Eagles will press pause before coming up with a Carson Wentz plan

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The Philadelphia Eagles, officially eliminated from the postseason, will play their final game tonight against Washington. Immediately after the game, the planning for 2021 will begin.

When it comes to the quarterback position, the Eagles will press pause before engaging in a full and complete evaluation. Generally speaking, the Eagles believe starter-turned-backup Carson Wentz can be repaired, and that he can resume his successful career.

The first question is whether Wentz will be reinstalled as the starter for 2021 or whether Wentz and 2020 second-round draft pick Jalen Hurts will compete for the job. In theory, the Eagles also could decide to make Hurts the starter with no competition between him and Wentz. That outcome seems the least likely at this point, primarily because the Eagles continue to believe in Wentz.

Given the investment made to trade up to get Wentz in 2016, the decision to keep him over Super Bowl LIII MVP Nick Foles, and investment in the form of a contract with a $32 million annual value, the Eagles can’t and won’t lose faith in Wentz based on one bad season — especially since the season featured a rash of injuries on the offensive line and, as of tonight’s game, 14 different combinations of players in the five starting spots.

While there’s no true comparison to Wentz, who played well enough in his first three years to earn a market-value extension, had another solid year, and then regressed badly, it’s not entirely unprecedented for franchise-level quarterbacks to experience a down season early in their careers. In 2006, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had 18 touchdown passes and 23 interceptions, a season after winning a Super Bowl. In 2001, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning slid from 33 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions to 26 and 23, as his team flipped from 10-6 to 6-10.

So why was Wentz benched for Hurts? The fact that the Eagles belong to a division that struggled across the board in 2020 kept the team in the hunt for a playoff berth longer than it should have been. With a late-season opening to take the NFC East crown, coach Doug Pederson decided to try to give the team a spark by flipping to Hurts.

But Hurts wasn’t drafted to replace Wentz. The Eagles realize, more than any team, that they need two viable quarterbacks at all times. From 2017 through 2019, the Eagles had six playoff games and Wentz took a total of nine snaps in those games, all of which happened in the 2019 playoff round.

The Eagles, like many teams, place high value on the backup quarterback position, regarding it as a top-15 spot on the roster. That message, however, may not have been fully communicated to Wentz, given Jay Glazer’s report from last month that the arrival of Hurts damaged Wentz’s confidence.

Whatever the Eagles choose to do, they can easily carry both the Wentz and Hurts contracts under the salary cap, given that Hurts has a slotted rookie contract for three more seasons. While things will get more than a little awkward if Hurts starts next year at a salary of $883,000 while Wentz is languishing on the bench at a cap number of $34.6 million, the total cap and cash investment in the quarterback position won’t throw things out of whack for the Eagles.

The Eagles also weren’t rattled by the strategic leak that Wentz won’t want to stay if he’s not the starter. It’s expected that an NFL quarterback who has been a starter will want to remain the starter.

A trade remains possible, depending on the decisions made by the Eagles after evaluating the full quarterback position. It won’t be easy to attach the right value or to finagle it from another team, and the Eagles have proven they won’t simply give quarterbacks away. Indeed, Wentz’s career began after the Eagles planned to start the 2016 season with Sam Bradford under center until Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a serious knee injury in late August and the Vikings coughed up a first- and fourth-round pick to get Bradford and installed Wentz as the starter.

Five years later, Wentz could be re-installed as the starter. Or he may have to compete for it. Or he may land on the bench. The final outcome won’t be known for a while; what is known is that the Eagles currently believe that Wentz’s dip in performance ultimately will prove to be a short-term thing.

25 responses to “Eagles will press pause before coming up with a Carson Wentz plan

  1. There really is no discussion. Wentz goes into 2021 as the starter and if he has a second bad year he is gone.

    While Wentz completely collapsed so did the playcalling. I do wonder how much the poor playcalling when Wentz was in was due to Wentz changing the play at the line of scrimmage.

    His poor mechanics were also exposed. I hope he works on that and his decision making this offseason.

    Pederson needs to do alot of soul searching as well as it seems that any success the team has had lately is in spite of his decisions, not because of them.

  2. That Howie Roseman … its was cool how he took a superbowl team built by Chip Kelly/Andy Reid and turned into one of the biggest messes both roster and cap wise in the nfl. He is quite possibly the worst GM in NFL history.

  3. It’s one thing to have a down year like Manning or Roethlisberger, but those guys weren’t total head cases who couldn’t hit an open receiver 5 yards downfield. If the Eagles were smart they’d cut their losses this offseason.

  4. No matter what happens, given the horrendous cap situation the Eagles are in (in a year the cap may go down, no less), this team isn’t going to be good. They will have money for draft picks and maybe one free agent, and nothing they do with the QB position is going to change that. Next year is a lost year, where you will suck and get another high pick and get these overpriced contracts off the books.

    And I don’t want to hear about Howie “restructuring” existing deals to create more space. Get rid of them if it’s free, but don’t spread your mistake over another 3 years. Besides Wentz’s contract, that is a big reason the Eagles are in cap hell.

  5. Let’s not make this harder than what it is-Carson Wentz to Patriots-they NEED a quarterback, he NEEDS a team.

  6. Considering he is due $10mil roster bonus around March 20, something may be done sooner rather than later if trading him is a serious consideration

  7. adamb182 says:
    January 3, 2021 at 8:58 am
    That Howie Roseman … its was cool how he took a superbowl team built by Chip Kelly/Andy Reid and turned into one of the biggest messes both roster and cap wise in the nfl. He is quite possibly the worst GM in NFL history.

    —————

    I’m not one to stick up for Roseman at this moment, but what are you talking about? Roseman basically cleaned house of all Chip players to win a super bowl a mere 3 seasons after chip’s departure. And in reference to Reid, the only player on the eagles’ Super Bowl roster from the Reid era was Brent Celek.

    Roseman may suck in the draft, but your argument couldn’t possibly be more inaccurate.

  8. Getting Carson right this offseason answers a lot of questions in Philly. If Hurts is the starter for Philly next year, pederson and Roseman will be fired and a full rebuild is in order. Wentz is the best quarterback in the division when right and one of the best in the NFL when playing well.

  9. Looking at the Eagles overall salary cap situation, Wentz’s contract is not easily absorbed. They need to cut quite a bit to get under the cap next year.

    Paying top dollar for a reclamation project whose confidence is broken and can’t do diddly without a $60 million OL in front of him, and even then can’t stay healthy, should be top of mind for Howie Roseman.

    Eagles are headed for a rebuild regardless of Wentz, as aging guys with big contracts are no longer affordable and performance begins to slide. Keeping Wentz will likely just slow the process and could cost Roseman and Pederson their jobs in the end.

  10. Ther isnt anything to evaluate Carson Wentz has regressed big time and the fools gave him an extension which was a mistake. Trade him for a ham sammich if possible.

  11. Maybe they should draft offensive linemen who can pass block and a few receivers who can stretch the field.

  12. When a QB plays great, and is talked about as an MVP, but the next year plays terribly, something changed.

    In the case with Philly, that change is losing Frank Reich. Under Reich, both Wentz and Foles looked like franchise QBs. Now, under Pederson, they look terrible.

    Indy should try to get Wentz…so he and Reich can be reunited.

  13. Let’s see, the Eagles have given up 62 sacks this year. Hurts, the shining new toy, has one win, two losses and has been sacked 12 times, completing only 54.7% of passes. Sure, he can run around and the fantasy freaks like the points, but it’s not winning games. Why was he drafted? Why not OL and WR? Who is to blame? Owner and GM.

  14. Wentz, nobody wants you or your contract. If you want to be an attractive trade option you need to take a significant pay cut.

  15. “His poor mechanics were also exposed. I hope he works on that and his decision making this offseason.”

    He’ll be going into his 6th season and is one of the highest paid QBs in the league. That all should have been straightened out years ago.

  16. So why was Wentz benched for Hurts?

    Because he performed so poorly he was among the worst QBs in the NFL, rivaling Sam Darnold.

  17. Hurts needs to show some leadership by barging into Roseman’s office, slamming his fists on the desk and demand that they make him the starter and just get rid of Wentz.

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