Atlanta Falcons

What Matt Ryan's extension means for Carson Wentz

What Matt Ryan's extension means for Carson Wentz

Every time an NFL quarterback signs a record-setting contract, Carson Wentz’s price tag goes up a little bit more.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan got a five-year, $150 million deal Thursday with a staggering $100 million guaranteed. 

Ryan’s contract supplants Jimmy Garoppolo’s five-year, $132 million deal (with $41.7 million guaranteed) as the largest in NFL history in terms of total compensation, and it replaces Kirk Cousins' three-year, fully guaranteed $84 million contract with the Vikings as the deal with the most guaranteed money.

Garoppolo signed in February and Cousins in March, so the three highest-paid quarterback deals in history have all come this offseason. 

And Ryan’s stay as the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history won’t last long. Now that market value has been set for elite quarterbacks, the Packers are likely to re-up Aaron Rodgers for a deal even more lucrative than Ryan’s.

And then someone will come along and get more than Rodgers.

This is life in the NFL. As the salary cap goes up every year, so do contracts. 

As recently as June of last summer, Andrew Luck was the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history at $24.5 million per year. Now he’s seventh.

In a few years? Ryan — if he’s still playing and still on this contract — will be one of the lower-paid quarterbacks in the league. 

That’s the NFL quarterback salary circle of life. 

And that brings us to Wentz. He’s not as accomplished as Rodgers, who’s won a Super Bowl, or Ryan, who’s been to one, but based on his Pro Bowl performance before he got hurt last year, Wentz will be in line for a mammoth deal of his own.

Wentz is signed through 2019 with the Eagles holding an option for 2020 that would pay Wentz the average of the top 10 highest-paid quarterbacks in the league, which would probably be close to $30 million.

But the Eagles would like to lock Wentz up to a long-term extension as soon as possible because the longer he plays at an elite level, the higher his price tag goes.

The Eagles aren’t allowed to sign Wentz to a new deal until after 2018, his third NFL season, but the other QB contracts are starting to give us an idea of what Wentz may wind up getting.

Wentz’s current five-year rookie deal pays him an average of about $6.7 million per year, which makes him the 26th-highest-paid quarterback in the league.

Not for long.

Wentz needs to prove he’s healthy and still the same player he was before his knee injury, but assuming he does, he’ll be in line for a deal in the ballpark of $30 million per year.

Why so much for a kid who’s only started 29 games and didn’t even finish the 2017 Super Bowl season? 

Simple. The Eagles have been trying to find a franchise quarterback for two decades. Now that they have him, they’re going to want to secure him in an Eagles uniform for as long as possible as soon as possible.

And that means making him one of the NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks.

And that means $28 to $30 million per year. If not more.

And that’s why it’s so important for the Eagles to continue to draft well. When you’re devoting that huge a chunk of your salary cap to one player, you can’t afford to sign a bunch of free agents. So your rookies — your cheap labor — have to contribute.

And if you think $30 million a year is a lot? Just imagine if Wentz had done what Nick Foles did in January and February. That $30 million might not even get him to the bargaining table.

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 1)

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 1)

A game-by-game breakdown of the Eagles’ 2018 regular-season schedule.

For Weeks 9-17, click right here. Let’s break down Weeks 1-8 below.

Week 1: Falcons at Eagles
8:20 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Falcons come to Philadelphia for a third straight season. The Eagles won 24-15 at the Linc in 2016 and 15-10 last year in the conference semifinal round of the playoffs. The Eagles are 6-1 all-time against the Falcons at the Linc, with the only loss coming in 2012. They’re 19-14-1 all-time vs. the Falcons and 11-6-1 at home. The Falcons’ last win over the Eagles came in 2015 at the Georgia Dome. Going back to 2000, the Eagles have won 10 of the last 14 games against Atlanta.
 
Week 2: Eagles at Buccaneers
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018
Raymond James Stadium

The Eagles travel to Tampa for the first time in five years to face the Buccaneers. They’re 4-3 all-time in Tampa and 3-1 at Raymond James. The Bucs beat the Eagles 45-17 at the Linc in 2015 in their last meeting. The Eagles won in 2013 in the last game in Tampa. Overall, the Eagles are 10-8 against the Bucs.
 
Week 3: Colts at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

From 1996 through 2006, the Eagles lost four straight to the Colts by an average of 25 points. But they’ve won the two matchups since, at the Linc in 2010 and at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2014. Including their years in Baltimore, the Eagles are 9-10 all-time vs. the Colts and 5-5 at home but just 1-0 at the Linc. Since the Colts moved to Indianapolis, the Eagles are 4-5 against them.
 
Week 4: Eagles at Titans
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018
Nissan Stadium

The Titans have won four of the last five games against the Eagles, although the Eagles won the last meeting, 43-24, at the Linc in 2014. The Eagles are 7-4 all-time against the Titans/Oilers franchise and 3-2 on the road, but the last road win was the House of Pain game at the Astrodome in 1991. The Eagles  are 0-2 against the Titans in Nashville.
 
Week 5: Eagles vs. Vikings
4:25 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles have won seven of their last nine games against the Vikings, including a 38-7 rout in last year’s NFC Championship Game at the Linc. They are 4-1 at the Linc vs. the Vikings, 10-6 in Philly and 14-13 all-time in a series dating back to 1962. Since 1980, the Eagles have won 14 of 20 matchups, including all four postseason meetings. The Eagles have won eight of their last nine home games against the Vikings, with the only loss coming in 2010.
 
Week 6: Eagles at Giants
8:20 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 14, 2018
MetLife Stadium

The Eagles are 9-2 in their last 11 meetings with the Giants in East Rutherford, and their last three wins on the road against the Giants have come with different coaches at the helm – Chip Kelly in 2014, Pat Shurmur in 2015 and Doug Pederson in 2017. The Eagles’ only losses at MetLife Stadium since it opened in 2010 came in 2012 and 2016.
 
Week 7: Panthers at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles and Panthers meet for the fifth time in seven years. The Eagles beat Carolina 28-23 in Charlotte, N.C., last October, and won the last meeting in Philadelphia 45-21 in 2014. The Eagles are 7-4 all-time vs. the Panthers, 4-2 at home and 3-2 at the Linc. The Eagles’ last home loss to Carolina came in 2012, late in Andy Reid’s final season as head coach.
 
Week 8: Eagles at Jaguars
9:30 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018
Wembley Stadium, London

After losing their first three games against the Jaguars, the Eagles have won the last two, in Jacksonville in 2010 by 25 points and at the Linc in 2014 by 17 points. The Eagles are 1-2 against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, with the losses coming in 1997 and 2002. The Eagles have never played a regular-season game in London. The Jaguars have played every year since 2013 at Wembley, where they are 3-2.

10 Eagles stats you need to know

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10 Eagles stats you need to know

Catches by a running back, a run from scrimmage by a wide receiver, run defense and long field goals highlight this week's edition of 10 Random Eagles Stats You Probably Didn't Know (that I didn't know either)! 

• Devonta Freeman averaged 4.4 yards per carry during the regular season, but against the Eagles, he ran 10 times for just seven yards. His 0.7 yards-per-carry is the lowest ever against the Eagles in a playoff game by a running back with 10 or more carries. The previous low was Mike Alstott’s 1.47 for the Buccaneers in 2002 (17 for 25). It’s seventh-lowest in NFL playoff history and worst by a running back since Tyrone Wheatley of the Raiders averaged 0.6 yards per carry (12 for 7) in a loss to the Ravens in 2000.

• The Eagles threw the football to their backs less this year than any season since 1956 and less than any team in the NFL during the regular season. Yet Saturday’s game was their first ever in postseason history in which they had two backs with at least three catches — Corey Clement with five and Jay Ajayi with three. 

• The Eagles rushed for 96 yards Saturday, their seventh consecutive postseason game under 100 yards. That’s the longest postseason streak in NFL history without 100 rushing yards. The Eagles haven’t had 100 rushing yards in a playoff game since the 2006 conference semifinal loss to the Saints, when they had 123.

• Jake Elliott’s 53-yard field goal was the longest in NFL playoff history by a rookie, breaking the record of 50 yards set by Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots against the Chargers in 2006. It also broke the Eagles record of 51 yards set in the 2008 wild-card game against the Vikings by David Akers. It’s tied for the 13th-longest field goal in NFL postseason history. 

• The Eagles held the Falcons to 86 rushing yards Saturday, ending a streak of nine straight playoff games in which they had allowed at least 100 rushing yards. That was the second-longest streak in NFL history. The 86 rushing yards are the fewest the Eagles have allowed in their last 14 playoff games. They held Tampa to 49 in 2002.

• Nelson Agholor’s 21-yard run was the longest in Eagles postseason history by a wide receiver. The previous long was a 13-yarder by Reggie Brown against the Giants in 2006. It was also the Eagles’ longest run from scrimmage in their last six playoff games, since a 27-yarder by Correll Buckhalter against the Vikings in 2008.

• Saturday’s game was the ninth in Eagles postseason history in which they held a team to fewer than 200 passing yards and fewer than 100 rushing yards. They’re 9-0 in those games, allowing 8.0 points per game.

• The only team to score more than 10 points against the Eagles at the Linc in their last six home games is the Broncos, and they didn’t surpass 10 until they trailed 44-9. The Eagles’ defense has allowed 55 points in its last six home games, or 9.2 per game. 

• The Atlanta game was the first in Eagles postseason history in which they won despite no takeaways. They were 0-4 in franchise history in the playoffs when failing to force a turnover — the 1980 Super Bowl vs. the Raiders, the 1996 wild-card game in San Francisco, the 2001 NFC Championship Game in St. Louis and the 2003 NFC Championship Game against the Panthers at the Linc.  

• Matt Ryan’s 86.8 passer rating Saturday is the highest ever against the Eagles by a starting quarterback in a postseason loss. The Eagles had been 0-12 in franchise history in postseason games when the opposing starting QB had a passer rating higher than 84.5.