OXNARD, Calif. – Several dozen times per season, an NFL player is released and I brace myself for the onslaught of tweets and emails.
"Should the Cowboys take a look at him?"
"Sign him! He can't be any worse than what they've got!"
I'll be honest: 99.9 percent of the time, I read these messages and roll my eyes. More often than not when this happens, fans are only interested because they recognize the player's name. It's usually got nothing to do with whether or not he's any good, or whether he fits the Cowboys' system.
That wasn't the case when the Los Angeles Rams released Nick Foles last week. I'll admit that, much like the rest of the Cowboys' fanbase, I was intrigued by the possibility of adding a one-time Pro Bowler to the depth chart.
That intrigue lasted for a grand total of two days, given the comments from Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones at the outset of training camp.
"Foles isn't an option … We like Moore," Jones said.
Unfortunately for Jones, Kellen Moore no longer appears to be an option after breaking his right fibula at the tail end of practice on Tuesday night. The guy the Cowboys have praised throughout the offseason as their preferred backup to Tony Romo won't be an option for the foreseeable future.
On top of that, the remaining options to replace Romo in the lineup are a fourth-round rookie who has never run an NFL offense and a second-year quarterback who spent most of his rookie season playing on the scout team.
None of that is meant as a slight toward Dak Prescott or Jameill Showers. But if the Cowboys once again find themselves in a situation where they have to play without Romo, I don't think either of those two gives them their best chance at winning.
Nick Foles might, though.
Calm down. Spare me the rude email. Yes, I know it's been three years since Foles guided the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs and made the Pro Bowl in the process. I know that, months after he signed a big-money extension with the Rams, he started 4-5 and only threw seven touchdowns compared to six interceptions.
I'm aware that Foles' quarterback rating has dropped from 119 during his amazing 2013 season, to 81 in 2014 and down to a measly 69 last fall. The fifth-year veteran clearly hasn't been playing his best, or else he wouldn't be unemployed as of early August.
All of that said, we're still talking about a guy with 35 career starts, 19 career wins, 53 career touchdown throws and even a playoff appearance.
You mean to tell me that's worth nothing? I don't buy it. I just can't convince myself that adding an experienced veteran is a bad idea for a team with an aging quarterback.
The selling point on Moore has been that he had gotten familiar with the system, and it's become quite clear that the Cowboys' coaches are loyal – stubbornly loyal – to guys with knowledge of their schemes. But if they signed Foles this week, the 27-year-old would still have roughly six weeks to prepare himself for Week 1.
I guess I just don't see a downside. Maybe Foles will command a hefty salary, but wouldn't he be worth it if he provided the difference between wins and losses if Romo has to sit out?
And even if the Cowboys don't need him, so what? Perhaps Romo stays healthy for 16 games. Or maybe Prescott adapts surprisingly well to the NFL – ala Russell Wilson in 2012. The front office would be out a moderate sum of money, and that's about it. They wouldn't even have to part ways with a draft pick, as they did when they acquired Matt Cassel last fall.
Throughout the offseason, this organization seemed to undersell the importance of its backup quarterback. The front office avoided addressing the position in free agency, choosing to show faith in Moore. They drafted Prescott – though they waited until the back end of the draft to do so.
It's not their fault, but that strategy has already backfired. Kellen Moore won't be able to prove whether their faith was well-founded any time soon.
In light of that, there isn't much else to lose by taking a gamble on Foles.
Honestly, I struggle to even call it a gamble – it's more like common sense.