The Jaguars' biggest offseason storyline in 2019 was undoubtedly the signing of Nick Foles. The Jaguars gave the former Super Bowl MVP a four-year, $88M contract to become their starting QB. An unfortunate collarbone injury during the first quarter of the Jaguars' first game of the 2019 regular season derailed Foles' first season with the team. Foles returned midseason but was later benched due to poor play against the Buccaneers on December 1st and never saw the field again.
His backup, rookie Gardner Minshew, far outplayed Foles during 2019 and appears to be a promising young quarterback. Minshew was the best rookie QB in the NFL last season and led the Jaguars to three come from behind victories and an overall record of 6-6.
This all leads me to the ultimate question: what should the Jaguars do with Nick Foles and his hefty price tag?
Let's get this out of the way — Gardner Minshew should be the Jaguars' starting QB entering 2020. I've written about this topic on numerous occasions, here's my take on why Gardner Minshew should be the Jaguars' starting QB next season.
But should the Jaguars let Nick Foles, who has a $21.8M cap number in 2020, stick around as the backup QB? They certainly can't afford to release him because that would result in his cap number skyrocketing all the way to $33.8M.
Dave Caldwell has two real options: keep him around as the backup/competition for Gardner Minshew OR trade him. Trading him will be difficult. He played poor football in 2019, and he is EXPENSIVE for a player who has never had sustained success as a starting QB.
Still, some teams around the league would seemingly make sense. But in order for it to work, all sides — including the Jaguars, Nick Foles, and the trade partner — would likely need to agree on a new contract for Foles. This is the same thing the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill, and the Titans did last year. The Titans wanted to trade for Tannehill, but his contract was untenable. So, all three sides agreed to a new deal for Tannehill — precisely what the Jaguars should attempt to do here. It would save the Jaguars some cap space and controversy throughout the summer.
The Chicago Bears could be interested in Foles. Their new QB coach, John DeFilippo, is a huge fan and friend of Foles. They've had success together in the past, and Mitch Trubisky could be a few poor performances from finding his way to the bench in 2020.
The Colts? Generally speaking, trading inside the division is a no-no. But Colts' coach Frank Reich was Foles' offensive coordinator when the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2017. Incumbent starting QB Jacoby Brissett was decent in 2019 but doesn't appear to be a QB that has what it takes to lead the Colts to the Promised Land.
Finding a trade partner for Foles would be a coo for the Jaguars. Getting some of his 2020 salary cap number off the books would allow the Jaguars to sign more players in free agency to help sure up other areas of the roster. It would allow Foles to go somewhere and potentially compete for a starting job.
The Foles experiment didn't work in 2019, and it's time to cut bait and move on. Shad Khan and the Jaguars have had their fair share of difficulties knowing when it's time to move on, but hopefully, they'll get this one right.
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