Football Team

Brian Mitchell: Eagles had to bench Carson Wentz for Jalen Hurts

Football Team

Much like with the Washington Football Team, a majority of the Philadelphia Eagles' season has revolved around the quarterback position and who should be under center.

For the first 11 games it was Carson Wentz, but whispers for Jalen Hurts to enter turned to screams as the team and quarterback performance dwindled. Hurts finally entered mid-game in Week 13 and will be the starter going forward.

Again, much like in Washington with Ron Rivera, it was not an easy decision for head coach Doug Pederson to make. But, according to former Washington player and current NBC Sports Washington analyst Brian Mitchell, it had to be done.

“I think that if you looked at the way Carson Wentz has played, you have to make that move," Mitchell said.

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For Mitchell, that's what the choice really comes down to. It all revolves around the performance on the field.

By its nature, the quarterback position can sometimes be more than that. Pedigree, history and relationships can all factor into the decisions that are made. Mitchell knows that is part of the game, but he also feels that it's not something that should impact Philadelphia's move to Hurts.

Even if the team still believes in Wentz and the potential he showed in his strong 2017 season, his showing in 2020 warrants a switch. His 57.4% completion percentage and 15 interceptions demonstrate his statistic struggles. Wentz has flopped when it comes to decision-making and commanding the offense. The unit looks stale and moving the football never really came easy.


The Eagles invested a second-round pick in Hurts during the 2020 NFL Draft, making it seem as if there was confidence that he could play in the NFL. Naming him the backup only furthered that. Based on that designation, and what Wentz has shown, Mitchell believes that warrants a change.

Quarterback may be a polarizing position, but it isn't immune from adjustments.

“I understand, people look at the quarterback as if the quarterback can’t be touch. But when you’re not playing well and seem to be getting worse, if you have the guy who made the football team as his backup, you give him the opportunity and you let the other guy sit and look," Mitchell said. "Just like any other position."

What made moving on from Wentz potentially harder for the Eagles was the monetary investment. As NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay lays out here, a four-year, $128 million contract extension in 2019 that kicks in next season creates plenty of financial problems. If Wentz isn't the answer, cutting him is not worth it due to the large amount of money that would be on the books.

Still, Mitchell doesn't see that as an excuse to stick with the quarterback, especially when ownership has stated that a move to Hurts can be made.

Based on all the factors surrounding Wentz, Hurts and the Eagles, a quarterback swap was unavoidable.

“I understand how much money they paid him. But when you get [team owner] Jeff Lurie saying that 'you can go and bench if you have to, don’t let me hold you back,'" Mitchell said. "I think Doug Peterson was put into a position where he had to make that move.”