Nick Foles

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ESPN predicts Foles will land in AFC South

Eliot Shorr-Parks
February 05, 2019 - 7:30 am

The guessing game as to where Eagles quarterback Nick Foles will end up next season has begun -- and all roads keep pointing to the South. 

In a recent piece for ESPN, NFL Insider Dan Graziano made 10 bold predictions for the 2019 season, and one of those predictions involved Foles ending up as the starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Graziano writes:

I believe the Eagles will work with Foles and allow him to have some say in where he ends up. I also believe they're wary of him ending up in the NFC East with Washington or the Giants, and directing him to a faraway AFC destination like Jacksonville will be more appealing to Howie Roseman & Co. Jacksonville's hiring of former Eagles QBs coach John DeFilippo as offensive coordinator could make the Jags appealing to Foles as well.

Although it isn't an ideal landing spot, Foles ending up with the Jaguars makes sense on a number of different levels. 

The Jaguars are one year removed from playing in the AFC Championship game, and although they missed the playoffs last year, they have not completely fallen apart . Their defense is still among the best in the NFL, finishing fourth overall in points allowed. They still have shutdown cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and considering how little help they got from their offense last season, the fact the Jaguars finished so high in points allowed is impressive. 

The issue for the Jaguars is their offense. Foles would be an upgrade over Blake Bortles, but the skill position players on the Jaguars’ offense leave a lot to be desired. It is possible that running back Leonard Fournette won't be back in Jacksonville next season, and the Jaguars don't have a big, physical player on the outside similar to Alshon Jeffery, a player Foles has had great success with over the last two seasons. As mentioned above, the Jaguars did hire former offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, however, which could entice Foles to agree to go Jacksonville.

EAGLES: Ranking Nick Foles' potential landing spots from best to worst

The question of whether the Eagles will be able to trade Foles to Jacksonville, as opposed to him going there as a free agent, is a complicated one. The Eagles can’t trade Foles until the new league year begins on March 13th at 4 p.m. They can negotiate a deal with a team under the table, and execute that trade as soon as the new league year begins, but they can’t officially trade Foles until March 13th. The Eagles also have to be under the salary cap by March 13th — which means if they want to trade Foles, they have to both have him under contract and be under the salary cap when the new league year begins. 

The Eagles are currently around $8 million over the salary cap, with Foles on the books for $20 million (the mutual option). That means if Foles and the team agree to the mutual option, the Eagles would have to shed around $8 million in salary cap space to trade Foles once the new league year begins. If they trade Foles for a draft pick, they would then get that $20 million in salary cap space to sign free agents. If the Eagles have to franchise tag Foles to trade him, and he signs it, the Eagles would need to clear $13 million-or-so to trade him. 

Which is why if Foles does end up in Jacksonville, chances are it is via free agency as opposed to a trade. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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