EARTH CITY, Mo. -- As players around the NFL ponder shutting down negotiations or even potentially holding out for a new contract, the St. Louis Rams and quarterback Nick Foles have continued dialogue on a new deal.
At the moment, nothing appears imminent but general manager Les Snead said Thursday that it's still possible something will get done with Foles before the end of the season. In other words, negotiations might not shut down once the season starts.
"Oh yes, I think it’s definitely realistic," Snead said. "I think both parties philosophically, us as an organization and ... he’s getting to that point where he wants to focus on football and let’s roll. And hey, let the chips fall where they may.
"I do think he’s excited about what’s around him. He thinks we’ll all be successful and that usually means success for the individual as well."
During organized team activities (OTAs) last month, the Rams openly acknowledged that they had interest in signing Foles to a contract extension despite his never having played in a game for them. They traded quarterback Sam Bradford to the Philadelphia Eagles for Foles and draft pick compensation in March, offering little time to evaluate Foles aside from what they saw on tape.
Getting a deal done with Foles would actually offer an interesting precedent. Quarterbacks with even a modicum of starting success -- let alone a season in which they threw 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions two years ago -- rarely get traded. In Foles' case, he's coming off a drop-off in production and an injury but the Rams believed enough in him to part with a former No. 1 overall pick and doubled down by establishing that he could be their quarterback for the long term.
All of that after only spending a couple of months in Foles' presence. But while it's certainly unusual for a team to want to sign a mostly unproven quarterback to a big-money deal without having seen him play for your team, there are a couple of reasons the Rams have interest in getting a deal done.
First and foremost, Snead said the Rams are impressed with what they've seen, even in a small sample size.
"The first day you go in the building and throw with receivers and no coaches, whatever phase that may be, it seems like from that day that skill group was like 'Wow, we love this guy,'" Snead said. "It's not like he had been the quarterback here for two years, you had a case of his first day at school, hello to everybody, we don't know each other. He kind of took charge there. You can tell those guys will battle, he's done a nice job with leadership. That's the biggest thing I can say about him."
There are also economical reasons for a deal to get done. From the Rams' side, signing Foles to a contract before he plays for them would eliminate the chance he could have a huge 2015 season and drive his price up. That could mean getting him at a relative bargain compared to some of the lucrative deals other signal-callers have signed recently.
For his part, Foles said in the spring that he'd be open to getting something done with the Rams and didn't have plans to play out the season and "bet on" himself in hopes of upping the ante on a potential deal.
So theoretically, the Rams and Foles could strike a deal that allows the Rams to pay as they go while giving Foles a chance to gain some security.
And if Foles enters the season without a deal and proceeds to light it up, well, that's not such a bad thing either.
"I always go to this, hey if a QB is playing well and you're winning, having team success, you have no problem asking your owner to write the check," Snead said. "They've earned it, they've done it, so that's what makes this one a little bit interesting."