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February 19, 2021

What they're saying: Full scope of Eagles' Carson Wentz disaster coming into focus

Carson Wentz is someone else's problem now.

Well, not entirely. Actually, not really. If only it were true.

With their decision to ship their franchise quarterback to the Colts Thursday, the Eagles have not erased the issues they had with him — not even close.

Lingering salary cap issues will make it near impossible for the Eagles to be competitive in 2021, and the questions that are now emerging about the future of the quarterback position, the future of the franchise overall and of the competency of GM Howie Roseman and owner Jeffrey Lurie will haunt the Eagles and their fans for a long time.

In Chicago, the other team rumored to have serious interest in the Eagles, fans rejoiced at not having to deal with Wentz' drama for the next two (plus) seasons. Perhaps they are the biggest winners in all of this (more on that in a bit...).

If you thought the trade being reported would stop the all the local Wentz talk, you are sadly mistaken. Here's what's being said all across the football-loving world in the wake of the quarterback's trade to Indianapolis for two draft picks:

Hurts locker (room)

Reuben Frank | NBC Sports Philly

The Eagles' issues are complex, but NBCSP Eagles maven Frank has found a way to make it simple. Drafting Jalen Hurts last year is what set in motion the series of events that led to their franchise QB becoming the worst starter in football and the biggest cap casualty in NFL history. But don't take our word for it:

They should have known Wentz well enough to understand the effect that drafting Hurts would have on him. How it would shatter the trust between Wentz and Howie Roseman and Jeff Lurie, how it would create tension in the quarterback room and how it might ultimately affect Wentz’s performance.

This isn’t Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love. First of all, Wentz is a decade younger than Rodgers and it’s fair to say doesn’t possess - or at least hasn’t shown - the intangibles that Rodgers has shown throughout his Hall of Fame career.

Wentz had to live through Nick Foles finishing off the 2017 Super Bowl run, and even though that obviously wasn’t Roseman’s fault, we all know that wasn’t the easiest thing for Wentz to go through, seeing his backup take the bows he felt were his.

Wentz bounced back from that, but drafting another QB in the second round when Wentz was 27 years old, in the prime of his career and coming off a playoff season, that was too much.

And I can’t understand how the Eagles didn’t realize the effect it would have had on an already fragile Wentz.

Roseman said after the draft his conversation with Wentz about Hurts was a difficult one. What did he expect? Wentz needed a wide receiver, not a backup.  [NBCSP]

A dark day

Jeff McLane | Philadelphia Inquirer

The Hurts pick was an undeniable factor in what happened last season. Howie Roseman made the decision to draft him, in what he explained was a logical move for a team known as being a "quarterback factory." Obviously, the decision didn't work out and according to McLane, Wentz blamed Roseman, not Hurts for his unhappiness. Was Roseman the final straw that broke the camel's back for Wentz?

Much was made of the disintegration of Wentz’s relationship with former coach Doug Pederson. And while it factored into his reported desire for a trade after he was benched for Hurts in December, Wentz’s reasons for wanting out ran far deeper.

Even after Pederson was fired last month, the quarterback preferred to play elsewhere, sources familiar with Wentz’s thinking said. While it could be stated that he had lost trust in Roseman, a more accurate assessment, per one source, was that he had “lost faith in his decision-making.”

The same, to an extent, could be said of Wentz’s assessment of Jeffrey Lurie, whose belief in his longtime general manager remains steadfast. The Eagles’ owner, after all, was on board when Roseman made the unprecedented decision to draft Hurts — both men too wrapped up in the benefits without seeing the potential risks.  []

The Philly effect

Mike Sielski | Philadelphia Inquirer

There is really no single person to blame for the fact that Wentz may not have been built for the pressure of playing quarterback in Philadelphia. All indications in 2016 were that he could handle it. And perhaps that is one of the things that, no matter how you try and figure out what could have been done differently to make the marriage work, there is no way it could ever have. The Eagles set Wentz up to fail, but it wasn't because they had fiendish motives — it was because they made assumptions about Wentz that wound up not being true. Here's more in a fantastic and interesting column from Sielski:

Through Wentz’s first four years with them, the Eagles did nothing to discourage Wentz himself from thinking that way, from believing that he was their golden child, that it was merely a matter of time before he extended his legend beyond the Great Plains. Carson came first. Good Lord: The Eagles won the Super Bowl and nearly reached a second NFC Championship Game with another quarterback, and they never hesitated to reaffirm that Wentz was their real meal ticket. They let Nick Foles depart, then signed Wentz to that gargantuan extension. There’s a thin line between supporting a star athlete and reinforcing that athlete’s sense of self-regard and entitlement, and it appears that the Eagles, based on where that line fell on Wentz, crossed it. They treated him as every NFL team treats its franchise quarterback ... until the moment they drafted Jalen Hurts. Until, for once, Carson didn’t come first.

As arrogant as the Hurts pick was — the logic behind it was sound, but the logic was sound in a vacuum, and the Eagles did not exist in that vacuum — it seems a strange thing to ignite the total disintegration of the relationship between Wentz and the franchise. Should the Eagles have drafted someone other than a backup quarterback in the second round? Yes. Their roster wasn’t deep enough and talented enough that they could use so valuable a resource on a luxury item. But it’s reasonable to have expected Wentz to shrug it off, get over it, and go play. Apparently, he couldn’t.  []

Worst trade in Eagles hisory

Marcus Hayes | Philadelphia Inquirer

We're not trying to play favorites, but the Inquirer has one more column worth highlighting. We'll keep his deep analysis and reasoning as to why for those who want to head over to their site and take a closer look, but the oft-opinionated Hayes thinks the trade that was consummated Thursday is the worst in the team's storied history.

They got robbed by Carson Wentz.

Over, and over, and over.

First, he played far below his pay grade, and betrayed the future plans to which he and the Eagles committed. Then, he torpedoed his trade value. Finally, he manipulated a move for lesser return.

The owner finally just said, Whatever. Just get rid of him.  []

Wentz the winner

Kaelen Jones | The Ringer

It isn't hard to figure out who the biggest winner was from the blockbuster trade this week. It's actually harder to figure out who else is a winner. According to Jones at The Ringer, the quarterback himself is perhaps the lone triumphant party here, as he was able to strong arm a franchise that handed him a nine figure contract a year ago to take a $33.8 million cap hit to get rid of him, right after firing their beloved head coach. Here's more on Wentz' win:

Indy is the exact reset that Wentz needed. He has a team that won’t rely on him to be a superhero, a fan base that won’t be so vocal if he makes mistakes, and a coach who helped him reach the highest level of his career. That doesn’t mean there isn’t pressure on Wentz to figure things out sooner rather than later. The Colts will be incentivized to move on from him if he isn’t performing, because if he’s in the lineup for more than three quarters of the season, they will surrender a first-round pick next year instead of a second-rounder. [The Ringer]

Eagles the loser

Judy Battista |

Let's take another visit to a breakdown of the trade's winners and losers, where we find tossing Philly in the loser column (big surprise). Battista holds only the NFL's ability to evaluate quarterbacks — an as semblance of wisdom that has seen every single first round pick from between 2009 and 2016 flame out or get traded — in worse regard. Here's her take on Philadelphia's loss:

2) Philadelphia Eagles: Let's be fair. This can't be considered a total disaster for the Eagles, considering that Wentz played a big role in Philly winning its first Lombardi Trophy in the 2017 season. The Eagles spent five draft picks to be able to take Wentz in 2016, which would be fine if everything that has happened since that Super Bowl had worked out. But it's been a long downward spiral. The Eagles gave Wentz a $128 million contract extension less than two years ago. They are now taking a cap hit of nearly $34 million to move on. They did not get a first-round pick this year and only a second-rounder that can become a first-rounder depending on Wentz's playing time -- although, honestly, that's not terrible, considering Wentz was a backup at the end of 2020. Worst of all, because the market was so small, Philadelphia had to send Wentz to the one place where he is most likely to have success, which means the Eagles could watch their former franchise quarterback flourish while they go through a rebuild. Many think pieces will be written about the decision to draft Hurts, which seemed to be the start of a poisoned relationship between the Eagles and Wentz that even the firing of Doug Pederson could not cure. It has to be weird to work at the Eagles right now -- and know that both the quarterback and the coach who were supposed to be the franchise cornerstones for at least a decade are both gone. No way around it: This is a rebuild. Look for a slew of big-name cuts to come.  []

Also, Doug is a loser

Jarrett Bell | USA Today

There are a lot of people who made mistakes, but somehow, only one is unemployed now and that's Doug Pederson. Despite the optics of how some people come away looking in the aftermath of the trade, Pederson is, in actuality, someone who has lost big time.

Sure, Jalen Hurts wins. Carson Wentz wins. Frank Reich wins.

The big loser? Doug Pederson.

You remember him — the guy bronzed alongside Nick Foles as a statue outside The Linc that pays homage to the “Philly, Philly” moment from Super Bowl LII, the high point of Pederson’s five-year tenure as Eagles coach. The guy who will never have to buy a beer in The City of Brotherly Love because he delivered that long sought-after championship.

The guy who was fired a little more than a month ago amid speculation that the breaking point involved his insistence that the team move forward with Hurts.

Look at the Eagles now. Moving forward with Hurts. And with Pederson replaced by an unproven coach, Nick Sirianni, who made a horrible first impression during his introductory news conference in late January.  [USA Today]

"Also receiving votes"

Zach Berman | The Athletic

Over at The Athletic, three of their NFL writers, Berman, Bo Wulf and Sheil Kapadia discussed all things Wentz in a lengthy breakdown and analysis of Thursday's trade. In the last of five posed questions, the writers gave some thoughts on how Wentz might be remembered in Philadelphia. Berman's is particularly insightful and we'll include it below — but we suggest you head over there (if you are a subscriber) and read it all.

As for how he’ll be remembered, the lasting impression is certainly not favorable. A dreadful season during which he was benched, followed by pushing for an exit is not a way to endear oneself to Philadelphia. However, when taking a step back, there should be a degree of appreciation for Wentz. The Eagles wouldn’t have won a Super Bowl without the way Wentz played in 2017. He’s in the franchise’s record books in multiple categories (single-season passing yards, single-season passing touchdowns, single-season completion percentage). It’s hard to look at the accomplishments and not lament what could have been. He never won a playoff game in Philadelphia. He was supposed to be on the Mount Rushmore of Eagles quarterbacks, and he probably won’t get past “others receiving votes” at this point. But his apex was as high as almost any quarterback who’s ever played in Philadelphia, and he was the starter during an unforgettable run in franchise history. There are undoubtedly unfulfilled expectations, but there were some brilliant moments, too.  [The Athletic]

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