The Philadelphia Eagles have reportedly made a decision involving backup store quarterback Nick Foles and his immediate future. The question becomes: does it make him more viable for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the story Saturday afternoon that Philadelphia intends to place the “Franchise Tag” designation on Foles before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in March.
Sources: Eagles expected to use their franchise tag on Nick Foles, then try to trade him for a third-round pick, per league sources.https://t.co/uPKcMmEcfh
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 2, 2019
However, Schefter went on to report that’s only part of the story. This is because, apparently the Eagles want to place the tag on him and allow him to pick a team that he wants to go to, and have the Eagles consummate a trade.
Schefter reported the Eagles will be looking for at least a third-round pick and obviously, the team making the trade would have to have a cap room to take on at least a $20 million quarterback salary. This would mean Foles and the new team would also have an incentive to reach a long-term contract that could lower that salary number for 2019 .
This is not unlike what the Miami Dolphins tried to do with star receiver Jarvis Landry last winter.
However, after franchising Landry, the Dolphins only acquired a third round pick in last year’s draft and a future mid-round pick. Landry meanwhile cashed in financially with Cleveland with just such a new long term deal that helped the Browns in 2018.
And, Landry had a solid first year in Cleveland, as clearly the best receiver on a team that dramatically improved in the second half of the season.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins floundered and ended up firing both head coach Adam Gasse and VP of Football Mike Tannenbaum who were behind the decisions to Landry go among players, like Jay Ajayi and Ndamukong Suh.
Now for the part when the Jaguars come in.
First it’s obvious they’re in need of a solution at quarterback, as the team intends to part ways with their starter of the last six seasons, Blake Bortles. His release will come at a significant dead cap hit of over $20 million for 2019.
The next concern would be does: Jacksonville have enough cap space to pull off such a trade before someone else? We wrote previously about how they’re asking to restructure Pro Bowl defensive lineman Calais Campbell’s deal and are also going to release tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
The Jaguars hired John Defilippo last month, as their new offensive coordinator, and he was previously the quarterback coach in Philadelphia. He also tutored Foles, as he replaced injured starter Carson Wentz in 2017 and lead Philadelphia to their first Super Bowl championship in franchise history.
The hiring of Defilippo seemed interesting at the time, as a possible maneuver to help lower Foles to North Florida.
Now, if in fact Philadelphia is going to put a Franchise Tag on him, but still look to trade him looking. we’re going to find out how much that relationship really means.
And further, we’re going to find out if the Jaguars have the juice and the ability to outmaneuver other teams to get Foles at a deal that they can afford.
Jags WR Marqise Lee returns to practice
After losing veteran Alfred Blue in the first half of the 24–10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury, the Jaguars are looking for offensive depth. In some fortunate news, WR Marqise Lee is off of the PUP list and has begun practicing today, roughly one year after suffering from knee damage that sidelined him for the entire 2018 season.
Head coach Doug Marrone made the announcement before practice on Saturday.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 17, 2019
First Coast news reporter Ben Murphy got a video of Lee at practice receiving a pass from QB Nick Foles.
— Ben Murphy (@BenMurphyTV) August 17, 2019
Last year, Lee was injured in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Falcons. He was hit by reserve defensive back Damontae Kazee on this play after a reception.
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) August 25, 2018
Lee suffered a torn ACL and went on injured reserve missing the entire season.
Lee became more prominent in Jacksonville’s pass offense in 2017 with 56 catches for 702 yards and three TDs. The Jags are surely going to rely on him this season which could mean he’ll see the field a bit in their third preseason game to get him readjusted to competitive game play.
However, they might not want to risk another potential injury before the season begins. We could see it going either way. We do know that he’ll be a great weapon for Nick Foles to utilize this season.
The return of Lee is coming off the heels of some other good news for the Jags announced earlier this week. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson was also removed from the PUP list on Monday after suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 last season. He has since made enough progress participate in some individual drills and should be ready, along with Lee, for their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In other injury-related news, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Leonard Fournette, backed up by Thomas Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.
Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game
With preseason game number two in the books, it’s apparent the Jaguars have real issues with running back depth due to injury. This after veteran Alfred Blue left the first half of the 24 – 10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and did not return.
Blue carried the ball four times for just five yards has Jacksonville offense once again sputtered behind a makeshift offensive line. Coach Doug Marrone was so concerned about that line situation and their ability to protect/block that starting quarterback Nick Foles and running back Leonard Fournette never saw the field for a single play during Thursday night.
That means that veteran at Thomas Rawls (above Thursday) was called upon to carry the ball a little more, and he did so, seven times for 19 yards including a long run of 11 playing in the first half.
Rawls is a 5th year veteran who had some modest success with the Seahawks, including rushing for 830 yards his rookie year in 2015 with a 5.6 yard per carry average. His numbers tapered off in 2016 – 17 with ankle and foot injuries, as he only played in 21 games in those two years. Rawls was later released and picked up by the Bengals, but injured again last season, and never carried the ball in Cincinnati.
Obviously, the Jaguars are wanting to implement Fournette, as the primary ball carrier, but they will need someone else to spell him on a series or two. Also, Fournette has had durability questions, as he missed parts or all of eight games last year with a hamstring injury.
The Jags were also hoping to bring along Temple rookie running back Ryquell Armstead, but after he carried eight times for 22 yards last week, he suffered a concussion in the preseason opening loss to the Ravens. Armstead hasn’t practiced since, and is still being evaluated with no further update Thursday.
Speaking of updates, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Fournette, backed up by Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.