Against the best defense the NFL had to offer, Nick Foles turned in a legendary Philadelphia performance for the ages to lead his Eagles to the Super Bowl. Foles was a bit of a cult hero just a couple of seasons ago when he completed 27 touchdown passes and two interceptions, but nobody saw what Foles did in the NFC Championship Game coming. After throwing for 352 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-7 rout of the Vikings, the backup QB is heading to a Super Bowl, and when that happens, the inevitable question will be asked.
Do the Philadelphia Eagles have a quarterback controversy?
The answer is “No, absolutely not.”
No matter what Foles does in the Super Bowl, the starting quarterback for the Eagles in Week 1 of the 2018 season will be Carson Wentz. Having Foles as a backup option will simply be the best possible Plan B most NFL teams would like to have. Even Foles will concede this is Wentz’s team, as it should be in 2018 and beyond barring a complete dropoff from the young franchise quarterback.
“This is Carson’s team,” Foles said in late December after stepping in to lead the team down the stretch. “I get that you’re the guy but that’s how I am: I respect Carson Wentz. I love that guy. I work with him every day and am going to give him that respect because he is the franchise quarterback.”
The Eagles have been an underdog this postseason because Wentz has not been available, and the Eagles looked shaky with Foles at quarterback in the final weeks of the season. Anyone who watched the Eagles would tell you it looked as though the offense was suddenly lost without Wentz, and that’s because it was for a couple of weeks. But Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich getting a postseason bye week to work with the offense and get Foles in sync with the rest of the starters has paid off beautifully in Philadelphia.
Foles completed 23-of-30 pass attempts for 246 yards in a defensive battle against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Divisional Round and followed that up with his masterpiece against the Vikings. In each game, Foles had a passer rating over 100, including a 141.4 rating against Minnesota.
In a city that loves rooting for the backup quarterback, the sentiment right now seems to be to ride this wave as long as possible. At the same time, nobody is legitimately ready to think Foles should be the starter ahead of Wentz. That is because as good as Foles has been in the playoffs, Wentz played like a leading MVP candidate in the regular season. Foles isn’t stepping in to save a struggling offense. He is merely stepping up to finish the job started by Wentz.
Wentz played like a top MVP candidate in the 2017 season for the Eagles before a torn ACL ended his season. At the time of the injury, Wentz was among the league leaders in a number of passing categories and led the NFL with 33 touchdown passes and 3,296 passing yards in his second season as a full-time starter. The Eagles have been built around Wentz with the idea of having him in place for the long haul. Nothing with that premise has been altered despite the Eagles reaching the Super Bowl without him. But to be perfectly clear, the Eagles are not in this desirable position without Wentz this season.
The Eagles may have an interesting situation on their hands in the offseason, however. Foles signed a contract with the Eagles last season to be the primary backup for Wentz just for this situation (well, maybe not exactly this type of situation). Foles has been under contract for $1 million this season, and his salary is about to bump up to $4 million in 2018. The contract spans beyond that if Foles is still around.
Nick Foles (Eagles) $27.5M, $3M signing bonus, salaries $1M (gtd), $4M, $5.5M, $5.5M, $5.5M; $3M 2018 roster bonus gtd; 2019-2021 void
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 19, 2017
If Foles manages to bring the Eagles their first Super Bowl championship in franchise history, he still will not take over for Wentz but he will have some potential bargaining power to pull that could lead to a revised contract or the ability to be moved as a trade piece in the offseason for a chance to become a starter again. It has all of the ingredients for a spicy offseason in Philly.
Whatever the offseason has lined up, Carson Wentz will be the team’s starting quarterback when the 2018 season kicks off, and Nick Foles will be ready to step in once again if called upon.