Nick Foles just completed the best statistical season by a quarterback in Philadelphia Eagles‘ history. He leads the NFL with a 119.2 passer rating, more than four points higher than league MVP, Peyton Manning. But in the offseason, his contract is getting more attention than his on-field production.
Foles was selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Players drafted in 2012 were signed under the NFL’s current collecting bargaining agreement, which stipulates that rookie contracts may not be modified during the first three years. Therefore, the Eagles cannot increase his salary, payout a higher bonus, or sign Foles to a contract extension until after the 2014 season. The quarterback that re-established the Philadelphia Eagles as a playoff contender will have no choice but to take $615,000 for his services next season, one of the most team-friendly salaries in the NFL.
On Dec. 11, NFL teams were informed that the 2014 salary cap would be approximately $126.3 million, a 2.68 percent increase from 2013. With Foles’ due less than 0.5 percent of the team’s total cap number in 2014, the Eagles’ front office has a “free roll” season to reaffirm that Foles has the physical tools and mental makeup to be the team’s franchise quarterback for the long run and is worth the $100 million that such quarterbacks command.
Regardless, with Nick Foles at the helm heading into the 2014 season, the Eagles wield a tremendous financial advantage over other NFL franchises. The Seattle Seahawks‘ Russell Wilson is the only other quarterback playing at Foles’ level with a locked-in annual salary under $1 million. Because the Eagles and Seahawks are not committed to $100 million mid-career franchise quarterbacks, they can more aggressively pursue their favorite free agents this offseason.
Whether or not Nick Foles emerges as a top-five quarterback in 2014, his pittance of a salary nonetheless makes him more a more valuable commodity than proven franchise quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Drew Brees.