A player who wins Super Bowl MVP honors doesn’t often find himself on a different team the next season.
It has happened before but not recently. The last quarterback to lead his team to a championship and sign elsewhere in the following free-agency period was Trent Dilfer, who won Super Bowl XXXV with the Baltimore Ravens and then joined the Seattle Seahawks in 2001. The Ravens actually got rid of both of their quarterbacks after the 2000 season, additionally cutting Tony Banks, who was benched in favor of Dilfer.
Nick Foles faces a uncommon situation this offseason. After leading the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl in franchise history, the quarterback could become a hot trade prospect for teams willing to make executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman an offer the team can’t refuse. Foles, who was brought in to back up Carson Wentz last offseason, is set to make $7 million with Philadelphia in 2018. But with a roster that’s roughly $10 million over the salary cap and Wentz expected to return from injury, Philadelphia could decide to trade Foles and earn even more in the process — perhaps a first-round draft pick.
One team that might be interested in making Foles part of the equation as it decides its future at quarterback is the Minnesota Vikings.
Attempting to acquire Nick Foles in a trade has merit for Minnesota, with all three of its quarterbacks set to become free agents. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
The offseason is officially underway for all 32 teams after Super Bowl LII wrapped up in Minneapolis, and the Vikings are still searching to fulfill their top priority of hiring an offensive coordinator. General manager Rick Spielman said last week that they hope to interview “maybe one or two more” for the position, which is presumably why there hasn’t been a hire yet after four interviews that took place beginning the Friday after the Vikings lost the NFC Championship Game.
One reason for the holdup, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, is that Minnesota is interested in talking with Philadelphia quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, but cannot do so until Feb. 14, which is 10 days from the end of the Eagles’ season.
If DeFilippo ends up being the guy coach Mike Zimmer, Spielman and the Wilf family want to bring on as the next offensive coordinator, how appropriate might it be for him to bring his Super Bowl-winning quarterback with him via a trade?
Even if the Vikings decide to go elsewhere with their offensive coordinator search, keeping Foles in the picture makes sense.
How the Vikings decide who will be their quarterback in 2018 will play into the likelihood of Minnesota contending for a Super Bowl title again next season. The clarity of the Vikings’ quarterback picture is like a badly developed Polaroid. On one hand, Minnesota has three quarterbacks set to be free agents in March that it could choose from. Case Keenum leading the Vikings to a 13-3 record and NFC title-game appearance seems like the safest bet with the questions surrounding the knees of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford, but who’s to say Minnesota can’t find a way to bring back two of their three current QBs? And what if the Vikings decide to clean house? It would make just as much sense to throw Foles into the mix as it would Kirk Cousins, who unlike the Eagles’ quarterback, hasn’t won a playoff game.
In three postseason victories, Foles completed 72.6 percent of his passes for 971 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. The argument that a team can win a championship with a “system quarterback” is valid, as is the case with Foles’ success within the parameters of the run-pass option. But the throws he made to Alshon Jeffery, Corey Clement and Zach Ertz against the New England Patriots — all for touchdowns — showed that he’s more than a system QB.
An argument about Foles’ past ups and downs will certainly surface. After recording a 27-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2013, Foles threw seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions the following season.
So it raises the question: If the Vikings choose to look outside of their roster for next year’s QB, is it too early to go all-in on someone like Foles, especially since Minnesota is looking for a long-term solution, not a quick fix, at the position?
“That’s the ultimate plan, whether at the quarterback position or any position, you’re hoping that you’re making that decision for the long haul, not for a short-term solution,” Spielman said. “But the one thing that you can’t predict is you can’t predict injuries.”
The Eagles winning a Super Bowl with a backup quarterback who was thrust into the mix much later in the season than when Keenum took over for Bradford points to the fact that it indeed can be done. In the right system, with the right coaching, Philadelphia got the best out of Foles, who would have arguably equal the playmakers in Minnesota as he does currently.