Chiefs

Chiefs will likely pass on 2017 option for backup quarterback Nick Foles

The Chiefs will move on without quarterback Nick Foles, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The Chiefs will move on without quarterback Nick Foles, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. jsleezer@kcstar.com

When Nick Foles signed with the Chiefs in early August, he joined the team to reunite with coach Andy Reid, whom he trusted to help him develop as a quarterback.

It now appears that Foles could move to another team, as a source confirmed to The Star on Wednesday that the Chiefs will likely pass on Foles’ contract option for the 2017 season.

Fox Sports first reported the news.

The NFL Players Association had listed Foles’ potential 2017 cap number as $10.75 million, but that number is incorrect and has since been fixed in its internal records. Foles’ option is instead a more manageable $6.75 million, with a base salary of $6.4 million.

The decision to walk away from Foles would leave the Chiefs with three quarterbacks: starter Alex Smith, seldom-used Tyler Bray and Joel Stave, who was signed to a reserve-futures contract after last season.

Foles, 28, signed with the Chiefs after a rough one-year stint with the Rams, who released him a few months after selecting quarterback Jared Goff with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

With the Rams, Foles completed 56.4 percent of his passes for 2,052 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. But he did show promise in Philadelphia: Foles made the Pro Bowl in 2013, when he completed 64 percent of his passes with 27 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Reid, who drafted Foles in the third round in 2012, snapped him up to settle an uncertain backup quarterback competition in Kansas City.

Foles filled that role admirably. The 6-foot-6, 243-pounder completed 16 of 22 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-14 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 30 in relief of injured starter Alex Smith.

“It was an emotional moment for me, being back on the field after what happened last year and going through the offseason and everything we went through with the Rams,” Foles said at his locker in early January. “We went through a lot with the Rams but it worked out and … being able to play at a high level and sling it around like that, I felt like I was doing what I was capable of doing, like I did for a long time in Philly.”

Foles wasn’t quite as sharp the next week as the starter, completing 20 of 33 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown, but played well enough for the Chiefs to get a 19-14 win over a Jacksonville Jaguars team that finished 3-13. Smith returned to the starting lineup the next week against Carolina, and Foles never played another down — though he treasured the week he got to spend as a starter.

“It was great because we have such a great system … when I got here, that was the first thing I noticed — I love the structure the coaches and Alex had, and going through that helped me a lot throughout that week,” Foles said last month. “Being a starter, being with the guys, going to battle, it was a special time, and it was great having that week to get back into the flow.”

Foles, who worked diligently in Kansas City to clean up his inconsistent footwork, also enjoyed playing for Reid.

“Just having that comfort level (with him) has been real good for me,” Foles said. “The environment, the culture that’s created … when you’re in the locker room, you see everybody talking, hanging out, having a good time. On the special teams I’ve been on, that’s what we’ve had.

“And just being here, you enjoy coming to work everyday, and when you enjoy what you’re doing, automatically you’re going to start playing better and learning more because it’s a positive mind-set and perspective you have.”

All of that added up to a year in which Foles felt he got back to being himself.

“Getting back to how I was in Philly where I was most comfortable, just playing ball,” Foles said. “Just slinging it, trusting my instincts. We work a lot on fundamentals here, and I worked on my footwork, working in the pocket, keeping my feet underneath me — coach Reid harps on that all the time. But the big thing was mind-set, just getting back out there and enjoying it.”

If Foles doesn’t find any tempting offers on the open market, he appeared to be amenable to returning, given the way he raved about his 2016 experience in mid-January.

“I would be thrilled,” Foles said when asked last month if he wanted to return to the Chiefs. “If I ended up here next year I would be thrilled.”

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Nick Foles started his first game for the injured Alex Smith in the team's 19-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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