The Jaguars were linked to quarterback Nick Foles all offseason long, and that quickly came to fruition as the “legal tampering” period opened Monday, and Jacksonville will reportedly be signing Foles to a four-year, $88 million contract.
Foles is a polarizing player, and Jaguars fans seem to be split on if this is a good signing or not. To help give us some more perspective on Foles, we spoke to Brandon Lee Gowton, managing editor of Bleeding Green Nation — SB Nation’s Philadelphia Eagles website.
Here is what Brandon had to say on Foles:
1. Nick Foles’ contract is reported to be a four-year, $88 million deal with $50-plus million in guarantees. This is the kind of contract many Jaguars fans were hoping to avoid. Do you believe Foles can live up to this contract? Why or why not?
My gut reaction is that I don’t feel like he’s going to live up to it. Make no mistake: Foles was fantastic backup for the Eagles. He’ll always be a legend in Philadelphia.
But I’m just not convinced that him starting a 16 game season — which he’s never done — is going to look as good as his biggest supporters think it will. Foles is a high-variance player who can look really good in smaller stretches. I have my doubts about his ability to excel over longer periods of time.
Now, with that said, Foles has certainly made me look like an idiot before. I thought the Eagles’ season was over when Carson Wentz went down in 2017. I didn’t think Foles stood much of a chance to help the Eagles in the playoffs, let alone go on to become the first friggin Super Bowl MVP in franchise history.
When Foles is locked in, he’s capable of looking pretty awesome. He’ll get himself in a rhythm where he looks unshakable. Perfect pinpoint accuracy. Good decision-making. Completely composed.
Then there are times when he makes you want to pull your hair out. Failing to see the field well. Missing easy throws. Unable to get away from pressure. Injury issues.
Honestly, I’m very interested to see how Foles does with the Jags. Again, I have my reservations. I hope I’m wrong about them because it’d obviously be great to see him succeed. I think I just need to see him play a full 16-game season before I fully believe he’s a viable long-term starter.
If history repeats itself, you’ll be able to come back to these answers and laugh about how dumb I was to doubt him.
2. What are Foles strengths and weaknesses? Do you believe he can be a franchise quarterback?
I already touched on some of these things above but just to reemphasize …
Strengths: Composed. Capable of delivering in the clutch. Accurate. Willing to take the easy play. Intelligent. Great teammate. Surprisingly mobile in the pocket. Willingness to chuck it deep. Can get the ball out fast when needed.
Weaknesses: Maddeningly inconsistent. Can look lost when his confidence is shot. Leaves easy plays on the field. Isn’t a real threat to take off running. Needs the system to work for him.
I think Foles has a chance to succeed if he has a strong support system around him. I don’t think he’s leading a team to great success in spite of adversity around him.
3. Do you think Foles and the Jaguars are a good fit? Why or why not?
From the outside looking in, I can see the appeal. The Jaguars feel like they’re ready to win now after only being a season removed from the AFC Championship Game. They have defensive talent and a running back to help Foles. Not to mention his former quarterbacks coach in John DeFilippo running the offense.
My fear with Foles back before he left the Eagles in 2014 is that Philly was going to be mired in mediocrity with him as their full-time starter. That’s the worst place to be, in my view. I worry that the Jaguars might be in that situation where Foles is good enough to prevent Jacksonville from betting out but not necessarily good enough to make the Jags true contenders on a yearly basis.
I think Foles’ high-variance nature will kind of even out over an extended sample size. That’s to say I think he’ll have some really good games and some really bad games. I think the Jags will find themselves hovering around 8-8.
4. Foles will be reuniting with his former quarterbacks coach, John Defilippo, who is now the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville. How much of Foles’ success in the 2017 playoff run can be attributed to DeFilippo, or would you say it was more on Frank Reich and Doug Pederson?
Flip has a good track record of coaching quarterbacks so I think it’s only fair that he gets some credit. With that said, Foles has also had success in the league without Flip, so it’s not like it was all him. I also wonder about Flip as a play-caller compared to merely being a quarterbacks coach.
If I was running the team taking the shot on Foles, I’d feel better about having a guy that knows him well like Flip. The Jags should be able to design some stuff that has worked well for Foles over the past two season, such as the use of RPOs.
Familiarity is important because, again, Foles needs the system to work for him. You don’t just stick him out there and hope his natural talent carries you to victory. You have to have a good plan for him to execute. He’s been at his best when he’s playing the “point guard” role in the offense, distributing the ball to his play-makers.
5. Would you say Foles is a good leader? Do you think he can immediately come in and be a strong locker room presence for the Jaguars?
Foles is a very good leader. He’s not necessarily a rah-rah guy but he’s always been incredibly well-respected and well-liked. He’s just a very genuine and kind human being. Doug Pederson has praised him for his calming presence in the past. Eagles players always rallied around Foles when he had to enter the lineup over the past two years. I fully expect him to earn the trust and respect of his teammates in Jacksonville.
Thank you to Brandon for taking the time to answer my questions and give us better insight into Foles.
For more crossover articles, check out my responses on Bleeding Green Nation regarding Philadelphia’s signing of Malik Jackson.