Many expect the Jacksonville Jaguars to sign free agent quarterback Nick Foles next week when the new NFL league year starts. He is the best available quarterback on the market and sitting with the seventh overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, it’s unlikely the Jaguars can get one of the top quarterbacks without trading up.
The real question is how much are they going to be paying for Nick Foles, who hasn’t really proven he can be “the guy” for a team yet in his NFL career, though he has been an impressive spot-starter the past two season. The speculation around what Foles is going to end up getting on the open market has been all over the place, but most recently it’s been speculated that he will be getting a deal averaging at least $20 million per season, potentially higher.
To be perfectly honest, I do not think Foles is going to get that much on a contract as a free agent during this free agency period. I know that there have been reports that the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and Washington are all interested in Foles... but are they really?
I think the talk of those teams being interested and that the Jaguars and Foles, more or less, have a deal in place for next week are both things being drummed up by an agent. While the NFL Combine is usually where the ball gets rolling on free agent deals, it’s abnormal to have a set in stone deal that’s public before the combine is even done with.
I do not think Foles is going to get a deal in the $20 million range because frankly there isn’t the market for that. That could be what Foles’ agent is going to try to get him, because I do not think Foles himself is going to be looking for a monster deal, since that’s what agents do... but the market just isn’t there.
The Giants would have to do a lot of maneuvering to get Foles, which includes releasing Eli Manning who they seemingly just committed to for at least another season. Washington is stuck with their cap situation because of Alex Smith, who they cannot release and can only get relief if he retires and by all accounts the Miami Dolphins are planning to tank the season and go through a full rebuild.
The Jaguars are going to have to find the right balance to not bid against themselves if, as the reports seem to indicate, Foles is who they want to bring in to be the quarterback for 2019 and the foreseeable future. My guess is the deal will be more close to the deal the Jaguars gave Blake Bortles last season, in the $16-$18 million per year range. You can play a little hardball because of the market for Foles, but if you go too low then you do create a market because some other teams might decide “Hey, if that’s the price lets jump in”.
I’d guess Foles get something along the lines of a 5-year deal for $90ish million with about $35-40 million guaranteed. As the Jaguars due with most of the free agent deals, I’d presume that most of those guaranteeds would be paid early in the deal so it ends up being more a true 2-3 year deal than a full 5-year deal.
I don’t have any sources on that, just looking at what the Jaguars typically do, what the quarterback market is likely to be, and recent contracts.
There’s no need to give Foles a deal paying $20 million or more per season. The market simply does not support it, even with paying a free agent premium.