With Carson Wentz finally healthy, naturally, trade talk surrounding Nick Foles has resurfaced. And with Jimmy Garoppolo set to miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear, that talk has heated up fast.
The 49ers are likely going to test the QB market via both trade and free agency, and while Kyle Shanahan has expressed confidence in his backup quarterback, CJ Beathard, there’s no reason to expect that trust to withstand poor play—which is what Beathard provided last season.
But just how much sense does a trade for Foles make for the 49ers? The question that needs to be asked is how much does San Francisco value competing for a championship this season?
It’s only natural to compare these circumstances with the Bradford-Bridgewater scenario from 2016. A few years back the Vikings were in the type of win-now situation that breeds desperation—which ultimately led to the swap of Sam Bradford for a 1st round pick.
Are the 49ers in a similar situation? I don’t think so. With a young roster on the ascend, there isn’t really a need for the team to mortgage future assets (no matter how small the price) in the name of chasing what figured to already be a long-shot Super Bowl hope.
The 2016 Vikings were coming of a season that saw a playoff run cut short by a 27-yard shank from Blair Walsh. With a few of the team’s star players on the final year of rookie contracts, 2016 was viewed in Minnesota in near ‘Super Bowl-or-bust’ terms.
I realize San Francisco had high expectations heading into the year—I myself thought they were a dark horse contender for the Super Bowl, similar to the Birds last season—but that wasn’t based off much more than the 5-0 run they ended 2017 with. Considering their 1-2 record and uninspiring play thus far, any talk of a Super Bowl is simply misplaced.
On top of that, Jimmy G differs from Bridgewater in the sense that San Fran has no reason to doubt his long term viability. Brdgewater wasn’t locked in as the QB of the future in the way that Garoppolo is, meaning that when Minnesota added Bradford there was the possibility that he would be the long term answer moving forward—thus giving him added value. That possibility doesn’t exist in a Foles-49ers scenario.
With a Super Bowl appearance highly unlikely, and no need for Foles’ long term services, this just isn’t a great match.
Does that mean it isn’t a possibility? Not at all. It just means Foles doesn’t have the kind of value to the 49ers that would yield anything close to a high pick. While San Fran is confident in their ability to compete this season (a reason to add Foles), they’re fully aware that a trade for Foles minimally moves the needle toward a championship.
You can forget about getting a first, second, or even third round pick in return for Foles, at least from San Francisco. With that said, I don’t know that we’ll ever see that kind of value for Foles again.
The fundamental question the front office becomes this: do you salvage whatever value he has left and cash in before becomes a free agent? Or, hold out in the hope that a more realistic contender loses their QB and reaches the kind of desperation that warrants trading a high pick, with the added risk that if such a situation never happens, Foles could walk in the offseason for nothing.