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May 16, 2019

What they're saying: How much will Carson Wentz's new contract cost the Eagles?

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Carson-Wentz-Eagles_051619_usat Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

All signs are now pointing to the Eagles and franchise quarterback Carson Wentz agreeing to a lucrative contract extension at some point before the 2019 NFL season kicks off in September.

On Wednesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter said on 97.5 The Fanatic that he believes a deal will be done before Week 1, confirming what Albert Breer of MMQB reported last week

Here's more from Schefter:

“My belief is that deal will get done at some point this offseason, before the season begins. They’ll get a deal in place. I think, from everything I’ve gathered, I think the two sides have begun talking. I think that both sides are motivated to get it done. I don’t think they’re close, right now, to getting it done, but when I talk to people around the league who look at that deal, they believe it’s going to get done.

“Now, I think the Eagles, privately, are confident it will get done. They know they’re still working here, and there’s progress to make, but the fact that the two sides have begun their discussions and are talking — we’ll see how this shakes out, but my sense is the Eagles think it’ll get done, and it’s a matter of when they can finish it off and get it together. I think the signs point to that deal getting done this offseason, at some point in time, and they’ll lock up Wentz..."

Roseman has not been shy about his desire to lock up his QB longterm and has admitted as much publicly on several occasions — not to mention that the team already exercised the fifth-year option (2020) on his rookie contract. There's really no reason to believe the two sides will fail to come to an agreement, and whether that happens before, during or after the 2019 season isn't the most important part.

The Eagles have been enjoying the benefit of having a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback on a rookie contract, allowing them to spend money elsewhere while building out the roster around Wentz. Soon, that massive advantage will disappear, but Roseman has done a good job of putting his team in position to afford Wentz's pay-bump without having to blow up the rest of the roster.

So, how much will Wentz cost the Birds moving forward? That's where we'll begin today's edition of What They're Saying. 

Wentz deal could cost $30 million per year

Cody Benjamin | CBS Sports

You can add CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin to the list of writers with sources predicting Wentz and the Eagles get a deal done this summer. But at what cost? And how might the deal be structured?

The source also estimated terms of a potential contract, projecting an average annual salary of around $30 million.

"Wentz will be north of Kirk Cousins but south of Russell Wilson on an average-per-year basis," the source said...

Wentz's reps are likely seeking maximum guarantees, the source said, but Eagles personnel chief Howie Roseman figures to incorporate lots of playtime incentives to offset injury insurance for Wentz -- to mention precautions for a potential 2021 NFL lockout.

"He'll build club protections in for sure and include work stoppage protections for the team," the source predicted, adding that a likely incentive would have Wentz's salary "go up for each game played."  [cbssports.com]

For context, last offseason, Kirk Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million deal (fully guaranteed for $28 million per season) with the Vikings. That made Cousins the highest-paid player in the league, until later last summer when Aaron Rodgers signed a four-year, $134 million deal, taking that title from Cousins. Just last month, Russell Wilson became the league's highest-paid player after signing a four-year, $140 million deal that included $65 million guaranteed. 

And that's where Benjamin's source sees Wentz's deal falling, right between Kirk Cousin's $28 million/year and Russell Wilson's $35 million/year. 

Interestingly enough, both Rodgers and Wilson were already off their rookie contracts and were signing their third NFL deals, not to mention that both have Super Bowl rings...  

Eagles preparing to marry Wentz

Dan Graziano | ESPN

Over at ESPN, Dan Graziano took a look at how committed each team is to its current quarterback. The Eagles were pretty far down the list, but, as we just pointed out, that's likely to change big time over the next few months. 

23. Philadelphia Eagles

Starter: Carson Wentz | Signed through: 2020
Tier: On the verge of commitment | Ranking in tier: No. 2

Contract: Four-year, $26.676 million, fully guaranteed contract signed in May 2016, plus a 2020 team option worth $22.783 million that was exercised in May 2019.

The Eagles want Wentz around for the long term as well, but his health history likely means they'll wait until after the 2019 season to talk about an extension. As the Rams do with Goff, the Eagles have the right to rescind the option and move on after 2019 as long as Wentz is healthy. But if he's healthy, it seems extraordinarily unlikely that they would do that.  [espn.com]

Cox filling up the stat sheet

Mike Johnson | PFF

With the NBA's conference finals currently taking place, Mike Johnson of Pro Football Focus decided to come up with the a relevant triple-double stat for NFL players. And that wound up being the pass rushing triple-double, which means double-digit sacks, hits and QB hurries. 

Only 15 players in the whole NFL managed to accomplish that feat in 2018, and one of them is Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.

DI FLETCHER COX, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

11 sacks, 24 hits, 60 hurries

Fletcher Cox ended the year ranked second among interior defenders with an overall grade of 92.5, and his 95 quarterback pressures were the most we’ve ever seen from an interior defensive lineman not named Aaron Donald. Cox produced a 20.9% win rate and a 16.6% pressure rate on his 572 regular season pass-rush snaps last year — both second at his position.

Cox, however, wasn't the only Eagle to go for a triple-double last season. Unfortunately, the other, Michael Bennett, is no longer on the team.

EDGE MICHAEL BENNETT, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

11 sacks, 20 hits, 37 hurries

Now a member of the New England Patriots, Michael Bennett has been a consistent force as a pass-rusher throughout his time in the league. He’s one of only five players at the position who has tallied at least 40 pressures in each of the last seven seasons, and he has recorded at least two quarterback pressures in 117 of his 146 career games. In 2018, Bennett produced a 76.2 overall grade and 68 total pressures on 513 pass-rush snaps.  [profootballfocus.com]

Surprises to make the 53-man roster

Mike Kaye | NJ.com

These last two items have something in common: they both feature players who at one time played quarterback but are now trying to make the Eagles at a different position. 

First up is Braxton Miller, who NJ.com's Mike Kaye believes could be a surprise on the team's 53-man roster.

1. Braxton Miller

Miller spent the majority of last season on the Eagles’ practice squad. The former college quarterback and Houston Texans draft pick is one of the major dark horses on the roster. The Eagles are lacking a defined backup at the slot receiver spot behind Nelson Agholor. Miller will compete on offense and special teams with the likes of Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, DeAndre Thompkins and Marken Michel for the fifth wide receiver spot in training camp.  [nj.com]

Bad quarterback, good linebacker

Reuben Frank | NBC Sports Philadelphia

The other former quarterback trying to make the Eagles is T.J. Edwards, an undrafted rookie linebacker out of Wisconsin. While Miller was a quarterback at Ohio State, Edwards' career as a passer didn't quite make it that far. 

“I’m telling you, I was not a good quarterback,” Edwards said at his locker after a recent Eagles rookie camp practice. "We ran the spread, too. I was throwing it just about every down."

He was good enough to get noticed by Wisconsin while playing quarterback. But not as a quarterback.  

He’s now a promising undrafted rookie linebacker with the Eagles. Back then?

In high school Edwards was a self-described “pretty bad” QB who Wisconsin noticed on film for his … blocking?

“Threw a couple blocks as a quarterback,” he said. “So that was it.”  [nbcsports.com]

It's probably a good thing he changed positions, because he could be a nice fit for Jim Schwartz's defense...



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