NFL 2018 Season - Week 14
 

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Shelf Life
by Dennis Ranahan

The 2017 National Football League season is in the books. The Philadelphia Eagles enter their first offseason in which they are defending Super Bowl Champions, and the New England Patriots begin quest for an 11th appearance in the final leg of the race for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Each week during an NFL season the game-day winners are most often those teams that had the best six days of preparation leading up to their contest. In much the same way, the teams that best utilize the next five months before even reporting to the summer training camps will best position themselves to vie for the 2018 championship.

Many eyes will be on the NFL Draft which begins on April 26, but, a lot of work and preparation will determine team fates both before and after those three days when college talent is allocated. This year, there are a number of very intriguing choices for teams that were in the playoffs last year.

We begin with the Super Bowl Champion Eagles, who own the rights to both the quarterback that guided them through the playoffs to their first Super Bowl title and the man that led the first three quarters of their regular season and put them in position to grab home field advantage in the postseason.

Nick Foles was the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, but their is no debate that Carson Wentz is the starter in Philadelphia after a sophomore season that had him on a clear path to league MVP before his December injury. So, what do the Eagles do?

They have a backup at quarterback good enough to win the Super Bowl, and a starter that appears on a trajectory to a future Hall of Fame induction. Do they keep them both, have Foles serve another season on the last year of his contract as a backup, or take full advantage of his current market value and trade him for a high draft choice or established NFL player?

History tells us what some of the best and brightest management teams would do … trade him while his value is at the maximum. When the San Francisco 49ers were the top team in the NFL they always made trades that allowed past stars to change uniforms while they still had value on the market. Bills Walsh made deals that sent Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig and others to new teams before their shelf life expired.

This is not the first time Foles sparkled in an Eagles uniform. Originally drafted by Philadelphia in 2012, in his second season in the City of Brotherly Love he was handed the starting role when Michael Vick went down with an injury. That season, Foles tossed 27 touchdown passes against only two interceptions and led the Eagles to the playoffs, a loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Two years later, 2015, Foles was traded to the St. Louis Rams, where he flopped in his only year with the Rams while compiling a 4 and 7 won/loss record in 11 starts. In 2016, he moved on to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he rejoined his former coach in Philadelphia, Andy Reid, and served as a season long backup while making one mid-season start.

Prior to the 2017 season, he rejoined the Eagles as a free agent and the rest, as they say, is history.

We are about to see if the Eagles have the business fortitude displayed by Walsh and the 49ers and jettison the Super Bowl hero out of Philly for the good of the team, or, stay pat and miss the best opportunity to cash his value.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the Vikings are sitting at the bargaining table with three quarterbacks who could potentially start in this league; Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater and Case Keenum.

Yep, a lot of work needs to be done right now for NFL teams to best position themselves to rise to the top of the football world next season. And while those who love to wager on team sports will have basketball and baseball over the next six months, we will stay focused on the only thing we do at Qoxhi Picks, the NFL, and report our findings and projections in this space.