Quarterback Matt Moore has spent the last five years with the Miami Dolphins, starting 12 games in 2011 for the club, then working as the primary backup for Ryan Tannehill from 2012 through 2015. Now, however, it seems the 31-year-old will hit the free agent market. The Dolphins, in allowing Moore to leave, will be on the search for a new backup for Tannehill, and on Friday, an interesting possibility surfaced:
Foles began his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he was selected in the third-round of the 2012 Draft. He appeared in 28 games, with 24 starts, in three years in Philadelphia, including his 2013 campaign in which he was 8-2 as a starter, throwing for 2,891 yards with 27 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, leading the league in passer rating at 119.2. Foles started the first eight games of the 2014 season, though without the incredible stats from the previous year (2,163 yards, 13 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 81.4 passer rating), before breaking his collarbone and missing the rest of the season.
In March 2015, the Eagles traded Foles to the St. Louis Rams in a swap of quarterbacks as Sam Bradford moved to Philadelphia. After the trade, Foles signed a two-year contract extension with the Rams, which keeps him under contract through the 2017 season, with salary cap numbers of $8.75 million in 2016 and $13.25 million in 2017. Foles went 4-7 in 11 starts with the Rams, throwing for 2,052 yards with 7 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, a 56.4 percent completion rate, and 69.0 passer rating.
He has a career stat line of 39 games played, with a 19-16 record over 35 starts. He has thrown for 8.805 yards with 53 touchdowns and 27 interceptions, a career completion rate of 60.2 percent and an 87.3 passer rating.
Speculation about trades and free agent signings at this point of the offseason are often fueled by connections between teams and players. Former coaches, front office personnel, and hometowns are often enough for speculation that the player could be headed to a new location. There is a slight connection between the Dolphins and Foles in new head coach Adam Gase. In 2012, when Foles was available in the NFL Draft, Gase was the quarterbacks coach for the Denver Broncos, who were considered to be interested in drafting Foles. It is a small connection, but it does mean Gase at least was familiar with Foles coming out of college and likely knows his strengths and weaknesses.
Why a trade makes sense
The Dolphins are in need of a backup quarterback, and Foles would fill that role perfectly. Despite his Pro Bowl 2013 season, Foles seems to have fallen back down to Earth and will not likely be heading to a starting role in 2016. There has not been much talk of a possible trade from the now Los Angeles Rams, but interest from Miami does make sense in terms of getting an experienced backup quarterback to fill the spot behind Tannehill. The team does have Logan Thomas on the roster, and they thought enough of him to pull him to the 53-man roster when the Cincinnati Bengals were looking to poach the quarterback off Miami's practice squad, but the former fourth-round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals (2014) still needs time to develop and it could be risky for Miami to hand him the second position on the depth chart.
Why a trade does not make sense
Foles is expensive. He would have to agree to a new contract, lowering his salary cap numbers for the next two seasons ($7.75 million and $12.25 million for the new team when the Rams pay for the rest of the signing bonus already in the contract). In comparison, Matt Moore's salary cap numbers the last two years with $5.5 million and $2.6 million. That is a huge difference and one that would have to be adjusted for the Dolphins to make the trade for Foles.
Chances it will happen
Adding a veteran backup quarterback if Moore leaves in free agency makes sense, and it is something the team will probably do. Adding a highly expensive backup quarterback, and paying whatever the trade value would be, does not make sense, however. This trade does not seem like a likely move, though it cannot be completely ruled out if Foles is willing to take a big pay cut. This time of year is all about rumors, speculation, and misdirection, so linking multiple teams to a possible trade to drive up the asking price makes sense. Would Miami really make this deal? The chances are likely pretty slim.