Sunday, March 8, 2015

NY Jets: the Case for a Nick Foles Trade

The New York Jets pulled a trade for Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall in a move that has both a high risk and high reward potential considering both the talent and volatility of the player. The upside of the move is tantalizing. Marshall gives the Jets their best deep threat since Santonino Holmes in 2010, and maybe their tallest receiver since Keyshawn Johnson left town in 1999.  The potential is there for greatness -- Marshall has had seven 1,000 yard receiving years in his career, and is a terrific red zone threat.

But there is one on-field issue: who will the Jets have throwing the football to him and Eric Decker? Does the new Jets regime want to throw its weight around Geno Smith for one more season? Do they want to take a major risk and draft the franchises third rookie quarterback in seven years with, presumably, Marcus Mariota in April's draft?

If the answer to both questions is no. Then the Jets need to both find a way and hope that they can make something happen via trade for none other than Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.

Is Foles available? He might be. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is very fond of Mariota, to the point that he is rumored to wanting to do anything to trade up to get him. If the Eagles want Mariota as their quarterback they will have to give up both the 20th pick and Foles to do so.

This is does not mean that the Jets are a lock to be involved in a trade. The Eagles could work out a blockbuster deal with either Tampa Bay or Tennessee in which that team gets Foles and load of Eagles draft picks to compensate for trading either the first or second pick in the draft. The Eagles could also call the Jaguars, who are picking third and offer Foles and draft picks, especially if they don't want to wait. Even though Jacksonville has a young quarterback in Blake Bortles, Foles is better.

Nothing is guaranteed. Yet everyone seems to think that the Bucs and Titans will pass on Mariota, meaning that the next likely team in the market for a quarterback is ... the Jets. If Mariota does indeed drop the Jets shouldn't hesitate to pick up the phone and call Kelly down I-95 and make the deal.

The case for Foles:Even though he has had a solid career thus far, Foles has still drawn the ire of Eagles fans and some NFL fans as being not that good. Having watched him at different points over the past two years, I don't understand the hate. This is a guy took off two years ago and led that franchise to the playoffs, and had them in position to make the playoffs last year before suffering a collar bone injury.  Before his injury he won six games last year with his signature wins coming in comebacks against Jacksonville and Indianapolis.

He has completed 61 percent of his passes in his career, and has a tremendous touchdown to interception ratio of 46-17. Two seasons ago, Foles threw 27 touchdowns and two interceptions all year. This guy has talent -- and at 26 years old, he hasn't even hit his peak. This is not Mark Sanchez who was a bad quarterback that had more lives than a cat, and excuses to boot. Foles has the potential to be the real deal. 

Yes, Foles was hurt by turnovers last season with ten interceptions, and has had fumble issues. The other negative is that he takes a lot of big hits -- which is something that a lot of these big quarterbacks who are over 6'5" seem to take nowadays.

If protecting the football, and improving his timing on throws is his biggest concern, the Jets should go all in. This is a franchise that has seen some of the worst quarterback play any one team can see over the past six seasons. From Sanchez who led the NFL in turnovers two years running, to Geno Smith and his very, very long learning curve that has created doubt in the minds of football people that he can be something more than mediocre, the Jets deserve better.

The Jets have never had a true franchise quarterback who can gun the football down the field accurately on a consistent basis. The Jets have seen spurts: Vinny Testaverde in 1998, Chad Pennington in 2002 and 2004, Brett Favre at 38 years old in 2008, and even a little bit of Sanchez from time to time. But those few moments of brilliance were very far between.

If Foles continues to develop at the rate he started in Philadelphia, the Jets would be foolish not to consider trading for him. They need a quarterback of this ilk, who can get the football to the likes of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. They need a quarterback who can provide steady leadership where its been lacking. They need a quarterback who can become the face of the team. All the great franchises have a quarterback who is at the center of the franchise. While the jury is still out on whether Foles can become a top NFL quarterback, he is certainly a good one, and much better than the options that are out there on the market.

If Mariota is available to the Jets at six, pick up the phone and make a deal.

No comments: