The Philadelphia Eagles would be absolutely crazy to get rid of Nick Foles now after he slayed the mighty Patriots, and was rightfully named the Super Bowl MVP. Yes, they have Carson Wentz, a legitimate MVP candidate, before he got hurt. And yes, Foles will likely be Wentz's backup again next season.
But didn't Foles just prove to everyone how valuable a backup quarterback on a contender really is?
Of course he did. And the Eagles know it. That's why he's not going anywhere.
But what if - just what if - the Eagles decided that Foles was more valuable to them as trade-bait. Would he be a good option for the Jets?
The answer is complicated, and depends on a lot of factors. Generally, yes he'd be a good option for any quarterback-starved franchise, but far from the best option. And there are considerable risks.
What the 29-year-old Foles is, on this market, is a lesser and less-expensive version of Kirk Cousins. He's also an older and slightly-less risky version of the quarterbacks at the top of the draft. He's got a track record, but it's mixed. His ceiling is high, but not sky high. So, despite what everyone saw from him during the Eagles' Super Bowl run, acquiring him brings a decent-sized element of the unknown.
Now, the reward for betting on that unknown could be high. Foles' performance during the postseason was simply spectacular. He completed 72.6 percent of his passes for 971 yards in three games, with six touchdowns, and only one interception. It's hard to imagine Wentz or any of the NFL's elite quarterbacks doing much better than that.
And he has done that before. Back in 2013, he started 10 games for the Eagles, and had an incredible season with 27 touchdown passes and just two interceptions.
The problem is, between 2013 and the 2017 playoff run, Foles had a lot of mediocre play spread across three NFL teams.
That makes him a journeyman with an upside. Any team that gets him would have to bank on the idea that the Foles of 2013 and late 2017 is the real deal -- not the version the league saw from 2014-16. It's similar to the risk the Jets took when they brought Ryan Fitpatrick back in 2016 after his spectacular 2015 season. They chose to ignore the rest of his history and believe what they just saw.
Obviously that didn't work out.
Still, Foles is younger and his upside does seem higher. But compare his positives to those of Cousins, who is only five months older than Foles. He's started every game for the Redskins over the last three seasons and completed about 67 percent of his passes for an average of 4,392 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Those are elite numbers, with no mediocre seasons sandwiched between. He is a franchise quarterback who has played like one for most of the last 48 games.
That's a pattern, not a hot streak that may or may not be real.
Of course, there's a cost to that - probably about $30 million per year for Cousins, likely with more than $70 million guaranteed. Foles would cost a draft pick - at least a first-rounder seems likely, or perhaps multiple seconds - and probably a lesser contract extension. His current contract expires after he makes $4 million in salary (and $3 million in a roster bonus, with a cap charge of $7.6 million) in 2018.
It's a significant savings if a team believes in Foles.
Of course, if a team like the Jets is willing to take the risk on Foles, believing that his good stretches are more real than his bad ones, why not turn to the draft instead? The Jets could be in position to draft one of the Big Four quarterbacks coming out this year - Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield - especially if they try to trade up. Drafting a quarterback is always a risk. Will they be the next Wentz, or the next Tim Couch?
But that risk would be far less costly with a quarterback on a rookie salary for 4-5 seasons. Those quarterbacks are also markedly younger, and their ceilings could be higher. If the Jets want to take a risk on someone unknown, isn't it better to bet on a 22-year-old with his whole future in front of him instead of a 29-year-old who was considering retiring a short time ago?
So that's the deal for the Jets: They could invest in the sure-but-expensive-thing in Cousins, take a risk on a kid at the top of the draft, or give up a draft pick and decent money to take that risk on Foles. Trading for him wouldn't be the worst idea. There are just better ideas out there. He feels like another Neil O'Donnell -- a quarterback the Jets overspent on back in 1997, who was good, but never great.
The Jets should go for great. The Jets should aim higher, even, than the reigning Super Bowl MVP.
It wont matter, of course, because Foles is almost certainly not going to be available. And for the Jets, that's probably for the best.