Even the most ardent Carson Wentz fan would have to agree there’s a significant measure of risk here.
Any time you write a check for $100 million, there’s risk. And when you write that check for a quarterback before he’s ever walked on the field for a playoff game, that risk is magnified.
Contracts in the stratosphere as the one Wentz signed on Thursday are generally reserved for Super Bowl winners like Drew Brees, Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers. Or at least quarterbacks with a thick postseason résumé, like Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck or Philip Rivers.
Wentz’s postseason résumé is blank.
Doesn’t mean this is a bad move. It’s not. It doesn’t mean the Eagles made a mistake. They didn’t.
It does mean the Eagles just took a leap of faith unprecedented in NFL history.
Jimmy Garoppolo is close, but that was $33 million less in guaranteed money.
Wentz is off the charts for a quarterback who has finished one season in his career and has already suffered more season-ending injuries in three seasons than Tom Brady has in 19.
The Eagles’ 26-year-old QB is signed through his 32nd birthday, through his ninth NFL season, and anything short of a Super Bowl championship between 2019 and 2024 will be a disappointment.
A huge one.
Nobody can argue Wentz’s ability. When he’s been healthy, he’s been as good as anybody. He’s one of only seven QBs in NFL history to average a TD every 20 attempts and an interception less than every 50 attempts, and one of only six with back-to-back seasons with 20 or more TD passes and fewer than 10 INTs.
His numbers are up there with Brady, Rodgers, Brees and Wilson.
So it comes down to staying healthy. There is no doubt in my mind that if he does, he’ll join those guys and his close friend Nick Foles as Super Bowl winners.
The Eagles have done a masterful job building a terrific offense around Wentz, and he’s done a terrific job this offseason focusing not just on his health but on diet, flexibility, nutrition, sleep and everything else that could help him reduce his chances of injury.
Here's the thing: When I look at Wentz, I don’t see a quarterback that’s injury prone.
Honestly, I just don’t.
I see a quarterback who has all the elements — mental and physical — to enjoy sustained success in this league.
I know this can’t be proven, but I’ll always believe that the knee injury — which we know wasn’t completely healed while Wentz played last season — led to the back fracture. When you’re favoring one leg, even imperceptibly, it can lead to compensatory injuries in other parts of your body.
Wentz's health will be the biggest storyline this year for the Eagles and one of the biggest in the NFL.
Every time he’s a little slow to get up after a big hit, every time he’s a little ginger walking off the field after a third-down sack, we’re all going to hold our collective breath.
The pressure on Wentz moving forward will be tremendous. Prove you’re worth the money, prove you can stay healthy and prove you can lead a team as far as your best friend did 16 months ago.
The Eagles are essentially gambling $100 million and a good chunk of the next decade that he can do all those things.
When I think of Wentz, I don’t think of injuries. When his career is over, I can't imagine getting hurt is what will define him.
When I think of Wentz, I think how exciting it’s going to be watching him and DeSean Jackson playing together. I think about Alshon Jeffery, Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz and JJ Arcega-Whiteside in the red zone. I think about a coach that knows how to get the most out of his quarterbacks.
So yeah. It’s a risk. A big one. But it would have been a much greater risk moving on from someone this gifted because of a couple injuries.
My money is on Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson and Wentz. Why wouldn't it be?
Wentz is under contract for six more years. He’s not going to be hurt all those years. But he is going to be great every single one of them.
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