The Eagles never wavered.
From the moment they fell in love with him during the 2016 pre-draft process, enough to aggressively leap to the front of the draft, Carson Wentz has always been their guy. Despite his injuries and despite heroics from forever legend Nick Foles, they never moved from that stance.
Wentz got paid on Thursday night. His four-year contract extension that will keep him in town through the 2024 season is reportedly worth $128 million. That’s a ton of money — like multiple Brink’s trucks of money — but this deal felt inevitable.
When you draw it up, it’s exactly what you want,” Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said about Wentz at the annual NFL owners meetings in March. “Highly competitive, very type-A personality, demanding, very smart, obsessed with winning and winning big, respected by everybody. You can’t really draw it up much better. And we’re lucky to have him.
You can argue about the merits of the contract. Many will. Perhaps the Eagles are taking on too much risk by signing a guy who has ended the last two seasons on the shelf to this type of deal. But even if you disagree with how much he got paid, you have to be impressed by the conviction we’ve seen from Howie Roseman and the Eagles. In their minds, Wentz is going to be an MVP-level quarterback again and nothing was going to stop them from making sure he never leaves. Now, he isn’t going anywhere for a long time.
They could have waited. The Eagles could have let this year play out. They could have even let Wentz play on his fifth-year option in 2020. They weren’t interested in that. Because if Wentz is the player they expect him to be — as hard as it might be to believe right now — this deal will end up being a bargain.
This was the first offseason in which the Eagles were able to negotiate with Wentz and they never shied away from publicly letting it be known that they wanted to get it done. That seems like a poor negotiating tactic, but the Eagles weren’t trying to negotiate as much as they were simply trying to lock this guy up. He’s their franchise quarterback. He has been since they drafted him No. 2. Really, he has been since Doug Pederson and the rest of the organization’s decision-makers got to know him at the Senior Bowl and Combine in 2016.
One moment that still stands out to me was during Super Bowl week in Minnesota. Every single player was lined up in numerical order for the team photo. Except Carson Wentz. No. 11 was smack dab in the middle of the shot. It was the franchise’s way of telling the world that he was still their guy.
That didn’t change after Foles became Super Bowl LII MVP.
That didn’t change when Wentz got hurt again in 2018.
And that didn’t change even as Foles went on another run last year.
As much as it became fun fodder for fans during the 2018 playoffs when it looked like Foles was about to recapture his magic, the Eagles never wavered. They were never going to change directions and go with Foles.
A couple months ago, I asked Roseman if they began preparing for Wentz’s contract the day they drafted him. He laughed and said no, but admitted that maybe they should have.
“I think that once you see the kind of impact that he had on the field, the kind of player he is, the work ethic that he has, you start planning out how you’re going to build a team around a highly-paid player at that position,” Roseman said. “That’s something that we’ve been talking about really for the last two years.”
It’s all about Wentz. It always has been.
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