Nick Foles will become a free agent after Eagles decide not to use franchise tag on him
INDIANAPOLIS - Quarterback Nick Foles, the former Super Bowl MVP who led the Philadelphia Eagles back to the playoffs this past season, will be an unrestricted free agent in mid-March, unencumbered by the franchise tag.
The Eagles announced Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine that they will not use their franchise player designation on Foles, making him one of the more coveted players in this year's free agent market.
"After a lot of conversation, we think letting him become a free agent is the right thing to do," said Howie Roseman, the Eagles' executive vice president of football operations. "He's a tremendous player, Super Bowl MVP, and someone we feel is a top-15 quarterback in this league. We were incredibly fortunate to have him and wish him the best of luck in the future."
Foles can sign with any team beginning March 13, when free agency opens. There had been speculation that the Eagles might use the franchise tag on Foles and then attempt to trade him. Instead, he will be able to choose his next team.
Many within the league seem to expect Foles will end up in Jacksonville as the Jaguars' replacement for Blake Bortles. The Miami Dolphins could try to sign him as an alternative to Ryan Tannehill. The Washington Redskins could consider him to take over for the injured Alex Smith, although a price tag expected to exceed $20 million per season could be too costly for them. There also has been talk of the New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals or Oakland Raiders chasing him.
Foles took over as the Eagles' starter late in the 2017 season, after Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury in December, and led the team to a Super Bowl triumph over the New England Patriots. Foles got the Eagles back into the playoffs this past season with Wentz sidelined by a back injury, winning an opening-round game at Chicago before losing an NFC semifinal at New Orleans.
"I think the big thing is what the city means to me," Foles said after the season-ending defeat to the Saints. "It's always welcomed me and my family. It's really been a joy to live there and be a part of everything, wear the green and wear the jersey. No matter what, you can't ever take that away. We were able to do some really special things. We'll see what happens. But I'll tell you this: I've enjoyed every single moment, and it'll always have a special place in my heart - the city, the fans, the people, everything about it."
The Eagles have said they are committed to Wentz as their starter. They exercised their $20 million option for next season in Foles' contract, but Foles then exercised his $2 million buyout of that mutual option. That set up Wednesday's farewell announcement.
"We made this decision as an organization and we feel very comfortable about it," Roseman said Wednesday. "Again, [it was a] hard decision. Nick is someone that means a lot to us professionally and personally. But at the end of the day, as an organization we felt like it was the right thing to do."
This article was written by Mark Maske, a reporter for The Washington Post.