INDIANAPOLIS – While a few teams in the NFL have no viable starting quarterbacks on their roster, the Philadelphia Eagles have too many.
It’s not a bad problem to have, of course. But at some point Carson Wentz will return from a knee injury. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will then go to the bench. And the Eagles like third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld too.
The easiest way to fix that logjam is to trade Foles. He should have a market, especially if teams like the Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals or the Denver Broncos strike out on their preferred quarterback plans. But it’s not an easy decision to trade Foles, considering Wentz’s health and how valuable backup quarterbacks can be. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman didn’t sound like he’s in a hurry to trade Foles.
“We’re trying to keep as many good players as possible, and we’re talking about a Super Bowl MVP,” Roseman said. “He’s been unbelievably successful for us, he’s got great character, great leadership. That room is exactly what we’re looking for. We have a franchise quarterback, we have a Super Bowl MVP, and we have a young quarterback we’re excited about.”
That’s the answer Roseman has to give in a public setting, no matter if he knows he wants to trade Foles. And it would make sense if Foles was moved at the peak of his value. But the Eagles could regret moving Foles if Wentz falls behind schedule or gets hurt again, no matter how many draft picks they get back in a Foles trade.
However, trading Foles is a possibility, especially if a team that needs a quarterback makes a big offer. While Roseman made it clear that he wasn’t talking about Sudfeld in terms of what the Eagles might do with Foles, he talked extensively about how much the team liked Sudfeld, who completed 19 of 23 passes in the Eagles’ regular-season finale when he got a shot. Sudfeld’s potential might make it easier to move Foles, but not necessarily. No team knows the importance of having a good, experienced backup quarterback better than the Eagles.
“We’ll see. We’ll see where it goes,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “Howie just mentioned we want everybody back, but we know the nature of the business.”
Wentz’s recovery from a late-season ACL tear is a big part of the equation, and while it might be a few months before the Eagles know if Wentz will be ready by Week 1, Roseman said, “We’re going to take care of him and do the right things by him.” He’s too valuable to rush back, and the Eagles could have more patience if Foles is still on the roster.
No matter what the Eagles do, they’re in good shape. Either they cash in on Foles’ playoff run to get some valuable draft picks, or keep a player who has to be considered the NFL’s best backup quarterback. Roseman said the team has confidence in its “franchise quarterback” Wentz (let’s dismiss the notion there’s any quarterback controversy if Wentz is healthy), in its Super Bowl MVP backup and its intriguing third quarterback too. That’s a good reason to not rush into a trade.
“When you put your head on the pillow at night, that gives us some relaxation,” Roseman said.
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