NFL free agency is really a peculiar period. Names you may have never heard of, like Kwon Alexander or Trent Brown, become the highest-paid players at their positions. Some players, like Jamison Crowder, become supremely overpaid despite not yet producing the way their contracts suggest.
One addition to the Jacksonville Jaguars that doesn’t fall under either of those categories is Nick Foles. Everyone knows about his magical run in 2017 after Carson Wentz went down for the season. Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl win over the Patriots, was named Super Bowl MVP, and garnered consideration to take over Philadelphia’s long-term quarterback over their former second overall pick.
The latter of those, obviously, didn’t happen. Foles voided Philly’s $20 million team option, and it looks like he’s heading to Jacksonville now after reportedly agreeing to a four-year, $88 million contract. Trust me Jags fans, that’s a good thing. After an awful 2018 season, Jacksonville is now a legitimate threat to return to the playoffs.
The Jaguars finally have a competent quarterback! OK, I don’t mean to be too harsh on Blake Bortles. He just was so mediocre that, with that defense, it was hard to watch the Jaguars limp their way to a measly five wins in 2018.
Of the 33 qualified quarterbacks, Bortles ranked 30th in total QBR ahead of only Lamar Jackson, Ryan Tannehill and Josh Rosen last year. His 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions weren’t exactly inspiring. The only quarterbacks who threw more interceptions and less touchdowns in 2018 were Josh Allen and Josh Rosen.
Ready to hear Foles’ numbers?
During the 2017 playoffs, Foles posted a total QBR of 81.8. The only player over the last two years to have a higher number in the playoffs? Tom Brady, also in 2017. The 6-foot-6 quarterback also had a better QBR in 2018 (albeit in just five games) than Jared Goff, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford and a whole lot more.
And maybe the most important stat to consider: 10-3. That’s Foles’ starting record with the Eagles since the beginning of 2017.
Maybe you think $50 million guaranteed is a lot of money. Maybe you think the Jaguars overpaid for Foles. A lot of analysts and media members sure did.
But before you listen to those guys, consider Jacksonville’s defense — which ranked inside the top five in points and yards per game last season — is returning corners Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, linebacker Myles Jack and a trio of defensive linemen in Marcell Dareus, Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue.
The Jags had to make a splash and get someone. And they did. They made sure of that. Just be happy they have Foles, who looked like the best free agent option on the market.
If Leonard Fournette can return to his 2017 form, who knows just how good Jacksonville can be in 2019?