Nick Foles, Jameis Winston are NFL afterthoughts in volatile QB marketplace

In an offseason seemingly dominated by the free-agency frenzy surrounding Tom Brady, Dak Prescott and Philip Rivers, the fates of some lower-tier quarterbacks also remain murky.

On Monday, ESPN reported that “the Jaguars want to go with Gardner Minshew II as their starting QB and, ideally, find a trade partner for [Nick] Foles.”

Nick Foles famously stepped in for injured Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz in 2017 and led the team to a Super Bowl win against the Patriots. Since joining the Jaguars, however, he has struggled to replicate that success and lost all four starts in 2019. He suffered a broken collarbone in Week 1 that sidelined him for 10 weeks, and was eventually benched for 2019 sixth-round pick Minshew.

Dealing Foles would mark the end to a disappointing and expensive stint in Jacksonville. The 31-year-old signal-caller is just one year into a four-year, $88 million contract with over $50 million guaranteed. He carries a 2020 cap hit of $22.125 million, and a $33.875 million dead cap hit according to Spotrac. This means the Jaguars would likely have to toss in additional incentives to make a deal more palatable, especially in light of the other big names about to hit free agency.

Nick Foles, Jameis Winston
Nick Foles, Jameis WinstonGetty Images

Another player who could suffer from the competitive free-agency market is caveat emptor quarterback, Jameis Winston. The Buccaneers are unlikely to franchise tag 26-year-old Winston, whom NBC Sports’ Peter King characterized as “likely” to leave during this offseason. King even cast doubt on the former Heisman Trophy winner’s ability to start for any team.

“I doubt sincerely he’d be a starter on opening day 2020 if he leaves Tampa,” he said. “But where would/could he be a backup?”

It’s a sad predicament for the 2015 No. 1 overall pick, whose NFL career has been hallmarked by turnovers and inconsistency. In 2019, Winston became the first quarterback in history to throw for at least 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.

“If we can win with this [quarterback], we can definitely win with another one, too,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said of Winston at the team’s end-of-season press conference. “You look at it and there’s so much good and so much outright terrible.”

NFL free agency begins on March 18.

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