JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Jess from Glen Carbon, IL
When he has had a top offensive line, running back, wide receivers and tight ends, Nick Foles has been successful. When he hasn't had that offense, he hasn't had success. It should be apparent he isn't a starting-caliber NFL quarterback, because he hasn't been the starter most of his career – and there are no other teams pushing hard for him as a free agent this year. But, then again, why would the Jaguars decision-makers care about what others may or may not be doing? They've had so much more success compared to the rest of the league.
It’s fair to note that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles has shortcomings, and your arguments against the Jaguars reportedly signing him when unrestricted free agency begins are indeed the “cons” in this assessment. The “pros” are he’s a safe bet to be at least a moderate improvement over Blake Bortles in terms of clutch play late in games and accuracy. He also appears to be the best veteran quarterback available this offseason, so the Jaguars apparently are making their best effort to add a player who can make players around him better. The areas where your argument sort of falls short are the parts about no other teams pushing hard for him. This is an unusual year when few teams are seeking quarterback, and it’s left the Jaguars in the odd situation of perhaps being the only team in the Foles market. Either way, it’s not the Jaguars’ decision-makers job to worry about how the rest of the league feels about Foles, and their past track record – however you assess it – isn’t necessarily indicative of future results.
Travis from South Dakota
With a report coming out that Josh Rosen is on the trading block, does it not make sense for the Jags to try and deal for him? For a team in our cap situation, a quarterback on a rookie contract for a couple more years would be huge. Also, I can’t imagine the Jags didn’t have a first- or second-round grade on him and sounds like a second or third could get him. Doesn’t this make sense instead of paying Foles around 20 million?
I wouldn’t spend time or mental energy thinking through alternatives to Foles. Now, would the Jaguars consider Rosen as a supplement to Foles? Yes, depending on the price. And opinions currently vary wildly – anywhere from a first- to a third-round selection – about what it will take to deal for Rosen. If it’s a third-round selection, dealing for him makes sense. If it’s a first-round selection, it makes less sense.
Matt from Bremen, IN
John, let’s say we sign Foles – as rumors suggest – to a three-year, $60-to-65 million deal. What does that do to our ability to sign cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Myles Jack and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue? My fear is the Foles signing may give us a slightly better offense this year in exchange for significantly hurting our defense in the two-or-three years after. I don’t want Coughlin’s legacy with the Jags to be the only guy to put us into salary cap hell twice.
Coughlin’s Jaguars legacy will be as the head coach of the most successful period in franchise history to date, and for being in charge when the team made the AFC title game following the 2017 season. As for Foles’ contract, I expect it would be in the $18-to-21-million-per-year range over two or three years. That won’t preclude the Jaguars from their signing elite, young players to long-term contracts. It will force them to get creative and make decisions at other positions, but getting creative and making decisions is the norm for talented NFL rosters.
Stephen from Belfast, North Ireland
I like the potential Foles signing. I’m not sure he is the guy, but at least if you pick him you don’t have to go mad and trade a load of picks to move up for one of the two big-name quarterbacks. By signing Foles, they can let the draft come to them. If one of the quarterbacks falls there, you can maybe move down a few spots and pick up a pick or two, or if you love them you can still pick them and have them sit for a couple of years behind Foles. I know you have said the second scenario is unlikely, but if they believe either guy is a true franchise quarterback they would be crazy not to pick them, just because you have signed a 30-year-old guy for a few years.
I like the idea of the Jaguars selecting a quarterback in the Top 10 if they sign Foles. I like this because your chances of finding an elite quarterback in the Top 10 are better than of finding one later in the draft – and if you’re signing Foles you’re doing so assuming you won’t be selecting in the Top 10 for the foreseeable future. I don’t think this is the route the Jaguars will take, but I like it.
John from Jacksonville
Any quarterback will be perceived as an improvement, including Bortles, this coming season. The NFL is so hellbent on not using injuries as an excuse that our decision-makers will switch their quarterback (in this case Bortles for Foles) so that they can win on the perception that they upgraded the position. Never mind the fact that Bortles progressed and was a play or two away from a Super Bowl. Never mind he was leading a hot 3-1 team last season without a key wide receiver and then starters started dropping like flies. Bortles played mistake-free football during the playoffs and was positioned to do it again. If he gets a chance to start somewhere else, he will prove everyone wrong. With a healthy offense, Foles is not an improvement over Bortles. More than one fer Blake.
Keith from Jacksonville and Section 436
If the Jags truly are going to be the only team bidding for Foles, couldn't they start negotiations with a one year, prove-it deal, and if it doesn't work, they don't get burdened by salary-cap issues and can pursue a quarterback in the seemingly much better 2020 class? Couldn't they start negotiations with a real low number like $10 million knowing he may not be able to get anything more and be an instant starter?
Theoretically, yes. But I imagine there will be at least a team or two other than the Jaguars interested enough to get a feel for a starting point on Foles. If the starting point was as low as $10 million, there could be more of a market.
C.D. from Fleming Island, FL
Hey John, I'm a little confused about this Foles story. So agents/players can't talk about deals until March 11. But the philly.com story broke, and then ESPN and NFL.com kinda confirmed that some talks were happening. So, are these reports bogus? And if not, if the Jags are talking to Foles or his representation, do they have to speak in code words or something? What do I have wrong here; can you help me make sense of this?
Until I hear or read something officially, I will officially assume that stories about Foles to the Jaguars are just really well-informed, well-thought-out speculation.
Mike from Eagle River, AK
Throughout David Caldwell's tenure as Jaguars general manager, I think he has proven to be a very patient, long-term-oriented decision-maker. Keeping that in mind, I'm really not sure how the reported Foles interest makes a lot of sense, especially in the long haul. While the 2017 playoff run was certainly legitimate and earned, so was last season when we went 5-11. If we are trying to build long-term success wouldn't it make a lot more sense to draft a rookie quarterback and build around him and his blissfully affordable rookie contract?
The Jaguars aren’t currently in the business of building for a future year at the expense of the present. That was for 2013 and 2014 when the talent level was low, and there was a thought that young players needed time to develop. The thought now is that the roster is talented enough with a few tweaks and additions to win now.
Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington, FL
Could you please explain why it is better to just move on from Bortles? And not keep him another season with a rookie to follow?
Because the Jaguars have decided he’s not the quarterback of the future, and because they don’t want him to be the quarterback of the present.
Jason from Da’Hass
Saw a tweet a few weeks ago. This guy had fancy charts, statistics and such showing no correlation between height and performance when it comes to quarterback. Now that I don’t have to worry about quarterback height I can go all in on Murray now. Just thought you’d like to know, big fella.
I hope you enjoy watching him – wherever he may play.