May 31, 2023
A couple of weeks ago, Carson Wentz's agents sent out a reminder that Wentz still exists and is available to play football in 2023 after back-to-back disastrous stays in Indianapolis and Washington.
That got me wondering what the Eagles were able to do with the draft picks they received in return for Wentz nearly two and a half years ago. Now that we're in a "no news" segment of the NFL offseason, I thought that would be fun to re-visit. So let's do that.
The Wentz trade originally looked like so:
|Eagles get||Colts get|
|2021 third-round pick||Carson Wentz|
| A 2022 second-round pick that could become |
a first-round pick if playing time benchmarks were hit in 2021
In the 2021 draft, if you're recall, the Eagles made a trade with the Miami Dolphins, moving back from the sixth overall pick to 12th overall about a month before the draft. In return, they picked up an first-round pick in 2022.
During the draft, with the Cowboys on the clock with the 10th overall pick, the Eagles traded up from 12 to select DeVonta Smith. The cost to move up was the third-round pick they received in the Wentz trade. If the Eagles didn't have that pick, there's a decent bet that they would have found some other compensation that was suitable enough for the Cowboys and gotten the deal done anyway. Still, draft capital from the Wentz trade helped the Eagles land Smith.
This is where it gets fun. To begin, the Eagles were only guaranteed a second-round pick in 2022 in return for Wentz. For that pick to become a first-round pick, Wentz had to play 75 percent of the Colts' offensive snaps, or only 70 percent of the Colts' snaps if the Colts made the playoffs.
As it turned out, Wentz played 98 percent of the Colts' snaps, and the Eagles got that first-round pick.
Not only did Wentz play the required number of snaps, but the Colts also missed the playoffs. With a 9-6 record heading into their final two games of the 2021 regular season, the Colts were near-locks to make the tourney, needing only one win over the Raiders or the bottom-feeder Jaguars to punch their ticket to the postseason. Instead, largely due to a pair of bad performances by Wentz, the Colts lost both games and were eliminated.
Against the Raiders Week 17, he missed a wide open T.Y. Hilton on a play that likely would have ensured a Colts win.
The loss to the Jaguars Week 18 was particularly devastating, as Wentz completed 17 of 29 passes for 185 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT, though the numbers didn't adequately convey how ineffective he was. He also lost a fumble on a vintage "Wentz hero ball" play in which he tried to throw a shovel pass instead of just eating a sack.
The end result was that the Eagles got the Colts' first-round pick, at 16th overall.
In April of 2022, the Eagles made a major swap of draft picks in advance of the 2022 draft with the Saints, with the 16th overall pick from the Colts being the key piece. The details:
|Eagles traded||Eagles acquired|
|16th overall pick (the Wentz pick)||18th overall pick, 2022|
|19th overall pick||Third-round pick (101st overall), 2022|
|Sixth-round pick (194th overall), 2022||Seventh-round pick (237th overall), 2022|
|2023 first-round pick|
|2024 second-round pick|
The Eagles essentially traded pick 16 for a first-round pick, a second-round pick, a third-round pick, and they moved up from pick 19 to pick 18. They also made a fairly inconsequential move back from pick 194 to pick 237. (For trivia purposes, the Saints selected DT Jordan Jackson at pick 194. Jackson spent the 2022 season on the Saints' practice squad. He signed a futures contract with the Broncos in 2023. The Eagles used the 237th pick to move up from pick 188 to 181 to select Kyron Johnson.)
The Eagles traded the 18th overall pick and the third-round pick (101st overall) acquired from the Saints to the Titans for A.J. Brown. So again, like with DeVonta Smith above, draft capital acquired in the Wentz trade helped land a second star receiver.
The 2022 Saints finished with a 7-10 record, and their first-round pick in 2023, owned by the Eagles, ended up being 10th overall. With the Bears on the clock at pick No. 9, the Eagles traded up one spot (the cost was a 2024 fourth-round pick) to select Georgia DT Jalen Carter, who many believed to be the most talented prospect in the draft.
Here's what the Eagles ultimately gained with the draft capital from the Wentz trade:
The trade of Wentz also cleared the way for Jalen Hurts to become the starter, and he played like an MVP throughout the regular season and in the playoffs in 2022. The Eagles also easily beat Wentz in a Week 3 blowout in Washington in 2022, largely because Wentz stunk.
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