February 11, 2021
Discipline is the enemy of the Philadelphia Eagles right now.
And the more time that passes in the Carson Wentz saga, it becomes clearer that most of the "suitors" for the Eagles' former QB1 are staying disciplined.
A Matthew Stafford-like haul was the starting point in negotiations for general manager Howie Roseman, the unrealistic desire designed with moving off of it in mind.
Think of it this way — If you're selling your car and have $30K in mind as a fair price, you don't start at that number unless you want to end up disappointed.
The same is true for the Eagles as they look to get out of a toxic relationship but one where they want a solid rate of return. The pending divorce has been blamed on everything from the ex-coach and his offense, former assistants that were either playing bad cop or good cop, injuries, and even more intangible things like work ethic, personality, entitlement, and yes, even religion.
Now as things drag on and people fall for David Montgomery's love of Chicago tweets, Roseman has evolved into public enemy No. 1 to the fanbase in a convoluted attempt to tie everything up in a neat little bow.
After the move away from Doug Pederson to Nick Sirianni didn't result in Wentz letting bygones be bygones, the blame game had to settle on another scapegoat. Because Wentz still wants out, with Indianapolis the softest landing spot due to the presence of Frank Reich and Press Taylor, Roseman is the only one left standing, absent owner Jeffrey Lurie himself, and what good does it do to point your anger at the guy who can't be removed?
Someone tangible has to take the brunt of the anger because more nuanced explanations are often too difficult to explain.
Truth be told, Wentz isn't all that different from the other starting quarterbacks in the NFL where entitlement and expectations come with the tag of QB1. In Seattle, Russell Wilson wishes he was involved in more of the personnel decisions while Deshaun Watson is halfway out the door in Houston because he wasn't listened to, at least to a satisfactory degree, when it came to that team's search for a new general manager and head coach.
Wentz's angst over the Eagles drafting Jalen Hurts in the second round last year was matched by Aaron Rodgers' disdain of the Packers taking his potential successor, Jordan Love, in the first.
As for Wentz's much overhyped type-A personality, the only difference between him and say Tom Brady, Rodgers, or a Peyton Manning is negligible unless you want to argue Wentz is the easiest of that quartet to get along with.
There is a big difference between Wentz and all of those names, however, and one that should be as obvious as the nose on your face. All of those QBs produced and Wentz was arguably the worst starting signal caller in the NFL during the 2020 season before being benched for Hurts.
Believe me, the 2017 version of Wentz could demand personnel power during a weekly press briefly and much of the modern media gleaned on this generation of superstar would scratch its chin and ponder why not?
Even the Wentz of 2018 and 2019 could bellyache about the drafting of Hurts instead of a player that could have helped the Eagles from Day 1 in 2020 like Jeremy Chinn or J.K. Dobbins.
'Damnit, he's right," many would say.
The real issues here are that Wentz still sees himself as the established No. 1 undermined by everyone from the owner on down while the organization wants others to see him as that No. 1 while tacitly acknowledging he's not by shopping the former No. 2 overall pick.
Those loggerheads mean the Eagles are stuck counting on someone, anyone becoming undisciplined.
And the window where Wentz is the belle of the ball on the trade market is closing. Whether that comes with an unexpected name like Wilson or Watson hitting the market, the move forward to draft evaluation and younger options gaining more steam or even more pedestrian players like Jimmy Garoppolo or Marcus Mariota being sold as answers, the more crowded the game of musical chairs gets, the more likely suitors come down on their offers.
The thought around the league is that if you can get a first-round pick, a third-round pick, or even a conditional fourth that moves to a third to protect each side, and a player for Wentz, take it.
The thought from one former league executive is that Lurie is the last hurdle after agreeing to shatter the dead-money precedent by eating $33.8M.
"Maybe there's a condition there," the ex-exec surmised. "Maybe Jeffrey said OK to the money but only if you can get this [package] in return. It would explain a lot."
The problem with playing hardball is you may wake up on March 19 understanding that playing a quarterback who you don't want and who doesn’t want to be here is firmly in play, not exactly an optimal template for a new staff attempting to build a winning culture.
A sense of urgency by the Eagles is needed and it seems to be missing right now.
John McMullen is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media, the host of “Extending the Play” on AM1490 in South Jersey and also contributes Eagles and NFL coverage for SI.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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