The guy who didn’t want to play with the No. 1 overall draft pick was the backup for No. 2, a development that kicked him out of town.
Monday's 2-year deal between the Eagles and their brief Golden Boy, quarterback Nick Foles, worth $11 million, according to NFL.com, indicated the Eagles had no interest in Chase Daniel ever taking another snap for them. They couldn't keep him and the Eagles released a statement late Monday thanking him for his services.
Daniel, 30, landed in Philadelphia last season as Doug Pederson’s chief lieutenant in pads, oversold as a backup. He came from Kansas City as a package deal with Pederson and was viewed as an extra assistant coach. As such, he was the pricey insurance policy for fragile starter Sam Bradford and for whatever quarterback they drafted to eventually succeed Bradford; preferably, Carson Wentz.
Daniel flopped during the preseason to the degree that, when the Birds traded Bradford to the Vikings at the end of training camp, they gave the keys to the franchise not to Daniel but, rather, to Wentz - a Football Championship Subdivision project who was injured in his first preseason game. That’s right: The Birds gave a I-AA quarterback the starting job over Daniel.
Immediately, the 3-year, $21 million contract they gave Daniel seemed even more outrageous than it did when they signed him in March 2016. That contract included $12 million in guaranteed money; $7 million of that is his 2017 salary. Thanks to his $3 million signing bonus, Daniel carried an $8 million salary-cap hit this season for the Eagles. He would have carried a $2 million cap hit (accelerated remaining pro-rated bonus) if he were traded.
At $7 million, Daniel apparently was impossible to trade, though anyone who took him would have had no responsibility beyond 2017, since his $7 million salary in 2018 is not guaranteed. At any price, a 6-foot, 30-year-old quarterback with 78 pass attempts in seven seasons would be a tough sell. But the Birds had no choice but get rid of Daniel. Foles will make too much money and cast too large a shadow to be anything but a No. 2.
Foles went 1-5 as a third-round rookie in 2012, Andy Reid’s last season, then, in 2013, he lost a preseason battle with Michael Vick to be Chip Kelly’s first starter. An injury to Vick gave Foles his chance, though, and Foles went 8-2, led the Birds to the playoffs, made the Pro Bowl and was that game’s MVP, for whatever that’s worth. His 27 touchdowns and two interceptions gave him the best TD/INT ratio in NFL history. A 6-5, 244-pound prototype with deep-ball proficiency, Foles was immensely popular in Philadelphia. Briefly.
Foles began 2014 with less impressive stats, but he still went 6-2 before a broken collarbone cost him the rest of that season and began The Mark Sanchez Experience, Philadelphia Edition. Foles never played another game for the Eagles. Kelly had soured on him and traded him to the Rams for Bradford.
Foles quickly signed a 2-year, $24 million contract extension with almost $14 million guaranteed. Foles flopped in St. Louis, requested his release after the Rams drafted Jared Goff with the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, and never made the move to Los Angeles.
After Pederson took Daniel to Philadelphia to mentor Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick, Reid gave Foles a job as a backup in Kansas City. Since his heady 14-4 run as a starter with the Birds, Foles has gone 5-7, has thrown 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and has a 74.2 passer rating.
He was, however, outstanding in a stand-in start for Alex Smith last season. Perhaps he fits the role of backup. But there was no room for an $8 million third-string quarterback, and there’s only one role as a backup - especially if that backup provides such pleasant nostalgia.
So, ciao, Chase.