The worst-kept secret in free agency just became public: The Jacksonville Jaguars are signing Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles. It'll be a four-year, $88 million contract, including just north of $50 million guaranteed, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
It goes without saying that Super Bowl MVPs don't exactly grow on trees, and the most disappointing team in the NFL couldn't possibly bring back Blake Bortles, whom it benched within months of signing to a contract extension. The money is significant but not shocking given that above-average starters rarely are available in free agency and generally cost a premium.
So why was the Foles deal telegraphed? He's reuniting with former Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo, now the Jaguars offensive coordinator and widely regarded as a huge factor in Foles' magical 2017-18 postseason. Jacksonville has a ready-made 'D,' and Foles was the closest thing to a ready-made veteran starter available.
Foles, 30, immediately brings credibility to a Jaguars QB room where it's been missing for too long. He also brings the kind of leadership skills that the Eagles raved about that were also too often missing from the Jaguars, who saw two of their biggest investments — Leonard Fournette and Jalen Ramsey — serve team-imposed suspensions last season.
But let's be careful before assuming the Jaguars' QB woes suddenly are fixed long term. Foles is nothing if not streaky, which can be easy to forget since he's most remembered for the near-perfect January-February run against the Falcons, Vikings and Patriots a little over two years ago.
That's why we think the Jaguars should absolutely still draft a quarterback early next month, ideally with the seventh overall pick, assuming they deem there's one worth that investment. Foles' arrival, the Jaguars envision, will eliminate them from being in this draft position again soon. And although we think Cody Kessler might make for a fine QB2, he's entering a contract year, and the Jaguars are signing the poster boy for building a deep QB room.
As far as the fit, this has a chance to be a good one for Foles. He already knows the offense, for sure. But more than that, the Jaguars could field a strong O-line with the healthy returns of LT Cam Robinson and LT Andrew Norwell, if they can patch up the right side in the draft. They also could have a dangerous run game if Leonard Fournette falls in line and reaches his potential.
Remember, Foles' formula in the playoffs was a strong run game and O-line, bold, creative play calling and dominant defense. It's not hard to imagine Jacksonville coming close to replicating that formula.
It's also not hard to see this backfiring in the face of Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell, which is why this should be the first half of Jacksonville's two-part plan to address its QB corps after hitching its wagon for too long to Blake Bortles.
In order to maintain their dynamite defense, the Jaguars have extension decisions looming on Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue and Myles Jack. It's unlikely they can keep all three, but even extending the first two — both at premium positions — will be very expensive. So the sooner the Jaguars can get a cost-control rookie ready behind Foles, the better.