The topic of a potential Nick Foles trade was front and center as Philadelphia Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman and coach Doug Pederson addressed the media Wednesday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. The duo managed to convey the importance of Foles to their team without shutting down the possibility of dealing the quarterback this offseason.
“We’re trying to keep as many good players as possible, and you’re talking about a Super Bowl MVP,” Roseman said. “He’s been unbelievably successful for us, he’s got great character, great leadership. That room is exactly what we’re looking for. We have a franchise quarterback [in Carson Wentz], we have a Super Bowl MVP, and we have a young quarterback [in Nate Sudfeld] that we’re excited about as well, so that’s kind of how we’re looking at it as we get started in the offseason.”
Pederson, though, indicated it’s possible that Foles gets moved.
“I’m a big believer, you don’t just blindside a player like that if that happens,” said Pederson, asked if Foles will have a say in his fate if a potential trade comes up. “I think you’ve got to have that open communication with him. And we’ll see, we’ll see where it goes. Howie just mentioned, we’d love to have everybody back, but we know the nature of the business. We’ll talk about it before, if and when the time comes.”
Foles stepped into the starter’s role when Wentz tore his ACL in December and helped guide the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title. He threw six touchdowns to just one interception in the playoffs and went blow-for-blow with Tom Brady in the championship game, throwing for 373 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
In the final year of a two-year contract, Foles comes with a 2018 cap hit of $7.6 million. He is a pricey No. 2, but he more than showed his value this past season. With Wentz still rehabbing from a torn ACL and LCL, it’s important that the Eagles have a good insurance policy heading into the season.
Roseman noted that he thinks Sudfeld, the 24-year-old out of Indiana whom they picked up in September after the Washington Redskins released him, has the tools to potentially develop into a starter. Depending how ready they feel Sudfeld is, there is logic in dealing Foles while he’s at his peak value, especially considering the Eagles don’t have a second- or third-round pick in the upcoming draft.
The Eagles are in a position of strength when it comes to Foles. They’d be in great shape with the Super Bowl MVP in the fold for another season but can deal him if an offer comes around that’s simply too good to refuse. By the sounds of it, they’re leaving their options open.
Seattle Seahawks say Chad Wheeler is no longer with team, condemn domestic violence, encourage him ‘to get the help he needs’
SEATTLE — The Seattle Seahawks say offensive tackle Chad Wheeler is no longer with the team following his arrest on suspicion of felony assault-domestic violence.
The 27-year-old Wheeler is accused of choking his girlfriend until she lost consciousness.
A spokesperson with the King County prosecutor’s office told ESPN that a charging decision is expected to be made by Wednesday afternoon.
The Seahawks released a statement Wednesday that read, in part: “The Seahawks are saddened by the details emerging against Chad Wheeler and strongly condemn this act of domestic violence. Our thoughts and support are with the victim. Chad is a free agent and no longer with the team.”
Wheeler was arrested early Saturday morning after the alleged assault at a residence in the Seattle suburb of Kent.
According to a police report obtained by ESPN, the woman called 911 from inside a locked bathroom and said she was being “killed.” The report states that the woman had fled into the bathroom after Wheeler threw her onto a bed and choked her long enough for her to lose consciousness, at one point removing one hand to press it against her nose and mouth to try to stop her from breathing while continuing to choke her with his other hand.
When the woman regained consciousness, according to the report, Wheeler was standing near the bed and said, “Wow, you’re alive?”
The woman told police that Wheeler suffers from bipolar disorder and has not been taking his medication recently.
“We encourage Chad to get the help he needs,” the Seahawks said in their statement. “If you are experiencing mental health issues, please reach out for help.”
Prosecutors asked for Wheeler to be held on $500,000 bail following his weekend arrest. The judge set bail at $400,000 and ordered Wheeler to have no contact with the woman and to surrender any weapons.
Wheeler appeared in court Monday to determine if there was probable cause to continue holding him in jail. He was released Tuesday morning after posting a $400,000 bail bond.
An NFL spokesperson told ESPN: “The matter is under review of the personal conduct policy.”
Wheeler is scheduled to become a restricted free agent. He would become an unrestricted free agent if the team does not tender him. The Seahawks removed Wheeler from their online roster, which still lists other pending RFAs.
A message to Wheeler’s agent from ESPN has not been returned.
Washington Football Team’s Jennifer King proud to make history as NFL’s first Black female assistant
When Jennifer King got the news late in the season that she would make history by becoming the NFL’s first Black female assistant coach for Washington next season, she responded by doing what came natural. She went back to work.
Though coach Ron Rivera told her of the pending move before the team’s 2020 season had ended, King was officially announced Tuesday as Washington’s assistant running backs coach for next season.
But although she viewed this as the logical next step, having coached parts of three seasons as an intern, she understands the significance.
“Representation means so much,” King said. “It’s really important right now to be a good representative, what I didn’t have growing up. I didn’t have anyone that looked anything like me working. To be able to see that, I think, is big. It’s super cool to be a part of this.”
However, King said she doesn’t feel like a trailblazer. At least not yet.
“I really think this is something that 10 to 15 years down the road you can look back on and I will feel the magnitude of it,” King said. “I’ve been working with the guys already, so it doesn’t feel a lot different for me.”
The moment has resulted in sporting dignitaries reaching out to King, including a recorded video from tennis great Billie Jean King to offer her congratulations.
“There have been some cool stories of just kids seeing it and little girls wanting to get into football and things like that,” Jennifer King said. “Those are really cool.”
King already made history twice this season. Washington’s playoff loss to Tampa Bay featured the first postseason game in which both teams had female assistants; the Buccaneers had assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar. Earlier in the season, King was part of the NFL’s first game that featured female assistants for both teams — Callie Brownson was Cleveland’s chief of staff — plus female referee Sarah Thomas.
“It’s so important to open the entire pool of applicants when you have a position,” King said. “So far historically in football, it’s only 50% of the people; no women were considered. For future female coaches coming up, this gives them a foot in the door. It’s up to us to do a good job.”
King served as a full-year coaching intern last season, helping with Washington’s running backs. She also worked as an intern for two years under Rivera when he was in Carolina, in 2018 and ’19. King also was an assistant receivers coach for the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football.
Rivera has spoken at the women’s coaching forum at the NFL’s scouting combine multiple times. That’s how King first came to his attention.
“It’s so important to have those people reach back,” King said. “They’re realizing that there are females capable of working in football at a high level, and they’re giving them opportunities. It’s that simple. It’s crazy. They’re just realizing that: ‘There are people out there that can help us, and they may not look like everybody else, but I want to give them an opportunity.’ I’m thankful for that, but super thankful for them having an open mind.”
Rivera said she’s earned the opportunity.
“Every time I’ve increased her responsibilities, she stepped up to the plate and has done a great job,” Rivera said. “With this move we’ll see an even more competitive, more outgoing Jennifer King. It’s a heck of an opportunity for her to show what she’s capable of.”
King said she didn’t dream of pursuing this path growing up or while coaching in college. Then, in 2016, she noticed Katie Sowers was a training camp assistant in Atlanta.
King finally got an opening with the Panthers. She said she initially thought she’d be there for two days during a minicamp, but she stayed for four months. Then she was invited back the following year. That’s when King knew there was a chance.
“The hardest part about getting in the building was done; now it’s up to me,” said King, who was an offensive assistant at Dartmouth College in 2019 before joining Washington last offseason.
She was a regular participant in the NFL’s coaching clinics from 2015 to 2018, when she also attended the NFL Women’s Career in Football Forum. She also played for three professional women’s football teams from 2006 to 2019: the Carolina Phoenix, with whom she spent 11 years, the New York Sharks and the D.C. Divas.
King also served as the head coach of Johnson & Wales University Charlotte from 2016 to 2018, guiding them to a USCAA Division II National Championship. She was an assistant on the Greensboro College women’s basketball team from 2006 to 2016.
In the last year, Washington has hired a minority head coach (Rivera), the NFL’s first Black team president (Jason Wright) and the first female to be part of an NFL team’s radio crew (Julie Donaldson).
“There are people of all races and genders that can do really good things at all levels of football,” King said. “That’s what we did — went out and found people that work at different positions and work for our organization.”
Florida Gators OC Brian Johnson to coach Philadelphia Eagles QBs
Florida offensive coordinator Brian Johnson is headed to the Philadelphia Eagles as quarterbacks coach, a source told ESPN.
Johnson, 33, will join the staff of new Eagles coach Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen. He spent the past three seasons under Dan Mullen at Florida, and was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator for the 2020 season. In doing so, he became the first Black offensive coordinator in the University of Florida’s history.
Johnson also has served as offensive coordinator at both Houston and Utah, his alma mater. He went 26-7 as the Utes’ starting quarterback and led the team to an undefeated season and a Sugar Bowl championship in 2008.
The NFL Network first reported the Eagles’ hiring of Johnson.
Johnson worked with standout quarterbacks like Dak Prescott at Mississippi State, D’Eriq King at Houston and Kyle Trask at Florida, who became a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2020. This will be his first stop in the NFL.
Johnson interviewed for college head-coaching vacancies at both South Carolina and Boise State in recent weeks, sources told ESPN.
Johnson has an interesting link to Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. He played under Hurts’ father, Averion, at Baytown Lee High School in Texas and has known Jalen since he was 4 years old, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Johnson later recruited Jalen to play at Mississippi State, but Hurts ultimately chose Alabama.
Florida’s offense scored 39.8 points per game in 2020, which ranked 13th in the country. Trask, who was a backup on his high school team his final three years, had a monster year, completing 69 percent of his throws for over 4,000 yards with 43 touchdowns to eight interceptions.
The Eagles are assembling a young staff under 39-year-old Sirianni, with defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon (37), offensive coordinator Shane Steichen (35), pass game coordinator Kevin Patullo (39) and Johnson (33) all under 40.
Information from ESPN’s Tim McManus was used in this report.
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