Philadelphia Eagles Can't Afford to Trade Nick Foles Yet

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistAugust 20, 2013

Aug 15, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) scrambles during the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

As reported by's Phil Sheridan and many others, Michael Vick will start the year as the Philadelphia Eagles' No. 1 quarterback for the third consecutive season.

However, that doesn't mean he'll finish it that way, which is the primary reason why new head coach Chip Kelly has to insist that both Vick and second-year arm Nick Foles remain on the roster ahead of their Week 1 matchup with the division rival Washington Redskins.

Let's break down the reasons why the Eagles should keep Foles for now.


1. There's a Chance Vick Doesn't Hold up

In terms of performance as well as health, Vick remains a liability.

Pro Football Focus (subscription required) pegged him as the most pressured quarterback in the NFL last season and he's ranked in the bottom three in terms of most time spent in the pocket in each of the last two years.

All of the hits have taken a toll, which is why the 33-year-old has missed 12 games due to injury since becoming a starter in 2010.

Kelly knows the risk, which is why he told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Foles will be on the final roster.

You don’t have to look any farther than last night’s game with the Redskins, where [Robert Griffin III] is on the sideline and Kirk Cousins goes down in the second quarter. In this league, you better have a couple of quarterbacks ready to go. I mentioned that again to Nick today. I think Nick is going to approach it that he’s the starter, because that’s got to be his mentality going into this and prepare like he’s a starter.

When he has been healthy, Vick has been a turnover machine. Since the start of 2011, he has 33 turnovers in 23 games and he's fumbled 32 times in 35 games since taking over in 2010.

Fortunately for Vick and the Eagles, they've recovered 20 of those, but that is basically luck and could take a 180-degree turn in 2013.

Vick could have a whole new, positive football life under Kelly's regime, but let's keep in mind that he has thrown just 15 passes in two preseason games.

There's a long road ahead.


2. Foles Brings a Change of Pace That Kelly Might Be Able to Exploit

Bleacher Report's Dan Levy made this suggestion on Monday, calling it "the perfect situation for Kelly to flex his innovative football muscles."

It's hard enough to game-plan for a mobile quarterback like Vick and a brand new system like Kelly's, but it's next to impossible to game-plan for two separate quarterbacks within that system. 

Don't be surprised at all if Kelly finds a way to work Foles into games when the circumstances might benefit shaking things up. The guy has top-notch pocket presence for a man his age and gets rid of the ball faster than Vick.

A sudden switch from the left-handed speedster in Vick to the right-handed pocket quarterback in Foles would be fascinating.


3. Matt Barkley Isn't Ready Yet

The two points above would be moot if it appeared rookie fourth-round pick Matt Barkley was prepared to be the backup for an injury-prone starter right off the bat, but Barkley has struggled against third- and fourth-string defenders thus far in the preseason. 

The USC product has completed just 52.8 percent of his passes and has averaged just 4.9 yards per pass attempt through two preseason games.

Unless things change dramatically over the next two weeks, he won't be fit to serve as anything more than a clipboard-holder to start the year. 


I think the key here is that the risk associated with trading Foles isn't worth the reward. My guess is that the Eagles might be able to land a second- or third-round pick for him.

Keep in mind that he was selected in the third round of the 2012 draft.

Matt Flynn only fetched a fifth-rounder and a conditional pick for Seattle while Carson Palmer was only worth a sixth-rounder/seventh-rounder swap for Oakland, so don't expect a first-round pick to come Philly's way.

You can't afford not to have insurance at the most important position in football, and Foles offers that. Plus, there's the outside chance that he pulls a Vick circa 2010 and takes over early before never looking back. 

The Eagles have to wait and see what happens this season and then make a decision in 2014.