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June 07, 2019

What They're Saying: Carson Wentz deal is a gamble, but potential huge savings

Eagles NFL
Carroll - Eagles Stock Carson Wentz Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz could be back on the practice field at the NovaCare Complex in June.

Carson Wentz will be in Philadelphia for a while. Not quite as long as Bryce Harper will be — but the duo will be the faces of the city's sports franchises for years to come.

After signing his four-year extension on Thursday, thousands of words were spent breaking down the deal all across the internet. We've picked a few highlights here:

As Wentz goes, so go the Eagles

In a piece for The Ringer, Danny Heifetz took a broad look at the deal, which will pay Wentz upwards of $32 million a year when the extension kicks in in 2021. He more or less states the obvious, that the Eagles are officially now staking their future on Wentz. 

However Heifetz makes it clear that Wentz still needs to perform to keep favor in Philly, and that'll mean delivering football's highest achievement:

Long term, the last ripple effect comes back to Wentz himself. He’ll be 31 when the deal expires. If he’s half as beloved in Philly then as he is now—and especially if he delivers the city a Super Bowl without Foles—he’ll sign another large extension with the franchise. But if the Eagles haven’t soared back to the mountaintop by then, some fans may point at him rather than their savvy front office as the problem. As Wentz goes, so go the Eagles. Now we’ll see where he’ll take them. [The Ringer]

A bargain of a deal

Four years, $128 million seems like a lot. To the untrained eye perhaps. But as Sports Illustrated's Connor Orr writes, the Eagles and Howie Roseman are kind of thinking outside the box here. They're betting on Wentz' health, and saving some money by betting a complete unknown.

But Carson Wentz’s four-year, $128 million (with a reported $107 million guaranteed) extension is interesting because he’s not yet on the cycle, and the reported figures don’t quite follow the pattern. The other quarterbacks in the cycle—Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson—have won playoff games and Super Bowls. They have longevity. They are a commodity beyond their rookie contract. Wentz has not even reached his fifth-year option. He has played just one 16-game season in three years, and he’s coming off back-to-back season-ending injuries to his ACL and his back. 
While it represents another calculated gamble for Eagles GM Howie Roseman—getting Wentz for probably $6 or $7 million per year cheaper by doing the deal now instead of waiting for the next cycle of quarterbacks to sign and drive up the average per year price—Philadelphia is also doing something they haven’t done much of during their recent string of successes. They’re betting on things that are not quite projectable, like health and the expansion or contraction of the modern NFL offenses that have aided Wentz’s star rise. Like the changing complexion of the Eagles’s veteran locker room, which was an essential component of the team’s success during Wentz’s early years. [Sports Illustrated]

Consistency is key

At NBCSports Philly, Dave Zangaro took a look at the lengthy list of Eagles players slated to remain under contract until at least 2021. It's very clear from seeing this that A), their Super Bowl window is likely to be wide open for at least a few years and B), they might need to focus on drafting more on the defensive side next offseason, as they invested most of their picks on offense back in April.

Carson Wentz
Alshon Jeffery
Lane Johnson
Zach Ertz
DeSean Jackson
Jason Kelce
Isaac Seumalo
Andre Dillard
Dallas Goedert
Miles Sanders
JJ Arcega-Whiteside
Jordan Mailata 
Fletcher Cox
Brandon Graham
Malik Jackson
Nigel Bradham
Avonte Maddox
L.J. Fort
Josh Sweat
Shareef Miller [NBCSports Philly]

Aggressiveness, not recklessness

In an ESPN article with a title many Eagles fans will like, "Eagles making a big bet on Carson Wentz -- and it's the right one," beat writer Tim McManus asserts that while the extension is completely within character for the team and its decision-making over the last few seasons, the commitment they just made wasn't reckless (even though they are assuming a huge injury risk based on a pretty worrisome track record.

But this is an organization that has been defined by its aggressiveness in recent years. That's different from recklessness. The Eagles use all of the tools at their disposal to analyze a situation, and once they have determined a course of action, they pounce. That includes locking players up early if they view them as a core piece, and it doesn't get any more core in their eyes than Wentz. They fell hard for him during the pre-draft process in 2016, moved up twice to select him No. 2 overall that April and have been unwavering in their belief in him since -- through injury, through attacks on his character and through magical runs orchestrated by then-backup, Nick Foles. [ESPN]

Is Dak better than Carson?

We'll finish up with everyone's favorite debate: who is better, Carson Wentz or Dak Prescott? ESPN's Todd Archer thinks it's a natural question to ask, as the Cowboys' quarterback will likely be signing his own extension sometime soon. Is he worth more money? Here is some of his analysis between the two young signal-callers:

•Wentz has had a better season (2017) than Prescott has had, but Prescott has had a better three-year run. 
• Wentz was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, 133 spots before the Cowboys took Prescott in the fourth round. Both started as rookies, with Prescott earning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award by leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 mark with 23 touchdown passes and four interceptions. 
• In 2017, Wentz was having an MVP-type season -- before he tore his ACL -- with 33 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Wentz posted an 11-2 record, but Nick Foles led the Eagles' push to the Super Bowl LII win. 
• In 2018, Wentz had a 5-6 record, missing the final three games with a back injury, and he saw Foles once again take Philadelphia to the playoffs. Prescott has not missed a game in his three-year career. He has a 32-16 record (compared to Wentz's 23-17 mark). Prescott has 67 touchdown passes, 18 rushing touchdowns and 25 interceptions and has two Pro Bowl appearances. Most important, he has two NFC East titles, two playoff appearances and one playoff victory. [ESPN]

Sounds like he picked Prescott. 

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