Nick Foles and Torrey Smith will play in at least one more game for the Philadelphia Eagles, when the team plays in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs in two weeks. Whether they play in (or are dressed) for another Eagles regular season game is another story.
Though a respectable performance in the postseason could certainly change this, Foles' second go-round with the Eagles hasn't been especially successful. After missing all of the preseason with an elbow injury, Foles did have some initial success with the Eagles in 2017. After coming on in mop-up duty after the Eagles had blown the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears out, Foles was forced into action after Carson Wentz tore his ACL in the team's Week 14 matchup with the Los Angeles Rams. Foles went 6/10 in relief of Wentz, including making a key throw to Nelson Agholor to seal an important win over the Rams.
A week later, he followed that up with a four-touchdown performance against the lowly New York Giants. Sure, the Giants are a really bad team and the five-touchdown performance was misleading because of the incredible field position that the offense was set-up in, but for a backup, it was a pretty impressive performance.
Since then, however, the wheels have come off for Foles. He went 19-38 for 163 yards, one touchdown and one interception against an undisciplined Raiders team whose coach is likely to be unemployed in 24 hours. The Eagles won, but did so largely in spite of Foles' performance (and because of the Raiders simply performing worse). Foles easily could have had three or four interceptions in the win.
Sunday afternoon, Foles struggled mightily against the Dallas Cowboys as well. Sure, a key drop from Torrey Smith didn't help his case, but he threw one interception and Smith knocked down what would have likely been a pick-six for Xaiver Woods.
It would be a major shock if Foles didn't start the team's playoff game in two weeks. It's also starting to feel like it would be a shock if Foles is still with the Eagles for the 2018 season.
If Foles is on the roster in 2017, he would carry a $7.6 million cap-hit. However, if the team released him after June 1, 2018, they would only have $3.6 million in deap cap:
This means that by releasing Foles, the team would have an extra $4 million to play with. That money could be used towards keeping Jason Peters or Darren Sproles for another season, should the team be interested in doing that. It could be used to sign another veteran backup, if the Eagles aren't content with the idea of Nate Sudfeld being the team's primary backup in 2018, especially if he could have to start early in the season.
Perhaps the two sides will simply restructure. They could also trade Foles, which would leave them with even less dead money. In any event, it doesn't appear Foles will return to the Eagles under his current contract.
The aforementioned Smith seems even less likely to return to Philadelphia in 2018. Though he's come off as a good guy in his time with the Eagles, he's struggled to hold onto the ball. Smith, still just 28, has 36 catches for 430 yards and has flashed the top-end speed that made him a star early in his career in Baltimore. Smith will play somewhere in 2018, but given that the Eagles wouldn't have any dead-cap if they released Smith, it feels almost impossible they will bring his $5 million cap-hit into the 2018 season. Mack Hollins will likely take on a bigger role in the offense next season.
Who are some other Eagles that may have played in their final regular season game with the team today? Just to name a few, LeGarrette Blount, Nigel Bradham, Trey Burton and Vinny Curry all may have played their final regular season game with the team Sunday.
Blount, 31, will be a free-agent after the season. Given the midseason pickup of Jay Ajayi and a strong rookie season from Corey Clement, there doesn't seem to be space for Blount in 2018. The third running-back could be Wendell Smallwood, Sproles or perhaps even fourth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey. They could even carry two of those three, and have four running-backs on the roster. Blount could retire or attempt to continue his career elsewhere.
Nigel Bradham, who very well could have been a Pro-Bowler, will be a free-agent. It will be interesting to see if the team is able to retain the 28-year-old, who has been especially valuable the past two seasons when you consider that Jordan Hicks has struggled with injuries throughout his career.
Burton, a former undrafted free-agent, has often been overshadowed throughout his first four NFL seasons by Zach Ertz and Brent Celek. However, he shined in Ertz's absence this year and caught five total touchdowns. Some team is going to pay him this offseason, with the understanding that he has a ton of upside as a pass-catcher.
Curry had a better 2017 season than he did a year ago, but his five-year/$47.25 contract has largely been a flop. The Eagles have a ton of defensive line talent, and Curry would carry an $11 million cap-hit in 2018. Curry is extremely well thought of in the Novacare Complex – when Jeffrey Lurie was trying to decide the fate of Chip Kelly, Curry is one of the veterans that Lurie spoke to – so perhaps the team will restructure his deal. But given that the team would only have to take on just $2 million in dead-cap if they cut Curry after June 1, there seems to be a very real chance that he won't be with the Eagles in 2018.