What if they’re wrong?
That’s the scary thing.
What if the Eagles pick the wrong guy?
A lot of huge decisions are on the horizon for the Eagles this offseason, starting with whether or not Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson keep their jobs. It seems likely both will.
But maybe the trickiest decision involves the futures of Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts.
Because nobody knows exactly what the Eagles have in either one of them.
What can you possibly make of Wentz? His skills mysteriously eroded this year to the point where he became one of the worst quarterbacks in the league, and nobody has a clue why.
And what can you possibly make of Hurts? He sure looks promising, but it’s two games so far and even if the Eagles find their way to the playoffs, the Eagles will still have a relatively small body of work to evaluate him.
OK, great, pick a quarterback to lead the Eagles into the future. But with this many unknowns, what do you base that decision on?
Even if Hurts crushes it the rest of the season, do we really know enough about him to move on from Wentz?
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Eagles move on from Hurts this offseason, but what if they’re convinced Wentz will return to his old self with a full offseason, better weapons, an intact offensive line and better play calling and someone offers them a premium draft pick for the 22-year-old Hurts? Tempting?
The problem is everything right now is guesswork. Guessing whether Wentz will ever be Wentz again, guessing whether Hurts is the real deal. There’s just no way to know the answers to these questions. There’s not enough to go on.
And they’re fundamental questions that will determine the Eagles’ future.
Which brings us to this: What if they guess wrong?
If the Eagles trade Wentz and hitch their wagon to Hurts, what if Wentz’s new team fixes him? Surrounds him with big-time receivers, protects him, balances the offense with a sturdy running game, and he returns to the form that saw him throw 81 touchdowns and 21 interceptions over the 2017 through 2019 seasons? And what if Hurts comes back to Earth and turns out not to be the answer? It would be an organization-wide embarrassment for the ol’ Quarterback Factory.
And what if the Eagles decide that 2020 was an anomaly for Wentz, they commit to him as their starting quarterback and they unload Hurts to a team starving for a young and maybe unproven but exciting, playmaking quarterback? And Wentz continues struggling and Hurts turns out to be a star? Again, organization-wide embarrassment.
These are the nightmare scenarios.
Normally, you base these decisions on scouting and personnel evaluations, and you feel like you can make an educated, informed decision.
But these are such unusual cases considering nobody knows why Wentz played so poorly and there just won't be very much to go on with Hurts.
Which is why it seems like the most likely scenario is that Wentz and Hurts are both here next year.
Because the Eagles can’t afford to guess wrong. They just can’t. It could set them back years.
That does raise a whole other array of issues.
Can Wentz and Hurts co-exist? Is it fair to name one of them the opening-day starter without open competition? Does Pederson – or whoever the coach is – really want the circus that a training camp competition would become? Is it fair to Wentz to have Hurts lurking as the backup, knowing that fans are going to be screaming for him after every interception? Is it fair to Hurts to start the season on the bench after outplaying Wentz this year?
An incredibly tricky situation with implications that will last for years.
As awkward as it might be if Hurts and Wentz are both back in Eagles uniforms in 2021, at least it would avoid the nightmare scenario. They just can't afford to get rid of the wrong guy.
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