With the Panthers in the market for a quarterback, does embattled Jaguars’ quarterback Nick Foles make sense?
It’s no secret that the Panthers’ biggest decision this offseason will be at the quarterback position. Carolina will have the option to bring back franchise stalwart Cam Newton, add a quarterback through the draft, or pick up a quarterback through free agency or through trade.
If we scan the trade market, there doesn’t appear to be many starting quarterback options out there. In fact, Newton may be the most sought after trade candidate. However, one option for the Carolina Panthers could be former Super Bowl winner and current Jaguars’ back-up: Nick Foles. Would Foles be a good option in Carolina?
Why He Fits
We are only two years removed from Foles leading the Philadelphia Eagles on a miracle run through the playoffs and defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Foles completed 72.6 percent of his passes in the postseason while throwing for six touchdowns and one interception.
He followed up the 2017 miracle by nearly leading the Eagles to the championship in 2018, falling just short on the road in New Orleans when a pass was dropped by Alshon Jeffery.
He’ll forever be a legend in Philadelphia and there was much debate at the end of last season as to whether the Eagles should keep Foles or Carson Wentz. He’s an experienced quarterback with a championship pedigree that has proven the big stage isn’t too big for him.
Trading for Foles would fill the Panthers quarterback room for at least the next three years and allow them to retool instead of rebuilding. You could buy extra time to develop a quarterback and use this year’s first-round pick on a talented player at one of the team’s many other needs.
Foles would only likely require a late-round pick swap to acquire and there is the potential that the Jaguars would eat some of his remaining contract. If that’s the case, then there might not be a more attractive name on the market than Foles.
Why He Doesn’t Fit
There are several reasons that Foles wouldn’t be a great fit in Carolina. First off, his time in Jacksonville hasn’t exactly been stellar. Foles was signed to be the savior of the franchise, taking over an excellent roster that had fought to overcome the lackluster play of Blake Bortles for years.
Instead, he was injured in the first game of the season and ultimately has lost his starting job to rookie and 6th-round draft pick Gardner Minshew. When he did see the field, the results were less than ideal. Foles is 0-4 as the team’s starter, completing 65 percent of his passes and throwing three touchdowns and two interceptions. The Jaguars were blown out in each of his four starts and he hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since November 17th.
The most likely way the Panthers acquire Foles is through a late-round pick-swap that would result in the Panthers absorbing most or all of the remaining money on his contract. His cap hit for 2020 is slightly over $22 million dollars – a million dollars more than Newton’s cap hit and well above a rookie quarterback’s salary.
The Panthers would be able to exit Foles’ contract after 2020 but it would result in a $12.5 million cap hit for the following two seasons. If they elected to keep him, it would cost them about $27 million against the cap each year.
The Panthers would be much better off rebooting at the position than taking on a contract that the Jaguars clearly are ready to unload.
There are going to be a lot of ways the Panthers could fix the quarterback position next year. This one comes down to whether you think Foles can be a better and more reliable option than Cam in the short-term while pushing off the team’s need for a young quarterback.
In the end, my opinion is that the team should pass unless the Jaguars are willing to eat a significant amount of Foles’ remaining contract. If you can cut his cap hit in half then Foles can be a championship-level quarterback. It’s a situation the team should at least monitor going forward.