Just a few years removed from a near-MVP season, Carson Wentz is already gone.
The Eagles on Thursday agreed to trade Wentz to the Colts for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick that can turn into a first-rounder, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen first reported the news.
This ends the Wentz Era in Philadelphia after just five seasons in which the franchise and Wentz experienced incredible highs and unthinkable lows.
Wentz will now reunite with Frank Reich and Press Taylor in Indianapolis. Wentz gets the destination he wanted. And the Eagles have a chance to get a first round pick.
NBC Sports Philadelphia has confirmed that the second-rounder in 2022 will turn into a first-rounder if Wentz played 75% of snaps or if he plays 70% and the Colts make the playoffs.
By trading Wentz now, the Eagles will save just under $853,000 in cap space in 2021 but will be left with a dead cap hit of $33.8 million for this upcoming season. That is an NFL record, shattering the previous mark of $22.2 million the Rams will incur after trading Jared Goff earlier this offseason.
Because the Eagles will trade Wentz before the third day of the new league year, the Eagles will avoid paying Wentz a $10 million bonus. The trade can’t officially be completed until the new league year starts on March 17.
But the Eagles have deemed it best to move forward without Wentz, the player they once pegged as their true franchise quarterback, the same Wentz they identified in the 2016 draft as the target and the same Wentz to whom they handed a four-year, $128 million extension less than two years ago.
And now he’s gone.
How did we get to this point?
Wentz’s career in Philly started off strong. After an up-and-down rookie season as a Day 1 starter, he was playing at an MVP level in 2017 before he tore his ACL in Los Angeles in Week 14. He then watched as his backup, Nick Foles, led the Eagles to their first-ever Super Bowl win. That was just the beginning of the trouble.
In 2018, Wentz again got hurt — this time, a back injury — and missed the playoffs. In 2019, he willed the Eagles to four wins down the stretch and into the playoffs before he was hit in the head by Jadeveon Clowney and knocked out of the eventual playoff loss after just a handful of snaps.
Despite the extension signed in June of 2019, the Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts the following spring, a move that Wentz clearly didn’t appreciate. Instead of using that as fuel to have a great season, Wentz regressed into one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL during the 2020 season as his relationship with head coach Doug Pederson and the organization began to deteriorate.
Wentz was far from the Eagles’ only problem in 2020 — the OL was decimated by injuries, his receivers were young and inexperienced, play-calling was suspect — but as a franchise quarterback, Wentz was expected to cover up some of those problems. All Wentz did was compound them.
Then there were the reports of Wentz’s at-times grating personality. For a couple years now, he has been accused of being unaccountable and unwilling to accept tough coaching. It reportedly created an environment where Wentz was both coddled and given too much rope. Despite all that, Wentz’s relationship with Pederson was deemed by many to be irreparable.
When the Eagles fired Pederson in January, many saw that decision as the franchise’s choosing Wentz over him. While that wasn’t the case, it seemed like removing Pederson from the situation would at least quell many of Wentz’s issues with the Eagles, but it apparently didn’t do enough. In recent weeks, sources confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia that Wentz preferred to move on.
Ultimately, the team decided to deal their once franchise quarterback. This trade goes down as an admission of a terrible failure with the contract and is evidence of historic failure by the front office.
Wentz was on his way to winning the MVP in 2017, but don’t discount his play in 2018 or 2019. He didn’t reach that near-MVP form, but Wentz was still a very good quarterback in those years and there was no reason to expect the kind of rapid regression we witnessed in 2020.
In fact, in 2019, Wentz became the first Eagles’ quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season and he became the first 4,000-yard passer in NFL history without a wide receiver having over 500 yards.
Here’s a look at each of Wentz’s five seasons in Philadelphia:
2016: 16 games, 62.4%, 3,782 yards, 16 TDs, 14 INTs, 79.3 rating
2017: 13 games, 60.2%, 3,296 yards, 33 TDs, 7 INTs, 101.9 rating
2018: 11 games, 69.6%, 3,074 yards, 21 TDs, 7 INTs, 102.2 rating
2019: 16 games, 63.9%, 4,039 yards, 27 TDs, 7 INTs, 93.1 rating
2020: 12 games, 57.4%, 2,620 yards, 16 TDs, 15 INTs, 72.8 rating
The Eagles used the No. 2 overall pick on Wentz back in 2016 and it took a couple gutsy moves from Howie Roseman to land him. The Eagles had the No. 13 pick but the Eagles knew Wentz was their guy so they traded from 13 to 8 to 2 to get him. The thing is, it looked like it was going to work until things began to unravel.
In the Eagles’ record book, Wentz finishes his Eagles career ranked 4th in career passing yards (16,811), passing attempts (2,492), completions (1,562) and touchdowns (113). He ranks 3rd in completion percentage (62.7). And he ranks 2nd in interceptions percentage (2.0) and passer rating (89.2).
With Wentz gone, and unless the Eagles use a 1st-round pick on a quarterback, they will turn over the keys to Hurts, who will enter his second year in the NFL in 2021 as Wentz plays elsewhere.
There’s a real chance Wentz goes on to have a good NFL career, but it won’t be in Philly, and that’s a shame.
At one point, it looked like Wentz was destined to be the greatest quarterback in franchise history. Instead, he’ll be remembered as the guy who simply should have been.
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: