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QB Nick Foles returns to the field

Stuart Grant
QB Nick FolesWikimedia Commons

As we enter week 16 of the 2021 NFL season, a familiar face has been named starting QB for his team. With rookie Justin Fields and veteran Andy Dalton both being sidelined with injuries, the Chicago Bears named Nick Foles starter for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Foles has not started for Chicago since week 10 of the 2020 season in a loss to division rival Minnesota. As Covid 19 ravages rosters throughout the league, the market for experienced back up QBs has never been hotter. Still, Chicago is Foles' fifth NFL stop and 2022 will be his tenth season in the league.

The itinerant Foles career is uniquely checkered with the highest highs and humbling lows. He is in rare company having won a Superbowl and Superbowl MVP as a back up QB. Rarer still, he and Eli Manning are the only QBs to beat Tom Brady in a Superbowl. He quarterbacked the Eagles to their only Superbowl victory and is the only QB to throw and catch a TD in Superbowl history.

As he performed two tours of duty with the Philadelphia Eagles, he is among rare quarterbacks who have played for the same team twice. Oddly, he has never been able to retain a starting job for long. Drafted by the Eagles in 2012, Foles was named starter in 2013 by new head coach Chip Kelly as incumbent QB Michael Vick succumbed to injuries.

Foles was named to the Pro Bowl after registering a league best 27 - 2 touchdown to interception ratio. Against the Oakland Raiders, he threw for seven touchdowns and no interceptions, registering a perfect 158.3 passer rating. His passer rating for the 2013 season was 119.0 and third highest in NFL history.

In 2014, Foles suffered a broken collarbone and started only eight games. He was replaced by backup Mark Sanchez. The Eagles won the division title under Foles' record of 6 - 2 as a starter.

New NFL head coaches put their stamp on team rosters by bringing in their own QB. As he was drafted by Andy Reid, Chip Kelly had no attachment to Foles' tenure in Philadelphia and traded him to the St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford in March 2015.

Foles' 2015 season as a Ram was uneven. He struggled with turnovers, throwing a career high four interceptions in one game against the Green Bay Packers. He was benched in favour of Case Keenum and later reclaimed the starting role.

As his time in St. Louis came near the end of Head Coach Jeff Fisher's ill fated run, the Rams decided to reboot and selected QB Jared Goff in the first round of the 2016 draft. Foles asked for and was granted his release.

In August 2016, he was briefly reunited with Head Coach Andy Reid and signed a one year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs that included second and third year options. It was clear that Alex Smith was the established starter at QB. While Foles replaced him for two games due to injury, Smith was immediately returned as starter when he cleared concussion protocol. The second and third year options on Foles' contract were not exercised and he was granted his release.

In March 2017, Foles signed a contract to return to Philadelphia as back up to 2016 first round draft pick Carson Wentz. Foles entered the week fourteen game for the injured Wentz, opening the door for his miraculous Superbowl victory and MVP performance under head coach Doug Pederson.

Foles signed an incentive laden contract with the Eagles following his Superbowl victory that included a voidable option for 2019. As Wentz was not medically cleared to return to play, Foles entered the 2018 season as the week one starter. Wentz, however, was returned as starter in week 3 and continued until week 15 when he was injured. Foles led the Eagles to the postseason where they fell to the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round.

While he fell marginally short his incentive laden contract terms, the Eagles paid as though they were reached and offered to exercise a 20 million dollar option. Foles, however, voided the option and signed a four year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars worth 88 million dollars. Foles broke his collarbone in week one and was replaced by Gardner Minshew until week eleven.

In a turnover filled week thirteen game against Tampa Bay, Foles was benched in favor of Minshew for the remainder of the season by Head Coach Doug Marrone. He was traded to Chicago in the 2020 offseason to compete with first round bust Mitch Trubisky and was named starter until being injured in his last start.

As the Ryan Pace era comes to a close in Chicago, all signs point to a housecleaning under a new head coach and GM tandem. Foles has secured his family's financial security and his place in NFL legend. As Covid-19 and the wear and tear of the seventeen game season decimate rosters, Foles should have no problem finding a market for his services. If he decides to keep playing, it looks like it will be in a market where he will be adding to his already impressive jersey collection.

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