February 08, 2021
Are the Eagles really about to trade Carson Wentz? Has it really gotten that bad? And how did we get here?
Should we go all the way back to the beginning?
Were the Eagles blinded by Wentz's early success, specifically during the 2017 regular season? What role did the Super Bowl win play in all this? Did they allow that to skew every other thing that's happened since? Did they over-estimate just how good they actually were? And did they incorrectly assume that continued development from Wentz would make up for the slew of bad contract decisions they just kept kicking down the road? Did they not expect that the chickens would come home to roost?
Did they not foresee any regression from Wentz after he suffered a torn ACL and LCL? Did they think the same when a back fracture ended his season the following year? And did they not see that regression taking place in realtime? Or did the fact that they continued to narrowly earn playoff berths once again blind them to the decline that was happening right before their eyes?
Would they still have given him a four-year, $128 million contract extension if they had seen it? What about the off-the-field issues? Did they not believe the reports that were coming out about Wentz, his questionable leadership skills and a growing divide in the locker room? Or were they just always that committed to Wentz, come hell or high water, that nothing was going to prevent them from handing out franchise money to a guy who they spent massive draft capital on?
Was it even possible for them to foresee what would happen next? That after handing Wentz a nine-figure contract extension he would suffer the worst regression a quarterback of his pedigree has ever seen? Was it possible for anyone to foresee that happening?
More importantly, how did it happen? How did Wentz go, in just a few short years, from one of the best up-and-coming quarterbacks in the NFL to one of its worst starters, a guy now seen as a reclamation project around the league?
After bubbling under the surface, did the decision to draft Jalen Hurts in the second round expedite the process? Was Wentz, finally free from the shadow of Nick Foles, subconsciously fooled into thinking he was again facing a quarterback competition? Is he really that fragile? Wouldn't that make it Wentz's own fault?
Was it Roseman's fault for drafting Hurts in the first place? Or was it Doug Pederson's fault for not properly developing Wentz or reassuring him enough that Hurts was not a threat, even if that's exactly what he wound up being? After all, isn't he the main one to pay the price for it so far? Or was it Press Taylor's fault for not pushing Wentz hard enough? Does that mean it's management's fault for jettisoning coaches like John DeFilippo and replacing them with others, like Taylor, who were easier on Wentz? Was it the injuries to the receivers and offensive line? Or did Pederson lose his touch as a play-caller?
Or, per chance, was it some combination of all these factors? Will we ever know?
But are those the most important questions right now? Or are they just providing some context for the more head-scratching developments, the ones that have happened since the Eagles' ill-fated 2020 season came to an end just over a month ago?
Even after as bad a season as you can imagine, weren't the Eagles still telling us all how committed they were to Wentz? Didn't Howie Roseman recently compare him to a "finger on your hand" that he couldn't imagine living without? Was he lying? Do GMs do that?
Were the Eagles never really that committed to Wentz? Or is this decision to part ways being driven by Wentz? Haven't we seen reports that suggest the latter is true, while all indications out of NovaCare are that Roseman and Lurie preferred the Eagles be the team that tries to repair the QB?
Isn't that why the Eagles fired Pederson, because his relationship with Wentz was reportedly beyond repair? Isn't it really the only reason that makes sense? Why else would a team give up on a Super Bowl-winning coach after one missed postseason (that was preceded by three straight playoff trips, including a title)? If not to placate Wentz, then why would they fire Pederson?
More importantly, what the hell happened between Wentz and Pederson to cause their relationship to deteriorate so quickly?
And what about Nick Sirianni? Was the decision to hire him also tied to Wentz? Did they think he was going to be the guy to fix Wentz, or with the speed at which this is all moving, was that never really in the cards? Were they always planning to trade Wentz and start fresh with a new coach and potentially a new quarterback? Or did they think hiring Sirianni, a Frank Reich protege, would get them back in Wentz's good graces?
So why didn't any of this work? Why does Wentz still reportedly want out? Did they not check with the quarterback to make sure these were the right moves? If not — and if they were really so committed to fixing Wentz — then why not? Or is there another prominent person within the organization who has a broken relationship with the QB?
What are the irreconcilable differences that led to this point? Does Wentz just believe that a fresh start in a new organization would be in the best interest of all parties? And if that's the case, what more could the Eagles have possibly done to make this marriage work? Or was it doomed to end this way from the moment they drafted Hurts?
Where do they go from here, assuming they can trade Wentz? And who accepts responsibility of what is now the biggest organizational failure in recent team history? Does it get thrown on Pederson and, on his way out the door, Wentz himself?
Either way, how do Roseman and Lurie explain this to the fan base? Can they? Will they even try?
If this was any other owner-GM relationship, would Roseman still be here? Is his hand not in all of these moves? Is he not on the hook for Pederson's firing? For Sirianni's hiring? For the massive contract handed out to Wentz? For drafting Hurts? For the eventual trade compensation the Eagles receive for Wentz? For the $34 million in dead money they're going to have to swallow this season if they trade Wentz? For the aging roster full of bloated contracts that will prevent the Eagles from truly contending for years to come? And for finding the team's next quarterback?
Will he ever have to pay for his mistakes? Or will the new blow-it-up status of the team afford Roseman even more unwarranted job security as Lurie's consigliere? At some point, isn't Lurie himself going to have to answer for these mistakes?
When will we be able to make some sense out of all this? Are these questions even answerable? And, more importantly, do we even want to know the answers?
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