At a time when the Eagles already are trying to set the stage for trading quarterback Carson Wentz (step one: act like you’re not interested in trading him), Wentz isn’t inclined to help the Eagles maximize their leverage.
Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Wentz is “not interested” in serving as a backup quarterback, and that he would want to leave the Eagles if rookie Jalen Hurts remains the starter. Schefter adds that Wentz “is not pleased with the way events have unfolded in the organization.”
This is a potentially dangerous game for Wentz and his agents to play. First, it won’t take much to lose the P.R. battle on this one, because the easy response to Wentz’s concern is that it’s his own fault for not playing well. Second, Hurts just delivered the signature win of the season, beating the Saints. Third, this new report tends to confirm Jay Glazer’s recent report that the decision to use a second-round pick on Hurts shattered Wentz’s confidence.
Franchise quarterbacks remain franchise quarterbacks only as long as they play like franchise quarterbacks. If any of the best quarterbacks in football went through an extended stretch of sucking, they’d eventually take a seat for someone else.
Wentz acting like he’s earned an automatic starting job doesn’t mesh with what we’ve seen from him this season. Other than the Colts, where former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich serves as head coach, who would automatically install Wentz as the 2021 starter? In most cities, the fans and local media would cry out in unison “what are you thinking?” in response to the news that Wentz is the new QB1.
So what is Wentz thinking by making this known? It could simply be frustration bubbling over. The deeper strategy could be to ensure that the Eagles don’t play ultra-hardball in the offseason with Wentz’s contract, with today’s message being, “If you aren’t going to start me and you’re not going to trade me, you’re going to have a big problem.”
The problem with this approach is that Wentz’s next team won’t want to eventually be in the same position as his current team, if with his next team Wentz eventually plays at a level that gets him benched. Which could make it even harder to find a next team that will hand him a starting job.