Exploring potential landing spots for free agent Nick Foles

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) celebrates a touchdown with wide receiver Torrey Smith (82). (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

With Wednesday’s news that the Philadelphia Eagles won’t place the franchise tag on backup quarterback Nick Foles, we’re about to see where the next chapter of his career will take place as he readies to hit the open market.

The only issue is, the market isn’t looking all that open these days. The influx of young talent over the past few seasons has many teams locked in at the position, and while there would be plenty of openings for a veteran to back up and guide these young QBs, Foles has made it clear he wants to lead a locker room as a starter.

The Denver Broncos looked like a good fit for Foles’ services until they agreed to a trade with the Baltimore Ravens to land Joe Flacco. Meanwhile, a new crop of draftees coming in has other teams looking to the draft for their next man up. Could he still end up in Philly? Sure, anything can happen. Though he’d be back in his backup position and wouldn’t garner quite as big a paycheque as he might as a starter, so it seems unlikely at this point.

With all this in mind, here’s a look at five teams with questions at the quarterback position this off-season, and whether or not Foles might make sense as their starter in 2019.

Jacksonville Jaguars

This just makes so much sense, doesn’t it? Despite a pretty abysmal season last year, the Jaguars look like they’re ready to win… if only they had a capable quarterback.

Though Blake Bortles’ name is still atop the depth chart, it seems inevitable the club will part ways with the man they handed a three-year extension to just a year ago. They could get a QB via the draft (Kyler Murray, perhaps?), but considering the ready-to-win state of this defence, there’s not a whole lot of time to wait for a rookie to find his game, so it makes sense to bring in someone with a proven track record.

To make this match even more perfect, the club brought in former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo – one of the coaches behind Foles’ incredible title run in Philly – last month as offensive coordinator.

Miami Dolphins

If it’s not Jacksonville, it could still be the Sunshine State for Foles.

Will Ryan Tannehill be the starter here again, or is the club that drafted him eighth overall in 2012 ready to move on? It’s hard to say. New head coach Brian Flores dropped the “Everything is on the table” line during a press conference at the NFL Combine on Wednesday, but the team’s painful mediocrity suggests it might be time for a change. Signing Nick Foles and drafting a quarterback to develop behind him could be the answer should the Dolphins choose to turn the page.

New York Giants*

This seems unlikely, right? Right. But it’s at least worth including on this list considering all the questions being asked about how much longer Eli Manning can be a starter in this league, or if those days are already behind him.

The Giants gave the 38-year-old a vote of confidence last year when they drafted running back Saquon Barkley instead of Manning’s replacement, but it sure feels like this year’s draft will tell a different story. General manager Dave Gettleman spoke highly Wednesday of “The Kansas City model” – prepping a young guy behind a veteran starter, as Patrick Mahomes did in 2017 with the Chiefs before lighting the league on fire this past season – but left a little bit of room for speculation around who, exactly, that veteran starter might be.

Washington Redskins*

We knew Alex Smith would be in for a long recovery after he suffered a devastating compound fracture to his right leg back in November, but it remains unclear just how long he’ll be out. All indications point to him sitting out the 2019 season, which leaves this club in a tricky position.

They’ve committed a lot of money to Smith, who performed well before his Week 10 injury, and drafting a quarterback this year would suggest moving on from the veteran altogether. Money could also be an issue, seeing as how much they spent on Smith, but a short-term deal could make sense for Foles in his search for a starting gig, especially if Washington has any doubts about Colt McCoy being up to the task.

*Yes, it feels weird having two of the Eagles’ division rivals on this list. Wondering aloud here, but might Foles wish to steer clear of these clubs given his legend status in Philadelphia? Worth asking.

Oakland Raiders

Ah, the curious case of Derek Carr and the Raiders, whose wealth of high draft picks will put them firmly atop every trade destination piece this off-season. Carr’s status with the club has seemed a little murky, and it certainly feels like there will be a new quarterback at the helm upon arrival in Vegas.

Any curiosity we had surrounding a possibility of Carr being dealt elsewhere and Foles being brought in to start ahead of a new draft pick (an unlikely scenario, sure) was promptly put to rest when new GM Mike Mayock gave Carr a giant vote of confidence during a press conference Wednesday.

So… Jacksonville it is, yes?

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