When the news broke this week that the Philadelphia Eagles were bringing back quarterback Michael Vick for the 2013 season, there were questions raised about Nick Foles, the quarterback the Eagles took in the third round last year who started six games as a rookie after Vick got hurt and the Eagles fell out of the playoff race. Some suggested the Vick move meant new coach Chip Kelly didn't like Foles, and some have asked if Kelly might trade Foles. Les Bowen thinks that's crazy talk:
If the Eagles don't trade Foles, and don't draft a franchise QB, maybe all Foles has to do is wait for Vick to eventually get hurt to get the chance Foles should be getting, right from the get-go, to show he is the guy.
Trading Foles at this point could be a huge mistake, unless you were getting back, say, a high second-round pick. I would guess there will be teams asking; plenty of people in the NFL understand that Super Bowls tend to be won with a quarterback's arm and head, not with his feet.
I'm not going to argue Foles over Vick as the should-be starter in 2013. I think they're both imperfect solutions on a market that offers no ideal ones, and if Kelly likes Vick better for this year, that's a completely reasonable decision. But trade Foles? Why? And for what? Sure, Les is right that the Eagles would and should do it for a high second-rounder, but what team in its right mind is going to trade a high second-rounder for a kid who was picked in the third round less than one year ago and has started just six games (and won just one of them!) in the meantime? Forget getting value for Foles, and if you can't do that, the smart play is to keep him on the roster.
You have to be two-deep at quarterback in the NFL. You just have to. The Cowboys pay their backup more than $3 million a year. The Redskins took a backup quarterback in the fourth round last year even though they'd already spent their first-rounder, their second-rounder and their next two first-rounders to take one earlier in the draft. There's no way to know when a quarterback is going to get hurt (especially when it's one with Vick's injury track record), and it's important to have someone behind him who's not going to throw up all over himself if you put him in the game. We have seen Foles take NFL snaps and make NFL throws. As someone who has done that, he has value to the Eagles in 2013 as a part of their roster.
Beyond 2013, who knows? Foles could be the long-term answer for the Eagles at starting quarterback. He could be a career backup. We haven't seen enough, in either direction, to make a firm conclusion on that. Kelly's smart enough to know that, and in the absence of a Robert Griffin III-level solution, he is keeping his options open. When you're dealing with quarterback in the NFL, it's best to have as many options as you can.