Could Johnny Manziel be headed to the Philadelphia Eagles?
The week before the NFL Draft is always full of bluster around league circles. Trade talks are leaked to the media and fans hear endless stories of why Player X would or would not be the best fit for their team. As the NFL moved the Draft back to May this year, the media have had two more weeks to speculate and create hype. The latest hype has the Philadelphia Eagles trading their quarterback Nick Foles and a draft pick or two, in an attempt to draft Texas A&M quarterback Johnny “Football” Manziel.
Many fans, including myself, have written this off as a draft week smokescreen, allowing the Eagles to stealthily pounce on another player. However, there are a few reasons to give consideration to when deciding whether the Eagles would realistically consider this move.
1) Nick Foles is not a Chip Kelly pick.
Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly did not draft Nick Foles. Last season, Foles was entering a hotly contested quarterback contest with now ex-Eagles QB Michael Vick. Foles ended up losing that battle, only taking over the starting position after an injury to Vick. Even after performing well, it took a few weeks for Kelly to announce Nick Foles as the Eagles starter going forward. On an NFL roster, the quarterback position is undoubtedly the most important. Look around the NFL. How many successful NFL Head Coaches have achieved that success with someone else’s pick under center? I bet it’s not too many. As an offensive guru, I’ve no doubt that Chip Kelly would like to have his own man calling the shots, whether that’s Johnny Manziel or Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (eligible next year), who knows?
2) Foles’ trade value may never be higher
Nick Foles is coming off a legitimately outstanding season. His jersey made it to the Hall of Fame, following a seven TD game against the Oakland Raiders and he exceeded all expectations after replacing Vick as a starter. Can he realistically continue to perform at this level? No one knows and only time will tell the answer. Foles has a calm, steady manner that will surely assist him in his goal, but has he really got the ability to perform at that elite level year after year? Many other NFL teams would love to have a guy like Foles on their roster, however, which may give the Eagles leverage in trade talks. Trading Foles plus a pick or two in this year or the 2015 draft, may even get them up to the number one pick held by the Houston Texans.
3) Chip Kelly has total control of the Eagles
Jeffrey Lurie, upon DeSean Jackson’s release, that Chip Kelly had the benefit of the doubt. There’s no doubt that Chip Kelly is a powerful man in the Philadelphia Eagles franchise, with the power to say who stays and who goes. If Chip Kelly really wants Manziel, a player he recruited for Oregon out of high school, then the Eagles front office are likely to do what they can to get Manziel.
4) Manziel and the Eagles scheme are a match
The Eagles run a fast tempo, attacking offense. Manziel is a mobile quarterback, capable of making the quick, short to mid range throws required to thrive in Kelly’s offense. Manziel also brings a danger with his feet, able to move the ball on the ground if he has to. The fact that the Eagles also have running backs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles, mean that some of the pressure is taken off the quarterback, with a strong running game to support the QB.
5) Trading Foles saves the Eagles money against the cap
Nick Foles is likely to earn a blockbuster deal next year if he stays at the Eagles. Several other players, including cornerback Brandon Boykin, are also eligible for new deals next summer. Moving Foles will save the Eagles money on a big deal, buying them several years until Manziel would be eligible for a big money second deal. That breathing space against the cap could be useful for an Eagles front office who like to forward plan.
6) It would break the internet
The Eagles like to make shockwaves. They signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha from out of the blue in free agency a few years ago. DeSean Jackson was stunningly released following a career year. Donovan McNabb, the Eagles long term QB and holder of most franchise records for the position, was traded in the division to the Washington Redskins. Making shock moves seems to be part of the Eagles DNA. Expect Twitter to crash if the move happens.
All in all, however unlikely it is, it would be great fun if the Eagles made the move! Who know what is going to happen? We’ll all find out in under 48 hours…