New deal: Restructure puts Nick Foles back in his comfort zone with Bears
‘‘Ultimately, it was time to make a change,’’ Foles said. ‘‘Now I have an opportunity . . . to be with a coach that was there for me from the beginning, like Doug Pederson was. I got Matt Nagy.’’
Nick Foles knows exactly what he’s getting into.
The Super Bowl-winning quarterback knows all about quarterback competitions, quarterback controversies and the importance of being a sincerely good teammate. He knows about the value of comfort zones and familiarity. He knows about big cities and passionate, irrational fan bases. He knows about the role the media plays. And, probably most of all, he knows about the importance of being in the right place at the right time.
That’s why he’s with the Bears, who acquired him in a trade with the Jaguars last month for a fourth-round pick in the draft this month. That’s why he made it happen. There might not be a player in the NFL who knows more about opportunity than Foles. He knows he could have stayed with the Jaguars and battled Gardner Minshew. He ostensibly chose to come to the Bears to battle Mitch Trubisky.
‘‘I think the big thing about the trade . . . what made it happen was ultimately me agreeing to restructure my contract,’’ Foles, 31, said Friday in a conference call with Chicago-area reporters. ‘‘Because if I don’t agree to a restructure, I’m not traded. So I’m back in Jacksonville.
‘‘This situation works best for the Jacksonville Jaguars and for the Chicago Bears and for me. This is ultimately what I thought was best, based on a lot of information from last season to where agreeing to a crazy restructure was necessary to allow me to play for coach [Matt] Nagy and the Bears. It’s probably not the logistical move if you’re looking at numbers and contracts and moving and all that stuff.’’
After a washout 2019 with the Jaguars in which he suffered a broken collarbone in the season opener, then was replaced by sixth-round rookie Minshew three games into his return in December, Foles was owed nearly $57 million on the remainder of the four-year, $88 million contract he signed in free agency. The restructure whittled that to a three-year, $24 million deal with $21 million guaranteed. It’s still pricey, but it’s not prohibitive for a Bears team in need of a player familiar with Nagy’s offense who could challenge Trubisky.
‘‘It was necessary, based on my heart and a lot of prayer and thinking,’’ Foles said. ‘‘It was obviously a struggle [with the Jaguars]. We went to Jacksonville with a lot of hopes. I will say this: I don’t have any regrets. We gave it every single thing we had the entire year. My wife and I made a lot of amazing relationships, and we learned a lot, grew up a lot as human beings by the trials we faced.
‘‘But, ultimately it was time to make a change. Now I have an opportunity to play for a team that I played a couple of years ago [a 16-15 Eagles victory in a wild-card playoff game in January 2019 at Soldier Field] that was honestly one of the best teams I’ve played against. [And] to be with a coach that was there for me from the beginning, like Doug Pederson was. I got Matt Nagy.’’
Foles will battle Trubisky for the starting job whenever training camp begins.
‘‘It’ll be a healthy competition,’’ Foles said. ‘‘Mitch and I have already talked. We wanted to start out on the right foot because, ultimately, it’s about the Chicago Bears and not about the egos of the quarterbacks.’’
It remains to be seen whether the Bears have even one starting quarterback. But as quarterback competitions go, this seems like a reasonable start. Trubisky is going to be pushed like never before. And Foles, who said he was ‘‘truly grateful’’ for the opportunity, seems to need the Bears as much as the Bears need him.