The “Trade Wentz” Talk Needs To Stop

The Philadelphia Eagles are not going to trade Carson Wentz.

I’ve tried to stay away from writing about this topic for a while now. It was something that I didn’t feel should have been necessary to discuss or even entertain. But after the relentless chatter I’ve seen and heard lately from different fans and even certain members of the media, I could no longer keep quiet about it.

Ray Didinger: “I don’t see anyway that Wentz is not here next year. I think this organization is fully, 100-percent committed to Carson Wentz, as much as they have ever been.” #Eagles

Carson Wentz is the franchise quarterback of the team. They invested a good amount in trading up for him in the 2016 NFL Draft, and they clearly targeted him specifically knowing the type of talent he was. Doug Pederson has repeatedly said that the team is committed to Wentz long term.

So then why is there all this talk about the Eagles trading him? It’s because they’ve been able to still win with Nick Foles behind center. Last season they won the Super Bowl after Wentz got injured, and this season they won the final 3 games of the regular season and somehow made the playoffs, all with Foles at the helm. So, if the team keeps winning with Foles, then why not commit to Foles instead? Seems simple enough.

But football isn’t that simple, and that’s part of the beauty of the sport. There are a lot of factors that you can attribute to the Eagles’ success with Foles. Is Nick Foles one of them? Absolutely. The team (and city) believes in him, and he’s done a wonderful job at running the new offense. Just like Wentz, he’s a phenomenal leader and has absolutely proven to be clutch. But this isn’t so much about what Foles is and isn’t; this is more about Carson Wentz and why he’s not to blame for the team’s struggles earlier this season, as a lot of fans try to do.

People want to point to Wentz’s 5-6 record with the team this season and say that Wentz isn’t the winner that Foles is, yet they forget the 11-2 record that the Eagles had with a completely healthy Wentz in 2017. During that time, Wentz was playing at an elite level and was considered the frontrunner for league MVP until his injury.

What was the problem this season then? Well for one, Wentz wasn’t healthy. While most people will try to point out that his ACL wasn’t fully healed, I don’t see it that way. I believe his knee was in fact healed just fine. The real problem was his comfortability and confidence in playing with that knee and doing all of the football things necessary with it. That’s the problem most athletes who are coming off an ACL injury have upon returning. And then you combine that with the fact that he fractured his back at some other point in the season and you have a quarterback who is hampered and not able to perform to the best of his abilities.

In addition, the system and offensive play calling was different under Wentz than it is now under Foles. That’s not speculation or opinion, that’s fact. Doug Pederson even came out and said it in his press conference the day after the Eagles defeated the Rams. Benjamin Solak of Bleeding Green Nation wrote an article titled “How Nick Foles Is Doing It Once Again” which broke down the difference magnificently. In a nutshell, the offense right now is predicated a lot more on quick reads in the short areas of the field, whereas Wentz was asked to hold onto the ball longer to let more complicated route concepts develop in the intermediate levels of the field. There was a lot more asked of Wentz in terms of making something out of nothing. But when you have a struggling offensive line and a quarterback who isn’t as mobile as he was the year prior due to injury, that type of play calling doesn’t put Wentz in the best position to succeed. And in turn, the team can’t succeed.

Finally, the team around Wentz wasn’t playing as well as they are now. The offensive line had significant issues in pass protection, the RB corps was lacking with the absences of Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles, and the defense as a whole was dealing with constant injuries and struggled mightily in key areas. There were blown leads, a lack of turnovers, and constant 3rd/4th and longs that the opposing offenses were converting on.

Again, there was a lot put on Wentz’s shoulders because of who he was and what he’s capable of doing, but no matter how good of a quarterback you are, you still can’t win unless you have good team play around you.

Yet, even with all that, look at Wentz’s 2018 stats:
11 Games
69.6 Completion Percentage
3,074 Passing Yards
21 Touchdowns
7 Interceptions

Wentz’s individual stats don’t really show a player who is performing badly and is a reason why his team is losing games. At the same time, I do understand as well as anyone that stats can be misleading, so let’s look a little deeper then.

Some fans accuse Carson Wentz of holding onto the ball for way too long and that he’s to blame for too many sacks. And while he does need to do a better job at knowing when to extend the play or give up on it, that criticism of him is becoming a bit overblown.

Let’s also be real about something; a big part of what makes Carson Wentz so great is his playmaking ability and how he can extend plays to make something out of nothing. No one complains when he makes those highlight reel types of plays that we always see from him. So then why, suddenly, does it become an issue when it doesn’t fit a certain narrative? Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways.

There’s also talk that Wentz isn’t an accurate passer down the field or that he’s gotten worse at throwing the deep ball this season. But to the contrary, below are his completion percentages and on-target percentages on intermediate and deep level throws from 2017 and 2018.

A lot of fans want to move on from Wentz because of injury concerns. Wentz has had his fair share of injuries already and they’re worried that he’s become “damaged goods.” However, people forget the vast injury history that Foles has had throughout his career too. In fact, Foles has never finished a season as the starter for the Eagles. He broke his right hand his rookie season in 2012, missed the final 8 games of the 2014 season due to a fractured shoulder clavicle, and was even a slight question mark to even make the roster prior to the 2017 regular season due to an arm injury he had sustained in the preseason. It’s a double standard that some people choose to neglect for Foles but criticize Wentz for. Also, Wentz isn’t the only franchise QB in the NFL that has had his share of injuries. Players like Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Andrew Luck have had some significant injuries as well. Should their franchises have given up on them before?

As the Eagles continue another magical playoff run, it’s easy for many to forget just how good Carson Wentz is. They need a reminder that he’s a potential truly elite talent, possibly a generational talent. Those types of players don’t come around often, obviously, and when you believe you have one you don’t trade them 3 years into their career. And Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson do believe they have one.

Wentz is the franchise quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, and he will remain the franchise quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles for years to come. Even if the Eagles end up winning the Super Bowl with Nick Foles as their quarterback this year again, that’s not going to change anything. Wentz is not getting traded.