When you look around the NFL and see the acrimony that often surrounds big-money contract negotiations — holdouts, threats, allegations, hard feelings — what the Eagles just accomplished is remarkable.
Howie Roseman and his staff and agent Ryan Tollner and his staff managed to craft one of the largest contracts in NFL history in a way that simultaneously:
1. Gives Carson Wentz the most guaranteed money in NFL history.
2. Gives the Eagles the flexibility to continue building a competitive team around Wentz.
Roseman on Monday spoke at length about how the complicated deal came about and how both sides were willing to make sacrifices in the best interest of the team.
Wentz could have gotten more money if he waited, had another season like he did in 2017 and stayed healthy and let the quarterback market rise as other QBs signed their deals.
Roseman even joked that every time Wentz made a great play in minicamp, he felt more of a sense of urgency to get a deal done.
And the Eagles could have played hardball with Wentz, who has yet to play a snap in the postseason and hasn’t finished a season since his rookie year. They could have let him play under his fifth-year option in 2019 and even franchised him beyond that to retain his rights until he proved he’s truly an elite quarterback deserving of elite money.
Contract negotiations aren’t supposed to be friendly and transparent. But this one — one of the most important in Eagles history — absolutely was.
Here’s Roseman on how the deal came together over the last couple months:
Yeah, we went through all [the] scenarios and for us we know that we believe in this player, and so this was something we knew we were going to do at some point, and the earlier we did it the better chance we had of keeping the rest of the team together to the extent that we can. We want to keep as many good players here as possible. Carson understands that. We were open with him. Everyone understands that the market goes up [every year]. This is not a secret. So for us to do something now where we’re both in a situation where we both had something to gain and we both had some risk on the other side, it’s the perfect opportunity. But more importantly, it’s about the team and it’s always got to be about the team.
It happens so often that teams spend so much money on their franchise quarterback that they don’t have the cap space left to surround him with enough good talent.
Looking at the Eagles’ roster, that’s clearly not the case here (see story).
Roseman and vice president of football administration Jake Rosenberg have been carefully planning for this contract for a long time.
By getting Wentz to agree to this deal now, the Eagles were able to spread out the cap hit over six years, even though the new money doesn’t kick in until 2021. That gives them more opportunities to surround Wentz with quality talent.
The bottom line is that everybody involved in this negotiation had the best interest of the Eagles at heart.
We want to win. We want to be in a position to win another championship and hopefully more than that … and the best way to do that is to keep as many of our good players as possible and to keep the quarterback and that was really our plan, and we were very transparent about that, and we were very transparent about the fact that we knew we weren’t trying to … go in with an [unfair] offer. Our relationship with the agent is one of transparency and just like, ‘This is how we’re thinking about it.’ This is our quarterback. These are people we have good relationships with, we’re not playing the high-low game with them, and so when you do that, it was able to come together fairly quickly, for a complicated deal.
When people talk about the Eagles’ culture, this is what they’re talking about.
People working together for the common good instead of working against each other trying to squeeze the other side for every single penny that they can.
This is a good deal for both sides and we know that things can change either way, but we wanted to be in a position where we could try to build a team for the next few years. And sometimes the best deals are made when both sides kind of have something to lose and something to gain, and that’s where we feel this deal ended up.
It’s hard enough building a winning franchise. Now Roseman and his crew are doing everything they can to make sure the Eagles remain one.
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