The Jaguars have their new quarterback.
Nick Foles signed with the team at the start of free agency on Wednesday, giving the Jaguars the player that they hope to be able to compete with, and win with, in 2019.
Just after 8:30 p.m., the former Philadelphia Eagle landed in Jacksonville, according to a report from News 6 sister station WJXT.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) March 14, 2019
His contract is a big one, four years, $88 million with $50.125 guaranteed. Incentives could push the deal to $102 million, according to Foles’ agency, Athletes First.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) March 13, 2019
Foles and the Jaguars had been linked throughout much of 2018 and the offseason as the ideal match for one another.
Jacksonville, beset by erratic play at the position in five seasons under Blake Bortles, needed a franchise quarterback. Foles, for all of his recent heroics with the Eagles, wanted a team to call his own. He wasn’t going to be that guy in Philadelphia.
The MVP of Super Bowl 52 backed up Carson Wentz and logged significant playing time the last two seasons, but wasn’t going to overtake the former No. 2 overall draft pick in Philly.
With a relatively sparse top-tier quarterback market in free agency and sitting too far back in the draft (No. 7) to ensure that they’d be able to get a player like Dwayne Haskins, the Jaguars elected the safer choice in Foles.
He’s a veteran, set to help the team win now. The Jaguars have a defense that its built to win now with.
The Jaguars hired John DeFilippo, the Eagles’ quarterback coach when Foles and Philadelphia won the Super Bowl, as their new offensive coordinator, so the foundation is in place for what, on paper, should be a smooth transition.
It needs to be.
After a run to the AFC championship game in 2017, the Jaguars followed that up with the most disappointing season in the franchise’s 24-year history.
Jacksonville went 5-11 and had one of the league’s most anemic offenses. Bortles was benched in favor of Cody Kessler. When that change, coupled with the firing of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett didn’t work, the Jaguars went back to Bortles.
But it was clear that wasn’t going to work moving forward.
The Jaguars defense, which has made numerous salary cap cuts this offseason, is still intact enough to think that similar performances to 2017 and ’18 are possible.
A healthy and focused Leonard Fournette is a must, but a quarterback like Foles is the key.