The Los Angeles Rams finally pulled the plug on failed experiment Nick Foles, announcing on Wednesday that they would be releasing the quarterback they once traded for. Foles was initially traded for in return for former #1 overall pick Sam Bradford, but flamed out in just one season with the Rams.
Rams expecting to release QB Nick Foles, sources say. Trade never materialized. Release will make him a free agent. Not subject to waivers.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 27, 2016
Foles had already lost his starting job before the end of his lone season with the team in 2015, but was made extra expendable with the selection of California product Jared Goff with the first pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. The Rams opted to wait on cutting Foles loose in an effort to drum up trade interest, but found no willing takers.
The move makes good sense for the Rams based on the health of the position, but it’s still a costly one. Los Angeles traded for Foles thinking they were getting a stable and competent upgrade over the often injured Bradford, but instead got an inaccurate, erratic turnover machine. Foles lasted just 11 games as the starter in 2015, putting up a weak 56% completion rate and just seven touchdowns against 12 turnovers.
Still Some Value
While Foles clearly didn’t work out with the Rams, there is still an argument he has value in the NFL. Still just 27 years old, Foles has a penchant for the deep ball and when he has time to throw, has displayed sound pocket ability.
More importantly, Foles exhibited the ability to make big plays down the field while with the Philadelphia Eagles, when he accounted for 40 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 yards as the starter for most of the 2013 and 2014 seasons. There are doubts that Foles can regain that magic, but the size and arm talent exists for the right system and coaching staff to still pry good production out of the former Arizona quarterback.
The quarterback market has dried up quickly in the past few months, largely due to many quarterback-needy teams swinging trades or drafting fresh talent in this year’s draft. Still, several teams could use a suitable backup, a position Foles could definitely fulfill at a high level at this stage in his career.
It’s worth wondering if Foles has the consistency and decision-making to turn his career around as a weekly NFL starter, but two teams could be desperate enough to find out.
The New York Jets and Denver Broncos are both still without a steady starter, as the Jets are still playing hardball with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Denver lost Peyton Manning (retirement) and Brock Osweiler (free agency) this offseason.
It’s debatable if Foles is an improvement over Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez at this point, but both teams would at least be bringing in a talented and experienced arm to push their current starters. For New York, such a move would likely nix the need to pay an aging Fitzpatrick, as well.
Ryan Fitzpatrick might want to put pen to paper w/ the Jets before they decide that Nick Foles could be an adequate replacement.
— Dan Hellie (@DanHellie) July 27, 2016
The same goes for Denver, who did draft the talented Paxton Lynch to be the future of the franchise under center, but Sanchez and a middling Trevor Siemian don’t exactly promote a ton of confidence in the Broncos’ offense.
Foles might not, either, but he may offer both teams the upside they currently lack, while also coming at a solid discount.
There is also the possibility Foles has accepted his regression in the league and at this point wouldn’t mind taking a comfortable backup position with the right club. After all, if Foles can sit and learn a new system and rediscover his former magic, he could soon be an injury away from seeing the field on a good team. Teams like the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants could be appealing to Foles, should they show interest.
Nick Foles Prediction
Ultimately, Foles is still in his prime, not that far removed from quality production and personally probably still feels he’s a starter in the NFL. Whether or not that is true, some team is bound to give him a shot to compete for a top backup gig or even start. The Broncos and Jets are front and center to give that opportunity and at the very worst, Foles’ release puts serious pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick to make a decision.
If the Jets act fast, they can save money and grab a guy in Foles that can come in and compete with Geno Smith and youngsters Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty right away. He may not be the answer under center, but it could be the right move for the Jets at the right time.