USA Today Sports

How much money will Nick Foles get in free agency?

Eliot Shorr-Parks
February 12, 2019 - 8:18 am

When discussing this offseason, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles has made one thing clear — he wants to be a free agent. 

That doesn’t mean he definitely wants out of Philadelphia, or that he 100% wouldn’t accept a trade somewhere. What it does mean is that, no matter what, Foles wants to choose where he goes. Being shipped to St. Louis earlier in his career against his will taught him the value of being able to choose his next team. 

That last part is key, and it the top reason the Eagles trying to trade Foles won’t be easy. He is only going to consider accepting a trade to a place he wants to go. He isn’t going to be play nice and be sent to a team on a one-year franchise tag against his will. 

Unless. 

Although there are plenty of complications to trading Foles, it would be a lot easier if Foles agrees to the franchise tag and agrees to be traded. The only way he is going to do that is if he and his agent don’t believe he is going to get over $25 million in guaranteed money as a free agent. Then, signing the franchise tag — which is likely going to be around $25 million — makes sense for Foles and the Eagles. Foles gets more than he would as a free agent, the Eagles get something of value in return when they trade him.  

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Add everything up, and Foles signing the franchise tag — and not fighting being tagged to be traded — comes down to whether or not he feels he can net over $25 million in guaranteed money as a free agent. 

As Foles and his agent survey the market, and gauge interest from teams, they will be looking at recent quarterback contracts to decide what they believe is a fair contract. They must already like what they have been hearing, as Foles turned down a $20 million salary from the Eagles for 2019, and paid back $2 million to hit free agency. That means Foles has already passed on $22 million, a decision he likely wouldn’t have made if he didn’t think he would recoup it in free agency. 

Figuring out what Foles is worth is not easy, considering his unique career. He has never been a starter for multiple years in a row, let alone one. Yet with a Super Bowl MVP on his resume and a playoff run last year, he has clearly shown he can play at an elite level. 

There have been four contracts handed out after the last two seasons that you can make some comparison to Foles with. Alex Smith, who is considered a game manager, got a 4-year, $94 million deal from the Washington Redskins, who also traded for him. Smith got a whopping $55 million guaranteed at signing and $71 million in practical guarantees. Chances are Foles won’t come close to that. 

Another player that could be compared to Foles is Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo, like Foles, did not have consistent starting experience prior to signing his 5-year, $137 million contract with $41 million guaranteed at signing and $74 million in practical guarantees. With Garoppolo considered to have a much higher ceiling than Foles, and being younger as well, it is likely teams won’t buy the comparison between the 49ers quarterback and Foles. 

Two contracts that Foles’ agent will likely point two? Blake Bortles’ 3-year, $54 million contract with $26.5 million guaranteed at signing, and Case Keenum’s 2 year, $36 million deal with $25 million guaranteed at signing. Both of those were contracts for starting quarterbacks at the lower end of the market. Notice both also included at least $25 million in guarantees, which is right around what Foles would get on the franchise tag. 

Add everything up, and Foles should feel confident going into free agency that he will get over $25 million in guaranteed money. His actions — turning dow $22 million — seem to indicate he and his agent believe he will as well. 

Which is why if the Eagles do try to tag Foles, he would be wise to fight it, because there is likely more money waiting for him in free agency. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at [email protected]!

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