The Bears continue looking at a tight salary cap situation but when June rolls around there are several possible moves they can make for a little extra cash.
One of those is trading quarterback Nick Foles. It's probably not the wisest move at this moment for several reasons but the primary one is the fact Foles is the only one in their quarterback room with any experience with the current Bears offense.
It's not that the Bears would necessarily want Foles to play because of his experience, but he is able to help Justin Fields get a better education on how the attack works from a different perspective than coaches can provide. Anything pointed toward upgrading Fields' rapid development is a good thing for the Bears.
It's currently a seller's market at quarterback and the Bears should want to trade Foles because he brings them $4 million in cap space if dealt after June 1. They do not get this cap relief if they cut him. It's only if they trade him. If they cut him they would eat $5 million in dead cap and possibly be forced to get rid of some of other player, as well.
So, as Fields knows more about what the Bears expect in this offense, the better off the team would be trading Foles.
The Bears signed former Lions quarterback Kyle Sloter to the practice squad last November after a Mitchell Trubisky injury. After the season, Sloter was signed by Oakland but then cut in April. Sloter was back at Halas Hall trying to make an impression during Bears rookie minicamp, so it's safe to assume if the Bears trade Foles they might want Sloter back for their practice squad.
In a Chicago Tribune article Brad Biggs suggests the best market stop for this type of move would be the New York Jets because they would want a mentor type behind first-round draft pick Zach Wilson.
It makes sense, although the mentor thing can be overrated. It works best with aging backups and Foles wouldn't yet qualify for this. He's still got tread on the tire, so to speak.
There are other teams in the league with far worse backup situations than the Jets and some are even teams capable of competing for division titles or making playoff runs. They could make far better use of a former Super Bowl MVP still in his early 30s.
Considering the lack of experience the Bears would have at backup to Andy Dalton if they dealt away Foles, they might want to think seriously before making such a move.
However, it's currently a seller's market with names like Robert Griffin III, Sean Mannion and Matt Barkley among the best unsigned options.
Here would be the best possible fits for Foles if the Bears could swing a deal.
6. Cincinnati Bengals
The backups behind franchise QB Joe Burrow look like a sea of blank faces. There are three undrafted rookies: Kyle Shurmur, Collin Hill and Eric Dungey, as well as Brandon Allen. Allen has been with four teams already after being a sixth-round pick in 2017. Allen has a 76.9 passer rating with a 2-6 record in eight NFL starts. Burrow just suffered his ACL tear Nov. 22, so they're rushing him out there a bit. It's definitely not unheard of for a quarterback to return from an ACL tear seven or eight months after surgery.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
Sure, they have Joe Flacco now backing up Jalen Hurts. But he's four years older than Foles and has been awful since leaving the Baltimore Ravens. His record is even worse since leaving the Ravens than Foles' record has been since leaving the Eagles. Foles still could win a mayoral race in Philadelphia in a landslide after bringing the team a Super Bowl win. Even Eagles GM Howie Roseman would realize reacquiring his Super Bowl MVP is preferable to a player four years older who hasn't been good in ages. The real problem here for the Eagles is Hurts' production and inexperience. Simply, Hurts hasn't been good as a passer. He ran well but had a 77.6 passer rating, comparable to Mitchell Trubisky as a rookie. Hurts' completion percentage was not even up to NFL backup standards at 52%.
4. Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson complains about getting beaten up too much, and what if it meant he couldn't play? A perennial playoff team would be relying on Geno Smith, who has a career passer rating of 72.9 for seven NFL seasons and 31 starts. His teams lost 19 of those 31 starts. The old system argument carried some validity before 2021 because Smith is somewhat similar in playing style to Wilson, but now the Seahawks have installed the 49ers offense. It doesn't take a twinkle toes to run it considering Jimmy Garoppolo has done just fine when healthy in San Francisco. So, Foles would give Pete Carroll a proven winner at quarterback to keep the playoff chain moving if he lost Wilson.
3. New York Jets
This makes total sense with only James Morgan and Mike White behind Wilson. Morgan is the Green Bay area native who the Bears liked in last year's draft. Foles could actually start here immediately if they needed to let Wilson learn more about the offense. When a team is rebuilding like the Jets, their need for a veteran starter can't be considered as great as that of a contending team who lacks a dependable backup.
2. Tennessee Titans
The fit in terms of playing style isn't quite there as Foles lacks the mobility of Ryan Tannehill. However, it's a heavy play-action offense and Foles could easily do this. The Titans are a team with a roster capable of contending in the AFC South, and if Tannehill suffered an injury they'd be turning the ball over to Logan Woodside or DeShone Kizer. Woodside is a former Bengals seventh-round pick who hasn't thrown an NFL pass. Kizer has already bombed out with three other teams since entering the league in 2017. This is a situation crying out loud for Foles. Tennessee's only problem is a tight cap situation but it's not as tight as the Bears have and it's one they could easily work around in a manner like the Bears did when acquiring Foles.
1. Dallas Cowboys
The Bears took the Dallas backup, now the Cowboys could take theirs. Foles fits in here to replace Dalton because the Cowboys have an offense capable of winning their division and if something happened again to Dak Prescott the only players behind him are Ben DiNucci, Cooper Rush or Garrett Gilbert. Their total inexperience would doom Dallas to another journey near the bottom of the NFC East. Rush is a former Central Michigan quarterback who has been around the Dallas organization since 2017 but has thrown only three passes, and all of those came in 2017. Gilbert is a Tyler Bray type who turns 30 next month and was hanging onto rosters or practice squads with the Rams, Patriots, Lions, Raiders, Panthers, and Browns. He had only five pass attempts over six seasons until he had to play last year after Dalton's concussion. The Cowboys even turned to undrafted rookie DiNucci first rather than Gilbert when Dalton was injured, and DiNucci flopped. Would a team rather have DiNucci and Gilbert or someone with experience winning Super Bowl MVP for a division rival in the past? It's not a difficult decision considering Foles wouldn't cost them much in salary or in trade compensation.
Certainly, Foles would enjoy this more than being a mentor in New York.
Also, Cowboys GM Jerry Jones would have a chance to rectify one of his bigger blunders while also bringing a Texas native home.
Writing for ESPN in 2018, Todd Archer quoted Jones talking in 2016 about his backup quarterback situation and how he liked Kellen Moore more than Foles, who was available before going on to win the Super Bowl.
"We know Foles pretty well," Jones said at the time. "We like Moore."
Moore had thrown six interceptions and only four TD passes for the Cowboys at the time. Moore was out of the league shortly thereafter before becoming a coach and Jones got to watch Foles hoist the Lombardi trophy.