The Cleveland Browns may not want Nick Foles on their roster, but they could help facilitate a deal with the Jaguars and another team this offseason.
Christmas may come late to the Jacksonville Jaguars if the Cleveland Browns were to show interest in quarterback Nick Foles. Everyone calm down a bit as a scenario like this one, which is brought up by my colleague Elliot Kennel over at Dawg Pound Daily, allow the Jaguars to get some cap relief and could help another team as well in the process.
"“The core problem here is that Jacksonville gave Nick Foles a whopping contract of $87.7 million dollars last year, and then almost immediately decided that they would rather have Gardner Minshew as their starting quarterback. Foles, it appears, is better suited to be a backup quarterback,” he explains."
We have been over this before that the Jaguars as an organization cannot afford to release Foles from his contract because it would cost the team over $33 million in dead cap space. The front office is already punching numbers, working to see what kind of cap relief they can muster from releasing or restructuring high-priced free agents while still looking to sign defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to either a long-term deal or place the franchise tag on the rising star.
The battle between Foles and Gardner Minshew is one of the better stories of the offseason, but watching the Jaguars try and make everything work under the salary cap and improve their roster may be worthy of a Lazy Boy and a tub of popcorn.
The idea to work a deal with Cleveland then becomes a bit more complicated, as Kennel explains, but isn’t something that hasn’t been worked out before. It’s a deal that could resemble Brock Osweiler’s and how the Browns dumped his salary for compensation.
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"“For 2020, it would cost them an incredible $33.9 million dollars to cut him outright. If, on the other hand, they can convince another team to pick up his $15.1 million dollar salary, they can pare down their debt to a more manageable $18.8 million dollars,” Kennel wrote.“Now, who the screw wants a backup quarterback for $15.1 million dollars? The answer is, nobody! The Jaguars would have to give up something good in order to convince a team to make a deal with them.”"
That something good might be draft compensation – something the team has thanks to the deal with the Los Angeles Rams for taking Jalen Ramsey off their hands. The Jaguars are one of three teams with multiple picks in the first round of the NFL Draft and have three picks in the first 42 selections.
The Browns don’t need a starting quarterback because they drafted Baker Mayfield in 2018. The front office could be an intermediary to make this happen as the NFL is more about dollars and sense than making the football world a more balanced league.
"“Foles definitely has more “fair value” than Osweiler. Osweiler was probably perceived by the rest of the league as a $2 million dollar career backup, whereas Foles has done well as a starter and has a Super Bowl ring to prove it,” Kennel wrote."
That’s one of the main reasons the Jaguars not only pursued Foles, but they also overpaid and outbid themselves in the process to do it. Now, there is a conundrum in how they pay someone all that money to potentially be a backup for a more dynamic player on the field.
"“The right team would probably pay Foles at least Teddy Bridgewater money, or one year at $7 or $8 million dollars,” Kennel adds. “That might be a team like the Chicago Bears, who would consider a competition the first-string quarterback job, but a team that does not have tons of cap space to help Jacksonville fix its cap problem.”"
Chicago has been discussed as a possible trade destination for Foles given his relationship with their quarterback’s coach, John DeFilippo from their days in Philadelphia and last season in Jacksonville. Foles and Bears head coach Matt Nagy know each other from when the two were in Kansas City.