Nick Foles knows his time in Philly is likely near­ing an end

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS -

— Nick Foles is in a unique sit­u­a­tion, a Su­per Bowl MVP try­ing to lead his team to a sec­ond straight cham­pi­onship know­ing he will most likely play some­where else next sea­son.

Noth­ing about what Foles has done for the Philadel­phia Ea­gles is or­di­nar y.

“I’m not wor­ried about the fu­ture but I un­der­stand where I stand and ev­ery time I wear that jersey is spe­cial,” Foles said Wednesday. “We get one more week to­gether, at least.”

The Ea­gles (10-7) face the New Or­leans Saints (13-3) in a NFC divisional play­off game on Sun­day thanks to Foles’ hero­ics in the clutch again.

He filled in when Car­son Wentz sus­tained a knee in­jury in 2017 and led the Ea­gles to their first NFL ti­tle since 1960, go­ing 5-0 in games that he started and fin­ished.

Foles re­turned to the start­ing lineup af­ter a back in­jury side­lined Wentz last month and has led the Ea­gles to four straight wins, in­clud­ing a 16-15 come­back vic­tory at Chicago in the wild-card round.

PHILADEL­PHIA (AP)

Fac­ing the NFL’s stingi­est de­fense, Foles tossed a 2-yard touch­down pass to Golden Tate on fourth down with 56 sec­onds re­main­ing.

But no mat­ter how far Foles can take the Ea­gles, it prob­a­bly won’t change his stand­ing on the team. Wentz is the fran­chise quar­ter­back. He fin­ished third in NFL MVP voting in his sec­ond sea­son as a pro. He re­turned quickly af­ter surgery to re­pair two torn knee lig­a­ments, started 11 games and posted ca­reer highs in com­ple­tion rate (69.6 per­cent) and passer rat­ing (102.2) de­spite bat­tling in­con­sis­tency and in­jury.

“He’s the guy we drafted and mov­ing for­ward, he’s our quar­ter­back,” coach Doug Ped­er­son said, re­peat­ing the same thought sev­eral times.

The Ea­gles must de­cide by midFe­bru­ary if they want to exercise a $20 mil­lion op­tion to keep Foles for 2019. That’s a big price to pay a backup, though Wentz is sched­uled to make a base salary of $720,000 next sea­son with a salary cap to­tal of about $8.5 mil­lion.

If the team de­clines the op­tion, Foles be­comes a free agent. If the op­tion is picked up, Foles has five days to choose whether to ac­cept it or void it and pay back a $2 mil­lion sign­ing bonus. Philadel­phia could elect to exercise the op­tion and trade Foles. His salary would be­come fully guar­an­teed on March 18, the fifth day of the league year.

Wentz is un­der team con­trol through 2020 and the Ea­gles could of­fer him a new long-term deal now be­fore his ask­ing price sky­rock­ets.

Al­though it’s not a de­bate within the or­ga­ni­za­tion, Foles vs. Wentz has dom­i­nated con­ver­sa­tion among fans and sports talk­ers.

Foles has al­ready won a Su­per Bowl and he’s 25-12 as a starter in Philadel­phia, go­ing back to his first stint with the team from 201214. He has the high­est winning per­cent­age (.676) in fran­chise his­tor y.

While out­siders ar­gue the mer­its of both, it has not been un­com­fort­able for two tal­ented quar­ter­backs who are close friends and share a spe­cial bond.

“Both guys are broth­ers in Christ first and fore­most so that’s a big part of their re­la­tion­ship,” Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz said.

“They un­der­stand that foot­ball is not the most im­por­tant thing to them so they re­late ex­tremely well in many other things. They’re ex­tremely happy for the other guy’s suc­cess.

“You don’t find that every­where. You don’t find that very of­ten on the same team let alone the same po­si­tion, but that is what’s dif­fer­ent about this team. Guys truly care about one an­other and are happy for the other man’s suc­cess.”

TNS PHOTO

Ea­gles quar­ter­back Nick Foles passes in the sec­ond half against the Gi­ants dur­ing a game last sea­son at Metlife Sta­dium in East Ruther­ford, N.J.

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