5 Reasons Why Nick Foles Is More Valuable Than Drew Brees
Nick Foles vs. Drew Brees: Five Reasons Why Foles Is More Valuable
Philadelphia Eagles’ Nick Foles came into this season as a backup quarterback destined to be overtaken by Matt Barkley, who the Eagles selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Expectations coming into the 2013 regular season were understandably low after Foles posted 1699 passing yards at 6.41 yards per attempt and a 79.1 passer rating to go along with a paltry 42 rushing yards in 2012. In fact, many NFL experts believed that Foles was the wrong kind of quarterback for Chip Kelly’s offense and the Eagles should have traded him in August.
Given this backdrop entering the season, the idea that Nick Foles would be more valuable than Drew Brees, the most productive NFL quarterback over the last five years, would have been absurd. That was before Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick suffered a concussion and strained hamstring. That was before Foles was thrust into a starting role in Chip Kelly’s innovative, up-tempo offense. That was before Foles proceeded to post a league-leading 118.7 passer rating, which is 4.7 points higher than this year’s consensus MVP, Peyton Manning, and incredibly the third highest single-season passer rating in league history.
In the hyper-competitive NFL ecosystem, where the average career lasts only three years, new alpha dogs can emerge from the anonymity of the pack in a matter of weeks. This past Sunday, a rapidly maturing Nick Foles posted a 131.7 passer rating as he led the Eagles to a 54-11 demolition of the Chicago Bears. Meanwhile, Drew Brees showed the first signs of declining skills in posting a 74.1 passer rating during a rain-soaked 17-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
These bell weather Week 16 performances marked a changing of the guard at the quarterback position the NFC. Here are five reasons why Nick Foles is now more valuable than Drew Brees.
5. Drew Brees Has Peaked
At age 34, Drew Brees is in the tail end of the prime of his career. At age 24, Nick Foles has not yet entered his prime. The only NFL quarterback to peak at age 24 or younger was Dan Marino when he posted a career-best 108.9 passer rating at age 23. Foles' best performances are likely still ahead of him as he continues to acclimate to the speed and complexity of NFL defenses.
4. Foles Throws A Better Deep Ball
Foles throws both deep and cross-field routes with ease. He is a rare quarterback who is actually more accurate on throws of more than 10 yards.
Brees is an accomplished deep ball thrower as well. Per profootballfocus.com, he is the highest rated NFL passer on throws over 20 yards. However, most of his long completions have come in the antiseptic conditions of the New Orleans Superdome.
Despite playing outdoors, Foles sports a 9.03 yards per attempt as opposed to Brees' 7.72 yards per attempt this season. Regardless of the playing conditions, at this point in their respective careers Foles is better at pushing the ball downfield.
3. Foles Takes Better Care Of The Football
Brees has struggled to take care of the football, which is evidenced by his six lost fumbles and 12 interceptions in 2013. In contrast, Foles has committed three total turnovers this season.
2. Nick Foles Is More Mobile
Brees is well-known for his agility within the pocket. His tremendous footwork allows him to subtly move upfield or laterally to avoid the rush and find passing lanes. However, Foles' mobility extends beyond the pocket. Despite starting only ten games this season, he has rushed for 226 yards, which is precisely 10 times more than Brees' 26 total rushing yards.
1. Brees Is Significantly More Expensive
In 2012, Drew Brees signed a five-year $100 million contract. As one of the most expensive players in the NFL, his salary makes it more difficult for the Saints to sign free agents to fill areas of need on the roster.
That same year, Nick Foles signed a four-year $2.8 million contract which is in line with the typical third round rookie salary level. The tens of millions of dollars that the Eagles will save on Foles over the next couple years will allow the team to address team weaknesses by aggressively pursuing high-impact free agents.