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December 20, 2020

Report: Carson Wentz wants out of Philly if Jalen Hurts remains Eagles' starter

Eagles NFL

The Carson Wentz-Jalen Hurts saga in Philly isn't going anywhere anytime soon. And it seems like every week there's a new twist in the plot.

Just last week, there were reports that Hurts would remain the starter for the rest of the season and that the Eagles had no interest in trading Wentz — and this was before the rookie quarterback even made his first NFL start. 

Now, it appears we're getting to hear from the other side, Carson Wentz's side, for the first time, as ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that the Eagles' $128-million man is unhappy with the current situation in Philly after the team benched him for the second-round pick. Here's more from Schefter:

Carson Wentz is not interested in being a backup quarterback and would want to move on from the Eagles if the current situation -- with Jalen Hurts starting under center -- continues in Philadelphia, sources connected to the team told ESPN.

Although the Eagles' quarterback situation remains fluid with three games left this season, Wentz is not pleased with the way events have unfolded in the organization, according to sources. ...

Philadelphia's decision to bench Wentz for Hurts has garnered the attention of other teams around the NFL, with some expected to inquire about Wentz's availability in a trade, according to sources.  [ESPN]

This report comes out just one week after Wentz's first full (healthy) game on the bench since being drafted by the Eagles second overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Since his near MVP season in 2017, the same year he tore his ACL, LCL and meniscus. Since, he's regressed and this season saw the North Dakota product not only have the worst season of his five-year NFL career, but also saw him rank statistically as one of the worst, if not the worst quarterback in the league. 

Meanwhile, the Eagles spent a second-round pick on Hurts less than a year after committing serious, longterm money to Wentz that made him one of the highest-paid players in the NFL. Now, that contract is looking more and more foolish by the day, as Wentz’s desire to be traded likely has less to do with whether or not he actually will be traded than the monster contract the Eagles have trapped themselves in.

As we've covered extensively here on PhillyVoice, the Eagles options with Wentz are already severely limited by the dead cap hit that comes with moving on from Wentz this offseason or next. Cutting him is not an option, as the Eagles are already projected to be $70 million over the cap next season, and getting rid of Wentz this way would carry a dead cap hit north of $59 million, $24.5 million more than they'd pay Wentz if they just kept him on the roster as a backup. 

Trading him, which appears to be the quarterback's wish if Hurts is going to be the starter, is also tricky, and that's before you even consider the fact that the team would need to find a trade partner willing to pay them a price they think is fair when the QBs value has never been lower. And, just like releasing him, the Eagles would still have to pay a premium just to have Wentz play elsewhere. Here's more from Jimmy Kempski's deep dive into the Eagles options regarding Wentz:

If the Eagles were to trade Wentz, it would cost $33,820,611 in dead money on their 2021 cap, which would actually be a savings of $852,925. Where does that $33,820,611 figure come from? It's the sum of Wentz's already-paid prorated bonus money in 2021 ($9,273,536), 2022 ($9,273,539), 2023 ($9,273,536), and 2024 ($6,000,000). 

His fully guaranteed salary of $15,400,000, plus a guaranteed roster bonus of $10 million would transfer to his new team, provided that such a deal would occur before the third day of the new league year (March 19), when the $10 million roster bonus is due. If the Eagles were to make a deal after that roster bonus is paid, their dead money hit in a trade would be $43,820,611. That $43,820,611 dead money figure could be split into two years -- $19,273,536 in 2021, and $24,547,075 in 2022 -- if a trade happened after June 1.

As you can see, it's not going to be easy. But it appears to be what Wentz wants. 

This is probably the point where we need to discuss the report itself, and where this leak is coming from. The obvious guess here is that it's coming from Wentz, or at least his agent, and likely serves as a warning shot that Wentz isn't going to be happy being the team's No. 2. But it also says something about the quarterback himself. 

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After all, just because Hurts ends the season as the starter does not automatically mean he'd be the Week 1 starter next season, especially given all that the Eagles have invested in Wentz. There was clearly going to be a quarterback battle and Wentz should have every belief that he can win the starting job back next season — and his contract would automatically give him an edge. But this report, in which it seems like Wentz wants to take his ball and go home if someone else gets to play QB, doesn't paint the picture of a quarterback who embraces a challenge.

Either way, if Wentz is hoping this is a wakeup call to the Eagles, he might be mistaken. All this report will do is force the Eagles to leak their side, in which they'll say they have no intention of trading Wentz — and unfortunately for the 27-year-old quarterback, they already did that just last week. That doesn't necessarily give Wentz any more leverage, especially since his guaranteed money makes it almost impossible for him to hold out. 

It also helps the Eagles in the sense that other teams now know that Wentz wants out, and while the Eagles have said they don't have any interest in trading him — meaning they won't be making any calls — that doesn't mean that they won't field calls from other teams. How many times has Howie Roseman said that he's always listening when offers are made? It almost makes you wonder if the Eagles leaked this to weaken Wentz's position, but that might be a bit of a stretch.

No matter where the report came from, this offseason — one in which there could be major turnover within the organization — should be even more interesting now. Quarterback controversies usually are. And while one or the other might be going somewhere before the start of next season, that doesn't mean they'll be gone. Has Nick Foles taught you nothing?

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