NFL.com's Mike Silver reported Tuesday that the Eagles had turned down a trade offer from the Cleveland Browns for backup quarterback Nick Foles at least in part because the Super Bowl MVP preferred to remain in Philadelphia.
Silver cited three unnamed sources in the report, which outlined how the Browns wanted Foles in exchange for the 35th pick in the 2018 NFL draft (Cleveland ultimately drafted Georgia running back Nick Chubb). According to Silver, the potential deal was rejected, leading the Browns to acquire Tyrod Taylor from the Buffalo Bills for a third-round pick on March 10.
NBC Sports was among the outlets to pick up Silver's report, but that didn't stop ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio from calling out Silver on Twitter, claiming one of Silver's sources was Browns head coach Hue Jackson.
This didn't sit too well with Silver, who denied that Jackson was among his sources for the story and called out Florio for attempting to out the sources.
The two continued their back-and-forth as Florio refused to accept Silver's denial about Jackson being one of his sources for the scoop.
Why would it be important if Jackson were one of Silver's sources on the Foles-trade report? According to Florio, it would underscore the lingering dysfunction that exists within the organization.
"It's no secret that he battled with [former Browns VP] Sashi Brown last year, a fight Jackson ultimately won," Florio said. "And if Jackson was one of the sources (as I still assume he was despite Silver's denial), it's a big deal because under [general manager] John Dorsey, the goal has been to stop the leaking. And that was the sole purpose of my initial tweet — to point out that Dorsey can't be happy that Hue leaked the effort to trade for Foles."
Regardless of the reason, Silver was most angered by Florio's attempt to out a source.
"Attempted source outing is really bad for business," Silver said. "I do definitely get triggered when when somebody in my industry who should know better attempts to source out, in this case failing miserably, and doesn't show me the journalistic respect that I think I've earned."
He added: "Why would the Browns leak to that to me? If anything, it's going to bum out [Taylor] because they tried to get another guy before him."
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Silver also said he wasn't going to ban 94.1 WIP over a now-deleted tweet sent by update anchor Tom Kelly. It's unclear what Kelly wrote, and he did not respond to a request for comment.
In April, Foles agreed to a restructured contract with the Eagles that gave him a $2 million signing bonus for this season with an option to return to the team in 2019. As my colleague Jeff McLane reported, with all the various incentives in his new deal, Foles could earn up to $23 million next season.
"The grass isn't always greener on the other side," Foles said. "Do I want an opportunity to lead a team again? Absolutely. But am I trying to run away and do it now? Well, I'm grateful to be here. I'm grateful that the team was able to work through a restructure that benefited me and the team. … I love it here."
The Eagles held their first practice as part of the Birds' organized team activities Tuesday. "Foles wasn't exactly sharp, but who cares, right? He's the Super Bowl MVP!" McLane wrote, noting that Foles threw one pass that was intercepted by cornerback Jalen Mills and another that was slightly behind wide receiver Nelson Agholor.
This isn't the first time Silver and Florio have engaged in a Twitter fight over a story. Back in 2013, Silver reported that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wasn't popular in the locker room because of questions about his preparation. Silver cited "player sources" for his reporting, while Florio speculated the Steelers themselves were leaking stories about locker-room discord, possibly to force Roethlisberger to accept less money to stay in Pittsburgh.