INDIANAPOLIS — Nick Foles will become a free agent in March as the Philadelphia Eagles have declined to use the franchise tag to retain and trade Foles for compensation.
Howard Roseman, the team’s vice president of football operations, said the Eagles understand and respect Foles’ desire to lead a team after using him in relief of injured starter Carson Wentz for back-to-back playoff berths, including the team’s first Super Bowl win in February 2018.
“We decided to let Nick become a free agent,” Roseman said Wednesday at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. “He deserves an opportunity to lead a team.”
“After a lot of conversation, we think letting him become a free agent is the right thing to do. He’s a tremendous player, Super Bowl MVP … someone we feel is a top 15 quarterback in this league,” Roseman said.
Free agency begins March 13 at 4 p.m. ET with the start of the new league year.
“We had conversations at the end of the season, and he knew where I stood and how I felt about him,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. “Obviously, he’s a big part of our success the past two years. It’s an opportunity now for him to become a starter, and I’m excited for him to do that.”
Wentz was out during the Super Bowl run recovering from reconstructive knee surgery and last season missed the final month of the regular season, and two playoff games, with a fracture in his back. Wentz is expected to make a full recovery and return as the starter in 2019.
Financials would have been a major challenge for Roseman had the Eagles opted to franchise and trade Foles. Because of the value of the one-year tender, the Eagles first must have displayed to the league the salary-cap space to use the tag. In Foles’ case, more than $21 million was required to be shed in the form of restructured contracts or releasing players with hefty cap hits.
Wentz unquestioned starter
Roseman and Pederson said they are very comfortable with Wentz as a leader in response to teammates who anonymously criticized Wentz for his personality and alleged he rubbed some teammates the wrong way. Pederson said it reminds him of the situation with Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, who was Pederson’s teammate with the Green Bay Packers.
“You’re not going to be buddy-buddy with everybody. If people get offended, I’m sorry. That’s the way it is. You can’t make excuses for it,” Pederson said.
Pederson also said the Eagles are in conversation with left tackle Jason Peters and running back Darren Sproles about returning next season.
“In Jason’s mind right now, I think he feels like being healthy, 100 percent, going into the offseason and training camp, moving forward, those are the conversations we’ll have with him,” Pederson said.
–By Jeff Reynolds (@ReynoldsJD), Field Level Media