June 10, 2019
When he took to the podium at the NovaCare Complex on Monday evening, Carson Wentz was all smiles. And why wouldn't he be? Just a few days earlier, the Eagles quarterback signed a four-year, $128 million contract extension to keep him in Philadelphia through the 2024 season, and earned himself the most guaranteed money in NFL history.
For Wentz, the deal not only cements his status as the face of the franchise for years to come, but shows the tremendous amount of respect the organization has for him, both on and off the field. And that feeling is mutual, as he made sure to point out in his opening statement.
"First of all, I want to thank the good Lord for this opportunity, this blessing. It's pretty surreal, it's still kind of sinking in a little bit," Wentz said. "I want to thank my amazing wife for supporting me through the ups and downs and all the rigors a season brings, and really everything that comes with it. I want to thank Jeffrey [Lurie], I want to thank Howie [Roseman], Coach [Doug] Pederson, and this entire organization for believing in me from the moment they traded up to draft me.
"They saw something special in me and that means a lot. And, at the same time, I saw something special in this place. I could see the chemistry. I could see the culture and the makeup from the moment I came here for my visit, before the draft even. I knew there was something different here, there was something special — and we were able to accomplish something special just a couple years ago — and it's been quite the ride for these couple years, but I'm really excited about what the future will bring.
"My teammates make this place amazing. We have guys that come in and out each year, but the culture never changes and the guys are a big reason why we have something special here. By no means is the work done — we're just getting started and we're really excited about this season.
"I couldn't be more excited to be a part of this city. I love everything about this city — the fanbase is amazing. It's truly special to run out in the Linc on Sundays and see those fans and just the passion they bring. I've said it before, and I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but I don't think the culture of this city could fit me any better, just with the passion they bring and how badly they want to win. I'm wired the same way. I'm extremely thrilled to be here for quite a while now and I'm just excited for it."
But Wentz, who said this deal came together over the course of the last several months, wasn't the only one smiling from ear to ear.
"I couldn't be more pleased that Carson is going to be our quarterback for many more years," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in his opening statement. "It goes without saying what we think of Carson. It started on Day 1 when we first met in Fargo a long time ago — not that long ago, actually — and [he was] incredibly impressive from Day 1. And every moment he's been with us at the Eagles, it's just re-enforced everything we expected and much more from those days, whether it's leadership, poise, the desire to be really, really good, if not great, and attention to detail, smart, face of the franchise in so many ways. It's how you draw it up. I think I said that in March. It's how you draw it up.
"Our goals are to win really big, and to do that at its best, you have to have a quarterback who wants it really badly, and Carson, in every way, wants it badly. ... It's a great day for the Eagles."
And in that sense, it truly is a great day for the organization, as they locked up their franchise quarterback longterm — and they didn't break the bank to do so.
Wentz's deal, which will cost the Eagles about $25.7 million per year when spread out over the full six years he's under contract, might seem like a hefty price to pay in 2019, but by the time he hits the later years of his extension, it will likely be below market price for a quarterback of his talents. Jared Goff and Dak Prescott, both of whom were drafted along with Wentz in 2016, are in line for contract extensions before long, followed closely behind by the likes of Patrick Mahomes and others. And after Wentz set the bar, there's a good chance they each have their sights set on surpassing the money the Eagles just pledged to their quarterback.
But Wentz isn't worried about that. Not today.
"I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to be in this city longterm," Wentz said when asked about the expected rise in quarterback price tags moving forward. "You know, you can play the what-if game a million different ways, and I don't get too caught up in that. We wanted to reach something that was fair for both me and my family, but also for this team, this organization for the future, and I don't think I'll have any regrets."
To hear Wentz tell it, it was less about the money and more about the fact that he's now found his home for the foreseeable future.
"It was something both sides just wanted to get done," Wentz said of his decision to sign now rather than wait until after playing a full healthy season. "I knew I wanted this to be home for a long time, and ever since being drafted, it's felt like home. As soon as we found something that was a win-win, and really a fair opportunity, I jumped at it because, like I said, I love this place. I love this place and I want to be here for a while, so it felt like it was a good time."
In fact, by Wentz's own admission, he wasn't that involved in the contract negotiations, instead leaving that part up to his agents.
"I knew a little bit here and there, but I didn't want to bog myself down with a ton of it," Wentz said. "Obviously, still having OTAs and being really focused on that at the time, I left that to my agents who do an amazing job. I think they got this thing really dialed in and I'm excited about it."
What comes next for Wentz remains to be seen, but there's one thing that's for certain — with that kind of money, the pressure on the 26-year-old quarterback will only increase. But, playing in the NFL, in Philadelphia, that pressure has always been there, and it always will.
For Wentz, that's just part of the job.
"I've said this in the past, but when you sign up to play this game, you're welcoming that pressure," he said. "That's just a part of it, no matter what's happened in the past, no matter what's expected of you in the future, there's always that pressure. So, for me, that's not going to change how I prepare, how I focus, how I go and compete every game.
"You just got to kind of block it out a little bit and just keeping doing what you know how to do, and that's getting better every single day. Like I said, the pressure is always going to be there, so never let it bog me down."
After suffering back-to-back season ending injuries, and now signing the richest guaranteed contract in NFL history, the pressure isn't going anywhere. And neither is Carson Wentz.
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