We found out on Sunday morning that Carson Wentz reportedly has no interest in being with the Eagles in 2021 if he’s the backup quarterback behind Jalen Hurts.
Wentz is “not pleased with the way things have unfolded this year,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Get in line, Carson. Plenty of people feel that way.
The fact that the franchise quarterback is on the bench to begin with is the major problem but Wentz’s inner thoughts going public with three games left in the 2020 season just adds more drama to the situation.
Here are three thoughts about all this:
1. If you’re the Eagles, you’d rather not have this come out, especially on game day. But there’s not much they can do about when a reporter delivers his information. For Wentz, it’s just not a good look. After all, it wasn’t like the Eagles unfairly benched him this season. No, Wentz wasn’t all that was wrong with their offense but he deserved to be benched and you can also argue the Eagles waited too long to do it. That’s how bad he was in 2020.
What we’ve heard from the Eagles publicly is that Wentz has handled this demotion very well, that he’s been a good teammate and has taken on the responsibility of running the scout team with honor. And then this report comes out. But it’s important to note that both things can be true. Wentz can still be a good teammate while lamenting behind the scenes that he’s not happy to be in this position.
Would you like to see Wentz say to himself, “I just gotta win the job back”? Absolutely. That should be his mindset. And in a competition there’s still a very real chance that he would win it. But if he’s worried that he wouldn’t win it, that speaks to a larger issue about a lack of confidence, which makes this whole thing trickier.
2. Honestly, is it really a surprise that Wentz feels this way? That’s not to excuse his play or the fact that he helped to put himself in this position but I think some of this boils down to a pretty normal human response. Things aren’t going well for Wentz here and he’s a high-profile player who doesn’t want to be a backup. No one wants to be a backup, especially not a guy who played at a pretty high level his first four years in the NFL and is still just 27.
Wentz’s contract is the elephant in the room, though. It’s not easy to get out of. The Eagles can’t cut him without destroying their salary cap situation, which leaves the possibility of a trade. Even that isn’t easy. Everyone has been pointing at the Colts, which makes sense because Wentz would be reunited with Frank Reich. But it’s still not easy to pull off.
The flip side to the “hard to pull off a trade argument” is the fact that Wentz has had such a strange career in Philadelphia. He had to watch as his backup came in and won the Super Bowl and then the Eagles drafted a quarterback in the second round less than a year after signing him to a contract extension. It’s easy to say Wentz should be mentally stronger to the point where that doesn’t bother him but it’s natural for it to bother someone. And it’s fair to wonder if he’ll really be able to overcome all that.
3. Even if the decision to draft Hurts in the second round didn’t have a direct effect on Wentz’s play, that decision is looming large now. Because if Wentz had struggled and Nate Sudfeld was playing, no one would have the thought that Wentz might not be the quarterback next season. It’s because there’s a second-round rookie playing that we’re all thinking about the future. The Eagles invited this when they drafted Hurts.
The problem was that the Eagles never envisioned this scenario. They drafted Hurts to be a good and cheap backup quarterback in case their starter — who has gotten hurt a lot — got hurt. They never thought they’d be in a situation where the franchise quarterback needed to be benched. And just because Wentz has played poorly, it doesn’t mean the Hurts pick makes any more sense. The Eagles had already invested heavily in Wentz and then they drafted a quarterback in the second round.
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