Eagles once nixed Nick Foles-Josh Gordon trade


PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles turned down a trade that would have brought them Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon at the start of the 2013 NFL season.

The price for Gordon, according to a source familiar with the discussions: quarterback Nick Foles.

A little context helps here. Gordon was facing a two-game suspension for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. Foles had just been named the Eagles’ No. 2 quarterback after losing a competition with Michael Vick during the preseason.

The Browns, who had Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden as their top two quarterbacks, wanted Foles as their starter. At that point, former Eagles president Joe Banner was running the Browns. Banner had been with the Eagles in 2012 when they drafted Foles.

The Eagles, in their first year with head coach Chip Kelly, were concerned about Gordon’s impending suspension. They were also high on Foles.

During the 2013 season, both players made strong cases for themselves. Gordon served his suspension. In 14 games, Gordon caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl after the season.

So was Foles. After Vick pulled a hamstring, Foles took over the Eagles’ starting quarterback spot. He completed 203 of 317 passes for 2,891 yards and 27 touchdowns. Foles threw just two interceptions, finishing with a league-high passer rating of 119.2.

Both Gordon and Foles had comedown seasons in 2014.

Foles completed 186 of 311 passes for 2,163 yards and 13 touchdowns. He threw 10 interceptions. In the eighth game of the season, Foles broke his collarbone and did not play again. His passer rating for the season was 81.4.

Gordon was arrested for driving while impaired in July of 2014 and was suspended for the entire season. That suspension was later reduced when the NFL announced a new discipline policy. Gordon wound up playing in five games. He caught 24 passes for 303 yards and no touchdowns.

In January, Gordon tested positive for alcohol, a violation of the conditions for his return to the field. He faces a suspension for the entire 2015 season.

Foles, meanwhile, could be the Eagles’ starting quarterback in 2015. He could also become part of a package if the Eagles decide to trade up in the draft for a quarterback.

Either way, the Eagles have to be very glad they declined the trade offer for Gordon. While Gordon is immensely talented and only 23 years old, his repeat offender status would make him very difficult to trade to another team. It is possible he would have avoided further trouble with a change of scenery in Philadelphia, but that’s pure speculation.

Foles has much more value at this point than Gordon, whether he’s the Eagles’ starting quarterback or a trade chip.