Ryan, who put starting quarterback Mark Sanchez in a meaningless exhibition game against the New York Giants on Saturday (“because I thought we had a chance to win the game,” he said), is now down a starting quarterback for an indefinite period of time and with another quarterback, Geno Smith, who proved he cannot play at this level yet.
The Eagles, on the other hand, have an excess of capable quarterbacks, including a young one in Nick Foles, who has never imploded in any exhibition game. Foles has always looked like a capable NFL starter whenever he’s been in there.
If Ryan has proven anything over his years as Jets coach, he’s a small-picture, win-now kind of guy. If the Eagles dangle the carrot of Foles in front of him, he might bite and damn the possible first-round draft choice it could cost him next season.
From the Eagles’ perspective, Foles is expendable. He’s not going to play this season, and the Eagles don’t have an offense tailored to his drop back skills. Plus, the Eagles have a young quarterback with a similar skill set, Matt Barkley, waiting in the wings and another quarterback, Dennis Dixon, who is a long-time favorite of Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.
The Eagles could find themselves comfortable with a threesome of Michael Vick, Barkley and Dixon if the Jets bite and give them a first-round pick for Foles right now.
If the Jets don’t bite, the Eagles would be just as comfortable in keeping Foles. It’s a win-win for the Eagles, and maybe from Ryan’s small-picture point of view, a win for him, too. After all, any guy that thinks winning an NFL exhibition is important probably doesn’t think much of first-round draft choices anyway.