Tell me if you’ve heard this before: there’s a QB controversy with the Philadelphia Eagles involving Carson Wentz. Sound all too familiar? Well, it should. Only this time the answer of who the future long-term starting QB of the team should be isn’t clear like it was a few years ago.
In case you haven’t heard by now, Wentz was benched in the 2nd half of the Week 13 game against the Green Bay Packers. Jalen Hurts came in and “sparked” the team to one offensive touchdown and one punt return touchdown, bringing the team to within one score. Hurts had a chance at a game-tying possession, but it proved unsuccessful and the Eagles lost the game 30-16.
While everyone will now be asking who the starting QB should be for the rest of the season, I have my eyes set on the long-term. For weeks (heck, maybe months now) I’ve been saying how Wentz isn’t going anywhere because his contract carries too much of a dead cap hit for him to be cut or traded until at least 2021, which for the most part remains true. However, it turns out there is one unlikely, but still noteworthy, scenario regarding Wentz being possibly moved.
This is an excerpt of an article written by Jason Fitzgerald from Over The Cap. It explains how there is a way for the Eagles to unload Carson Wentz and his contract after this season via trade.
I honestly don’t know the likelihood of this happening, but it certainly is something to keep in mind as we move forward and the end of the season draws near.
CAN/WILL/SHOULD Carson Wentz be traded?
— Charles “Chux” Maranan (@ChuxMaranan) December 7, 2020
If you’re unable to pull up the image of Jason Fitzgerald’s quotes from his article, here they are typed out:
“The next option is the trade option and to me that is the only option that the Eagles should consider for 2021. When you trade a player you trade away all the guaranteed salary along with it so all you need to deal with at that point is the prorated acceleration.
The one caveat here is because there is a large roster bonus due on the 3rd day of the league year (remember we talked about that earlier) the Eagles would have to execute a trade prior to that date for a trade to really make sense. Here is how the salary cap works on a trade at various dates.
This represents significant savings for Philadelphia if they can move on. Trading Wentz saves the Eagles $25.4 million in salaries that would be paid in 2021 and $15 million in salary that would become guaranteed in 2022. While the overall situation is still bad (they would have paid Wentz an extra $29.6M more than if they just let his rookie deal play out) the optics would be much improved if they made this move.
The question is would anyone trade for Wentz? While the Wentz contract averages $32 million a year its important to remember that the Eagles paid a good chunk of that money already. For a team trading for Wentz the contract would work out to be four years, $98.4 million or $24.6 million a season. The first two years of that contract would basically be guaranteed and the remainder would be in the control of the team that trades for him. The cap figures on the contract would be $25.4 million, $22 million, $25 million, and $26 million.
To put the numbers in perspective those cap figures in 2021 and 2022 would rank 11th and 13th in the NFL. The contract value would be in line with Teddy Bridgewater ($21M a year, $42M over first two years) and Nick Foles’ Jaguars contract ($22M a year, $46.625M a year) so it is perfectly fine for someone likely considered a low level starter if he was a free agent.
I don’t believe it would cost much. Primarily you are giving the Eagles financial relief by trading for him. I dont think the Eagles would kick in money (that defeats the purpose) nor would they send over a pick (they can sell that they can handle the deal in 2021 and move on in 2022). The Bears gave up a 4th round pick for Foles who was benched for Gardner Minshew so I would imagine the cost would be a 3rd here plus conditionals. Thats good for someone who just last year was considered a good signing at $32 million a year.
Wentz gives a decent team who likely had no viable path to draft a young star access to a potential good quarterback who is 30. The teams that make sense in that regard are the Colts, Bears, and maybe Browns depending on what they think about Baker Mayfield at this point.
The Colts of all the teams make the most sense. They are a good team with no QB on the roster for 2021. They have tons of cap space and would love access to a sub $30M QB. There is also a clear relationship with the head coach. The Bears dont really have the cap space and are on the wrong side of the age curve (though this hasnt stopped them before) and the Browns would probably chase Mayfield for another year.”
I reserve the right to have a change of heart about this, and I’m sure it’s even unlikely to happen, but I now believe the aforementioned scenario of trading Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts after this season would be ideal and best for all parties involved. Wentz would get a fresh start with a good team on the rise and a head coach in Frank Reich who has had success with Wentz. It gives the Colts a potential franchise QB on a relatively reasonable contract that can be opted out of after a couple of seasons. And it allows the Eagles to start rebuilding with Hurts and seeing if he’s capable of being a franchise QB or not (I don’t think he is, but I’m all for him proving me wrong).
Wentz himself is to blame for a good amount of his failures; he doesn’t get a pass by any means. There are problems with his game that still haven’t been fixed after 5 seasons in the league. He’s accountable for them. So in no way would I excuse him for the things he’s at fault for.
All that being said, the Eagles organization has absolutely failed Wentz & contributed greatly to ruining what should have been one of the best QBs in the NFL. Not only did they not surround Wentz with great talent and coaching, but they’ve manufactured a QB controversy when there never needed to be one by taking a QB in the 2nd round. It’s an absolute shame, to say the least, and a feat that should be a scar in the organization’s history.
Carson Wentz has done himself no favors in 2020 (and has never been perfect), but this can’t be overstated: #Eagles leadership failed him at multiple turns. Who knows how this saga ends, but he deserves credit for what he accomplished on and off the field.
— Cody Benjamin (@CodyJBenjamin) December 7, 2020
Short-term, the Eagles are better with Hurts.
Long-term, the Eagles have more to gain from playing Hurts.
This is not a hard decision. https://t.co/KKYmZ9pZzZ
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) December 7, 2020
When you ask me why I’d want Carson Wentz to be traded it’s not necessarily because I think he’s a horrible QB that was never good. That’s a narrative that is both incorrect and unfair. I remain a huge fan of Carson Wentz. I want to see him succeed. But I’ve reached a point where the best chance for him to succeed probably isn’t in Philadelphia. There’s now too much baggage tied to his tenure here. I hate admitting it, but it’s also a truth that’s becoming more and more evident with each week that passes by. And again, I’m not saying a trade following this season will most likely happen. But if somehow it does, or even if it happens after 2021, God knows I’ll be rooting for Wentz to turn his career around.
As for the Eagles, we can only hope that they learn from all of this and make sure it doesn’t happen again. The next step in doing so would be to clean house, but that’s a separate conversation for another day. And maybe that day is sooner than we think.