The Eagles traded Nick Foles to the St. Louis Rams on Tuesday in a perplexing move that brought former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford to Philadelphia after two major knee injuries and also required the Eagles to surrender their 2016 second-round pick.
The official transaction included Foles, a 2015 fourth-round pick, and a 2016 second-round pick for Bradford and a 2015 fifth-round pick. If Bradford does not play 50 percent of the snaps, the Eagles will receive a fourth-round pick in 2016. If he is reinjured, the Eagles get back a third-round pick in 2016.
That would indicate that the Eagles found Bradford considerably more valuable than Foles despite Bradford's bloated salary and 31 missed games over five seasons because of injuries. The absences include 25 games over the last two years after he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in both seasons. He did not play in 2014.
Coach Chip Kelly was not available to reporters to discuss the trade.
Gone is Foles, a polarizing quarterback during three seasons in Philadelphia. At his best, Foles was a Pro Bowler who flirted with becoming the franchise's future. He threw 27 touchdown passes and two interceptions during a sterling 2013 campaign that included a playoff appearance.
But there were also injuries and inconsistency. He missed time in each of his three seasons in Philadelphia, and turnovers became a problem last season when he threw 10 interceptions in eight games. Yet Foles was often a winner, going 14-4 with Kelly as the coach.
Kelly admired Foles as a person and lauded his toughness and work ethic, but he never gave Foles a full endorsement at the end of last season. He said in November that he wished "there were more people like Nick Foles in our lives." But in December he said the Eagles must make a decision on Foles' future "based on what you have," and could not wait any longer to decide on his future.
That decision was evident Tuesday afternoon.
Foles, 26, is entering the final year of his rookie contract and will have the chance to be the starting quarterback in St. Louis.
"Thankful for the opportunity to start my career in Philly," Foles wrote on Twitter. "Going to miss my teammates & Eagles fans who supported me."
Bradford appears poised to be the starter in Philadelphia if he is healthy. The compensation in Tuesday's trade, coupled with Bradford's $12.985 million salary in 2015, indicates a commitment.
The Eagles are expected to bring back Mark Sanchez, although that move has not been officially announced. They were believed to be interested in trying to move up in the draft to acquire Oregon's Marcus Mariota. Nothing can be ruled out, but that seems more unlikely after Tuesday.
When healthy, the 27-year-old Bradford has shown potential. A Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma in 2009, Bradford was the No. 1 overall draft choice in 2010. He was offensive rookie of the year that season, setting rookie records for completions and attempts with the second-highest yardage total ever: 3,512. His offensive coordinator that season was Pat Shurmur, who now holds the same position with the Eagles. At one point, Bradford threw 174 consecutive passes without an interception.
He missed six games the following season before making strides in 2012 and 2013. Bradford had thrown 14 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2013, but his season ended in the seventh game when he tore his ACL.
He reinjured that knee in the 2014 preseason, which was the last time he played.
At 6-foot-4 and 224 pounds, Bradford is well built and has solid athleticism. He played in a spread offense at Oklahoma, too. But the major knock on him has been an inability to stay healthy.
"Sam was a leader on our team in the locker room and on the field," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said in a statement. "He was a great teammate who was dealt some adversity but handled it all with grace and dignity. He represented himself as well as the organization in a first-class manner."
The health problems are now the Eagles'. His talent reportedly generated interest from several teams, according to MMQB.com, and the Eagles were the highest bidders. They valued him enough to attach a coveted second-round pick with Foles.
The move was perplexing within itself, but what comes next is even more of a question: Can Bradford be the answer at quarterback or is there another move to make?