The Rams’ unceremonious release of Nick Foles on Wednesday marked the end of a short-lived and futile era. We have now reached the conclusion of last year’s confusing Foles–Sam Bradford trade, which somehow makes even less sense in hindsight. Although it feels overly generous to call the deal “influential,” just about everything has changed for the Eagles and the Rams since that fateful day in March 2015. It was the John Carter of trades: hyped as a blockbuster, but destined to bomb spectacularly. With the two centerpieces of this embarrassing trade now firmly in the rear-view mirrors of their respective franchises, now seems as good a time as any to sort through the burning questions left in its wake.
1. Does this trade have a winner?
Because Los Angeles acquired 2016 no. 1 overall pick Jared Goff with the help of Philly’s 2016 second-rounder, which came in the package with Foles, the Rams undoubtedly won the deal. How Goff’s career ends up playing out is beside the point; the expected value of a no.1 pick is infinitely higher than anything else involved in this trade. That the Rams were able to take some element of this disappointment and flip it into legitimate excitement for the franchise easily tilts the scales in favor of L.A. In essence, the Bradford-Foles swap has been rendered irrelevant. Both quarterbacks were bad in 2015: Foles had the lowest completion percentage of any quarterback starting at least 10 games, and Bradford’s touchdown-interception ratio was a horrendous 19:14. Needless to say, neither has much of a future in the NFL beyond clipboard-holding duties.
2. What the hell did the Rams think they were getting in Foles?
They must have been expecting the Foles of 2013, when Chip Kelly turned him into a fantasy god. Of course, Foles’s dazzling sophomore campaign — in which he threw 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 10 starts — turned out to be a bizarre anomaly. After 10 games with St. Louis, he lost the starting job to Case freaking Keenum. But Rams GM Les Snead’s rationale was at least understandable. If you’re convinced that Bradford is unsalvageable, as Snead presumably was, why not just take whatever you can get for him?
3. What the hell did the Eagles think they were getting in Bradford?
This is a bit more puzzling. Sure, Bradford had enough talent to be the no. 1 overall pick in 2010, but quarterbacks are almost always known commodities after five years in the NFL. A change of scenery doesn’t magically rid a veteran of his bad habits, nor does it spawn new abilities. By last March, Bradford had established himself as a weak-armed, injury-riddled passer, and that’s exactly what he was in Philly last season.
What the Eagles probably didn’t realize they were getting was a malcontent who’d make things as awkward as possible with rookie Carson Wentz.
4. So, what sort of ripple effect did the Bradford-Foles trade have for the Eagles and the Rams?
Well, for starters, both teams surrendered a boatload of picks in this year’s draft to move up for a quarterback, which is all you really need to know about how this deal turned out. Despite leading the Eagles to winning seasons in his first two years at the helm in Philly, Kelly got canned before 2015 even ended, and the Rams up and left St. Louis for the smoggier pastures of L.A.
5. Did anyone survive the Great Mediocre QB Swap of 2015?