Connections between Super Bowl-winning quarterback Nick Foles and the Arizona Cardinals started to manifest even before Super Bowl LII kicked off in Minnesota on Sunday.
Then Foles led the Eagles to a 41-33 victory over the Patriots, throwing for 373 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also added a receiving touchdown on a trick play at the end of the second quarter.
Knee-jerk reaction linked the Cardinals’ quarterback situation to Foles.
With franchise quarterback Carson Wentz waiting to take the reins back from Foles next season for the Eagles, questions turn to what the team will do with their Super Bowl-winning backup.
Sean Wagner-McGough from CBS Sports listed the Cardinals as the No. 2 potential landing spot for Foles this offseason, behind the Eagles keeping him as a backup.
Why it could happen: Carson Palmer retired, which leaves them without a starting quarterback. They also won too many games (8), which means they’re not picking until No. 15. That means they’re likely not getting one of the top three quarterbacks in this year’s draft barring a trade up. The Cardinals are in a weird spot. They just lost their coach and quarterback to retirement, and Larry Fitzgerald could follow them, but they still won eight games. A complete rebuild doesn’t make total sense, but their roster has enough holes that trading a high pick for someone like Alex Smith might not make sense. Foles figures to be cheaper.
Why it won’t happen: Does Foles elevate the Cardinals to the level of a contender? Probably not. The Cardinals reside in the same division as the young, but dominant Rams, the always good Seahawks, and the up-and-coming 49ers. The Cardinals would be better off saving their draft picks and signing someone like McCown or Sam Bradford as a bridge quarterback.
Wagner-McGough isn’t the only person who connects the dots between Arizona and the Philadelphia quarterback. Before the Super Bowl even began, David Johnson pitched Foles on joining the Cardinals.
Ryan Phillips from The Big Lead also likes the fit.
The weapons are there for Foles to immediately step in and have success. The question would be the price Arizona is willing to pay to get him.
There are plenty of reasons for Cardinals fans to link the puzzle pieces with Foles and Arizona.
Foles spent his final three years of college playing in Tucson with the Arizona Wildcats after transferring from Michigan State. From 2009-11, Foles’ completion percentage, yardage and touchdowns increased every year.
This season since taking over for Wentz, Foles ran an unorthodox offense that featured a lot of college type plays such as RPOs (run pass options).
Foles’ best season as a pro came with the Eagles under coach Chip Kelly, who ran a lightning-quick paced college-style offense that produced a 27:2 touchdown to interception ratio for the quarterback in 2013.
Cardinals new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has shown versatility when it comes to coaching quarterbacks with different styles. McCoy has coached Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning to the playoffs, quarterbacks whose styles contrast about as much as the sun and the moon.
If there is a coordinator who can adjust to a different style of play per quarterback, it’s McCoy.
The possibilities of landing Foles in a trade might come at a hefty price.
Winning the Super Bowl is the quickest way to raise a quarterback’s value in the NFL. Ask guys like Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. But the Cardinals have all of their draft picks in the first three rounds of the 2018 draft as potential trade bait and currently Foles has a very team-friendly contract.
There is no doubt that filling the void at the quarterback position is on the top of the Cardinals’ to-do list and Foles’ resume at least puts him in the discussion.