By Scott Crabtree
Recently Grantland’s Bill Barnwell and Robert Mays have been prognosticating about what the Eagles would get in return for Nick Foles were he to be traded. Despite having had one of the best statistical seasons in the history of the NFL, Robert Mays thinks that Foles is worth only a first round pick in the mid-twenties, and Bill Barnwell thinks that the Eagles would “sell high” were they to trade both Foles and the team’s first round pick in order to get into the top five with the hopes of drafting Johnny Manziel. How do either of these trades make the Eagles a better team? Based on everything he’s shown on the field thus far, Nick Foles is a franchise quarterback. Franchise quarterbacks in the past have fetched two and three first round picks in the past. So, what exactly are these guys thinking? It is infuriating. If the Eagles don’t get a package that involves at least two first rounders, they are taking a loss. Let’s not forget the package the Broncos got from the Bears in the Cutler deal: two firsts, a third, and Kyle Orton. Based on both stats and the eye test, Foles is better than Cutler was then, and he’s better than Cutler is now. If Foles had been a first round pick instead of a third, the projections for his trade value would be much higher. Clearly NFL teams are blinded by pedigree, and not production, which would explain why the Colts thought that Trent Richardson’s three yards per carry were worth a first round pick.
Let’s not forget that Foles only had one wide receiver capable of getting separation this season, DeSean Jackson, and Jackson is one of the easiest number one receivers to remove from a game. He had as many games this season with less than forty yards as he had with over one hundred. He is a one dimensional player, and as we saw in the Saints game, he can disappear for long stretches. Foles turned Riley Cooper from a guy that was going to get cut into a guy that will probably get overpaid by a team that needs a wideout. Foles’ third wide receiver was Jason Avant, a guy who is only on the field because he can block. Avant was on the field for over 70% of the Eagles’ snaps this season in spite of his only receiving skill being catching the ball and immediately falling down. (Editor’s Note: To be fair, I think it can also be said that Avant has amazing hands. He’s a solid receiver when you just need to move the chains. But yeah, his YAC skills are non-existent.)
Can we also stop with the Foles’ success was a result of the system argument? The two most common things people say is Foles is a system quarterback, and Foles doesn’t fit the system. It can’t be both. It’s insane how criminally underrated Foles is. Foles has the potential to be the next Tom Brady, and yet the Eagles couldn’t trade him straight up for Johnny Manziel? Are we even having this argument if Cooper doesn’t drop that third down pass against the Saints, or if Alex Henery doesn’t miss that 48 yard field goal? Foles put his team in position to beat a future hall of fame quarterback in the playoffs, and still is only worth a late first round pick? The argument could be made that Foles is a top ten quarterback. Cincinnati and Arizona both have quality defenses, and a great set of weapons on offense. Acquiring a quarterback who won’t lose you games because of turnovers, and has a proven track record of being able to get the most out of his weapons, changes your team from an also-ran to a contender. Being able to compete for a Super Bowl is worth multiple first round picks. If you’re going to give up on a young quarterback who’s had proven success at the highest level, at least get full value.
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