The last time Nick Foles played at Soldier Field, he sprinted into the locker room jubilant after Cody Parkey double-doinked a kick that would have put the Bears — and not Foles’ Eagles — into the second round of the NFC playoffs.
The next time he walks into the stadium, it will be as a Bear. The Bears agreed to trade their compensatory fourth-round pick for Foles on Wednesday.
The Bears are restructuring Foles’ contract. Per ESPN, he still has three years and $21 million left. Foles has the ability to void the contract after either of the next two years, though.
It’s unclear precisely how the Bears will split up snaps between Foles and former No. 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky. Restrictions on physicals — and therefore official team announcements — could delay any press conference explanation from coach Matt Nagy or general manager Ryan Pace. But Foles will be at least a stalking horse for Mitch Trubisky — real competition to force the fourth-year player to win the starting job outright.
Since the double-doink on Jan. 6, 2019, Foles has signed a four-year, $88 million deal — and not won a single football game. He broke his collarbone in the Jaguars’ season-opener last year. He returned for three more games — all losses — at the end of the season, and finished with a 65.8 passer rating, 736 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
The numbers are hardly impressive, but Foles has three things working in his favor — familiarity with a backup role, the Bears’ coaching staff and the playbook.
Foles — who turned 31 in January — turned in perhaps the greatest pinch-hit performance in NFL history when he took over for an injured Carson Wentz in the Eagles’ 13th regular season game of 2017. The Eagles won that game and then two of the final three to reach the playoffs. Foles led the Eagles to a 15-10 win against the Falcons, a 38-7 in against the Vikings and, in the Super Bowl, a 41-33 win against the Patriots. He was named Super Bowl MVP after catching one of the most iconic passes in the history of the NFL — “Philly Special,” a touchdown pass to him from current Bears tight end Trey Burton.
Foles filled in for an injured Wentz the next year, too, going 4-1 in the regular season before beating the Bears in the playoffs and then losing to the Saints.
In his career, which started when the Eagles took him in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Arizona, Foles has played for three of the Bears’ most important offensive coaches: offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in his first, three-year stint with the Eagles; quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo in 2017 during his second stint; and Nagy as a member of the 2012 Eagles and 2016 Chiefs.
When Foles joined the Chiefs in August 2016, he didn’t bring his car. Nagy, the quarterbacks coach, loaned him his own car.
“He put my backrest back too far …” Nagy joked last year. ”But he took good care of it.”
Foles is fairly familiar with Nagy’s scheme, too, having played for him twice. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson’s offense is the one in the league most similar to Nagy’s. That will be valuable this offseason, in which practices and gatherings figure to be truncated, if not canceled, because of the coronavirus.
The Bears are trading the compensatory pick they received earlier this month for losing more than they gained in free agency last year. For a team without a first- or third-round pick, the fourth-rounder figured to be the highest price the team was willing to pay.