Examining Nick Foles as a fit for the Rams

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- NFL teams can't trade players or sign free agents or do business aside from dealing with the guys on their own roster or not in the league until the new league year starts March 10.

But that doesn't mean the time between now and then won't be filled with plenty of rumors and speculation. In St. Louis, it's no secret that the Rams are going to explore all avenues to bolster the depth chart at quarterback. Even though they plan to bring Sam Bradford back, the Rams' search will include an extensive look at all outside options including the draft, free agency and, yes, the trade market.

"There's going to be competition at the quarterback position, there's no doubt," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said at his end of season news conference. "With somebody that is not in the building right now. We're hopeful for that."

Which makes 'Who will be the quarterback(s) brought in to compete with Bradford?' one of the most pressing questions of this offseason. Earlier this week, Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles had the honor of being one of the first names to be rumored as a possibility. According to a report at NJ.com, the Rams are one of a handful of teams showing early interest in making a deal for Foles.

Foles was viewed as one of the league's emerging young quarterbacks after a breakthrough 2013 season in which he threw 27 touchdown passes with just two interceptions in leading the Eagles to an NFC East Division title. Some of the shine came off Foles' star this season though, as he threw 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while playing eight games before a fractured collarbone ended his season.

Apparently, that drop off in performance was enough to leave Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly pondering whether Foles is the team's long-term answer at the position. In his season-ending news conference, Kelly was asked whether Foles was still his guy but offered no commitment.

"I don't know, we'll sit down and thoroughly evaluate everything in the offseason," Kelly told reporters. "It's no different than any other position. We'll look at it. Let's look at the film again. Let's get all the opinions on it and make valid decisions on it."

It's no secret that Kelly has an affinity for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Heisman Trophy winner who Kelly coached before taking the Eagles job. But Kelly and the Eagles are almost certainly well out of range to select Mariota, as they hold the No. 20 overall pick in the draft.

Which might lead us to the crux of the situation. The Rams hold the No. 10 pick in the draft, which is also probably out of reach of Mariota but certainly a lot closer to Mariota's range than the 20th spot. Should Kelly and the Eagles decide to move up to try to get Mariota, they might have to make multiple trades and could dangle Foles as bait in one of those moves.

The question then becomes whether the Rams would be willing to make the move. There's no chance the Rams would simply trade the 10th pick for Foles straight up. If Philadelphia offered the 20th pick, Foles and a mid-round pick for the 10th pick, that would be something the Rams would have to take a closer look at.

As it stands, the Rams have no obvious in-house solution at quarterback, and there's no doubt that they'll explore any option out there. It remains to be seen how Foles would function outside of Kelly's offense, but at least he has more of a resume than any other free-agent quarterback or draft prospect the Rams could land.

Considering that the current Rams regime is entering its fourth year without a winning season to its name, adding a quarterback who could legitimately push to be the starter right away (while still drafting a young quarterback to groom) would make plenty of sense.

Over the next couple of months, plenty of other rumors will pop up, but Foles is one name that would be intriguing if he does become available and the price is reasonable.