. All that stuff will take care of itself. I’ve been waiting. It’s a long season. We go through a lot. The family sacrificed a lot. Just literally the simple things of just like being there and being present, being at the home all day, being able to go on walks. We have a dog Henry. If I didn’t mention him he’d be sad because he’s gonna watch. Those little things that’s what I look forward to. We’ll see what happens with my career.”
That’s not a commitment to go along with whatever the Eagles want to do. It’s an effort to shift the focus on his career away from the present, with an acknowledgment that the details of his career for 2018 and beyond will be resolved in the not-too-distant future.
Later in the week, Foles was pressed more aggressively on the question of whether he can go back to being a backup quarterback.
“You have to be a starter,” Kimmel said. “You must, you have to be. You’re the Super Bowl MVP.”
Again, he didn’t say something like, “Well, I have a contract with Philadelphia for 2018, and Carson Wentz is the starter.” Instead, he said this: “Yeah, I mean, that’s a question that everyone wants to know. The thing I look forward to — the season’s a long season. The family, my wife. We have an eight-month-old daughter Lily. They sacrifice throughout the year because it’s a seven-day-a-week job, we’re in the facility, come back late. Right now, it’s just focusing on being a husband and father to the best of my ability. This is a time I really look forward to. And then with that part of football, we love Philly. That stuff’s out of my control. We have agents that handle all of that, but we love Philly. We love the situation and we’ll worry about it when that time comes. . . . Yeah, we love Philly. We came back to Philly and they had us. Just to be a part of the community to be a part of bringing the first Super Bowl there. That’s something that’s really special.”
Of course, if it were that simple, there would be nothing for agents to do. Foles would simply be staying put at $7 million for the final year of his deal and then next year would be the time when “stuff will take care of itself” and when “we’ll see what happens with my career.” The fact that he’s not making it clear that there’s no decision to make and nothing to talk about for 2018 strongly suggests that there is something to to talk about — and that it could be Foles’ desire either for a financial reward (much greater than $250,000) to stay with the Eagles or a chance to strike while the iron is glowing.
By pushing it all to his agents, Foles hopes to avoid losing any of the lifetime of goodwill he has earned among Eagles fans. But the agents work for Foles, and all he has to do is to tell them, “I don’t want more money, and I don’t want to be a starter with another team.” Unless and until he does, there’s a chance that the agents will try to squeeze the Eagles for something more than $7 million to continue to serve as the understudy to Wentz.