The fifth day of the league year typically triggers plenty of salary guarantees and roster bonuses in player contracts. (For that reason, you’ll see urgent tweets that make these known-for-a-year transactions seem like breaking news.)
For Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, it’s been known since he rejoined the Eagles as a free agent that he has a $3 million roster bonus due today. It’s not a reward for winning the Super Bowl. It’s a payment that was negotiated when he signed with the Eagles last year, and it became fully guaranteed five days after the signed the contract on March 13, 2017, based on a breakdown of the deal obtained by PFT last year.
By not trading Foles before the date on which the roster bonus became due, the Eagles will pay the money — thereby reducing by $3 million his total compensation package for 2018. His salary, per NFLPA records, remains at $4 million. (It’s possible his playoff performance unlocked a $500,000 salary escalator.)
The fact that the Eagles will pay the bonus to Foles doesn’t automatically take him off the trade market. However, it could make the Eagles want a little bit more in exchange for Foles, given that they’ve already paid him $3 million.
Foles would surely want a new deal, if he’s eventually traded to a new team. Given the rash of free-agent quarterback signings in recent days (and the lack of obvious starting quarterback openings), there’s currently no obvious seat for Foles. Which means that the Eagles may have to wait for another Bridgewater-style stroke of bad luck for another team — and good luck for the Eagles — in order to flip Foles for picks like they did two years ago, when trading Sam Bradford after paying him an $11 million signing bonus on a two-year deal.
Given last year’s injury to Carson Wentz, the best move for the Eagles could be to keep Foles. But Foles, who played a key role in delivering the city its first ever Super Bowl championship, could be interested in getting a chance to start elsewhere now.
He may not have a say in the matter, and he could end up being relegated to continuing to be the No. 1 guy until Wentz is ready to go. The extra game or two (or more) of film could come in handy next year, when Foles definitely becomes a free agent again, unless he signs a new contract with the Eagles before then.
Regardless, the contract he signed a year ago gives him $3 million now. Nothing he accomplished in the past year would have changed that.