The Eagles seem to be intent on applying the franchise tag to quarterback Nick Foles, not to keep him but to trade him. Specifically, to trade him to a team other than the Giants or Washington.
Given the decision of the Denver Broncos to trade for Joe Flacco in lieu of pursuing Foles, an important question needs to be considered: Will there be a significant market for the Super Bowl LII MVP?
The teams looking for a potential starting quarterback include the Dolphins, the Jaguars, the Giants (maybe), and Washington. Would these teams invest $25 million or more per year in Foles, or would they wait for the draft, where a quarterback would be available at a total value of less than $25 million over four full years?
If the Eagles intend to tag and trade Foles, and with the Broncos officially out of the mix, the non-NFC East options may be the Dolphins and Jaguars — and only the Dolphins and Jaguars. And if the Dolphins decide to pursue a rookie quarterback of their own (the Jets and Bills got their first-rounders in 2018), it leaves the Jaguars as the only viable player for Foles.
So what would the Jaguars give the Eagles to get Foles? More importantly, what would they pay Foles?
If Foles is tagged, he’ll be looking at roughly $25 million fully guaranteed for 2019. It wouldn’t make sense for him to accept a long-term deal worth less than that per year. So would the Jaguars send a mid-round pick to Philly and pay Foles $25 million per year or more?
Maybe. Maybe not. The point is that the Eagles and Foles may not have many options, which gives the Jaguars real leverage. So much leverage that the Jaguars could say to the Eagles, “We’re not paying him $25 million per year.” Which means that, unless someone else will, the Eagles could tag Foles and be stuck with a backup making more than 25 times what the starter will earn in 2019.
Foles’ camp has been conspicuously quiet in recent weeks, at a time when they could be balking about the team’s plan to tag him simply to trade him — a plan that would violate the CBA. Perhaps Foles and his agents are doing nothing to push back against the prospect of being tagged because they’ve made enough calls around the league (sure, it’s tampering; sure, it happens) to know that, for 2019, his best outcome is to get tagged, and to pounce on it.