The Eagles’ Super Bowl win for the ages wasn’t even 12 hours old before Nick Foles was asked to ponder what comes next.
The backup quarterback-turned-Super Bowl MVP was still trying to process his achievement in the 41-33 upset of the defending champion Patriots, so he wasn’t quite ready to wonder openly about what will happen in the months ahead.
“I’m not really worried about my future right now,” Foles said Monday after a night of little sleep and much celebration. “I’m staying in the moment. There will be a time and a place to handle all that.”
Yet it is fair to wonder what his spectacular postseason run will mean to his immediate and long-term future.
With Carson Wentz expected to return from a knee injury, there will be plenty of speculation about whether the Eagles will go into next season with a Super Bowl MVP as his backup. The Eagles invested a No. 2 overall pick in Wentz in 2016, and he was producing an MVP-caliber season before getting hurt Dec. 10 against the Rams.
In a league desperate for competent quarterback play, the Eagles find themselves with an embarrassment of riches. Because the demand for capable passers is so high, there undoubtedly will be interest in Foles from other teams — including the Jets, who are in the market for a veteran or a blue-chip quarterback in the draft.
The Jets’ focus has been almost exclusively on Kirk Cousins, who is still on the Redskins’ roster but will be playing elsewhere because of Washington’s acquisition of Alex Smith from the Chiefs. The Jets are in a strong position to afford Cousins’ contract demands, and he has made it known that he’d be very comfortable playing in the New York market.
Another option for the Jets, if they lose out on Cousins to the Broncos, Jaguars or Browns, is to bring back Josh McCown on a short-term deal and take a quarterback with the No. 6 overall pick. McCown was reliable last season, and he’s open to the idea of being a bridge to a future starter such as Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield.
But Foles suddenly has become another consideration, even if it will take a trade and a new contract to get him. Foles signed a two-year, $11-million deal with the Eagles before last season, so they control his rights.
The challenge for the Jets, or any team who might see Foles as a long-term answer, is how to view his splendid late-season performance through his near-perfect Super Bowl.
Was it a clear indication that Foles is worthy of a heavy investment in draft and financial compensation? Or is it possible that he captured lightning in a bottle, and that to extrapolate a seven-game sample size into a franchise-changing future is a risky proposition?
The last two times a backup won a Super Bowl showed mixed results in the post-championship years. After replacing the injured Phil Simms at the end of the 1990 season and winning Super Bowl XXV, Jeff Hostetler started 21 games the next two seasons for the Giants and enjoyed four mostly productive seasons with the Raiders.
Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, the MVP of Super Bowl XXII, started only 12 more games for Washington and was replaced by Mark Rypien, who also would win a Super Bowl.
It’s a complicated equation but one that Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan must figure out if he wants to make Foles his answer. The risk-reward is uncertain, but it’s a formula that must be investigated by a team in desperate need of a long-term answer at quarterback.
Nick Foles’ performance in the Eagles’ run to the Super Bowl title could make him a valuable trade chip. His postseason numbers:
Pass pct. 72.6
QB rating 115.7