Nick Foles Cherishes Opportunity With Bears

Foles will compete against Mitchell Trubisky for the starting quarterback job.

Chris Emma
April 03, 2020 - 1:52 pm
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(670 The Score) After the Bears and Jaguars reached an agreement on March 18 to send veteran quarterback Nick Foles to Chicago, there was a key component that had be addressed before the deal could be finalized.

The Bears weren't willing to acquire the 31-year-old Foles without a restructuring of his existing contract, which was set to pay him $50 million in base salary over the next three seasons. So, Bears general manager Ryan Pace and lead negotiator Joey Laine worked to create a contract that was mutually beneficial for Chicago's salary cap situation and Foles' own reward.

Foles signed off on a reworked contract that will pay him $8 million in base salary each of the next three seasons. The deal also includes the chance to earn up to $6 million more in incentives, and every dollar earned there turns into extra base salary -- and increases his cap hit -- for the following year.

Foles can also void his contract and become a free agent if his performance allows.

"If I don't agree to a (contract) restructure, then I'm not traded," Foles said on a teleconference Friday. "Therefore, I'm back in Jacksonville. This situation works best for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Chicago Bears and me.

"Agreeing to a crazy restructure was necessary for me to go play for Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears."

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Foles was willing to take a pay cut because the Bears offered what the Jaguars and other teams couldn't.

The Bears have a coach in Nagy whom Foles credited with helping him stay in the game of football after considering retirement in 2016. Foles signed with the Chiefs more than week into training camp and upon landing in Kansas City was dropped off at Nagy's house. The two men made the hour-long drive to the team's training camp site in St. Joseph, Missouri, with a stop to enjoy some local barbeque along the way.

Their relationship grew strong that season and helped Foles recapture his love for the game.

"That year was one of my favorite years of football because of the people I was blessed to be around, and it had nothing to do with football," Foles said of his lone season with the Chiefs in 2016. 

"The love of football came back because of the people that I was stepping into the huddle with and going to work every day. It just shows you the type of person Matt is."

A year later in 2017, Foles joined another Andy Reid protege in Eagles coach Doug Pederson and led Philadelphia to the Super Bowl title after starter Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL that December. Foles was named the MVP of Super Bowl LII.

"This is a kid that's been through a lot of situations," Nagy said. "He's a Super Bowl MVP, he's been through pressure moments. He understands a lot of the things that we're looking for."

Foles arrives in Chicago set to compete with incumbent Mitchell Trubisky for the starting quarterback job. When the position battle will start remains unclear, as NFL teams face the likelihood of no on-field work during the offseason program due to the coronavirus outbreak.

But Foles is preparing himself as best he can during these difficult circumstances. He has a strong understanding in Nagy's offense, having played in a version of it coached by Reid and Pederson. Foles is watching film and taking notes along the way.

"If I can understand this offense just as good if not better as the coaches when I step in the huddle, then you're able to face adversity better," Foles said.

Foles' comfort in the Bears' offensive scheme could be what gives him an edge competing against Trubisky. Nagy has publicly stated he wants Trubisky to display a mastering of the scheme entering his fourth NFL season. It's clear the Bears' patience in Trubisky's growth is running thin.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace declined comment Friday when asked if the team will pick up Trubisky's hefty fifth-year option for 2021, meaning this could be his final season in Chicago. The Bears must make a decision by early May. In the meantime, Pace and Nagy have termed this an "open competition" between Foles and Trubisky.

Foles understood a quarterback battle awaited when he accepted the terms of his trade to the Bears. It's why he called Trubisky by phone and introduced himself.

Foles is embracing his new opportunity.

"It's about the Chicago Bears, it's about helping this team and this city being successful," he said. "Truly grateful to be here."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.