Finally, after much delegation, annoying leaks and ostensibly never-ending nonsense, Carson Wentz has been traded to the Indianapolis Colts.
As disastrous as it is—seriously what a calamity for a prideful organization—there’s a sense of closure now.
A clean break for both parties.
Winning a Super Bowl with a backup quarterback. It’s possible that’s where it begins. Maybe success in Philadelphia for Wentz became untenable. Zach Berman, of The Athletic, said on a recent episode of Birds With Friends there has constantly been a shadow around Wentz. Berman only mentioned Nick Foles and Jalen Hurts, but even when Philadelphia drafted him, Sam Bradford was their starting quarterback.
His tenure in Philadelphia has been a series of what ifs with highlights haphazardly mixed in between. It sounds like excuse making. Don’t get me wrong. Wentz is to blame. You can’t help but watch in bewilderment some of the throws and his overall decision making during the 2020 season. It’s baffling. Wentz suddenly became this skittish quarterback incapable of doing much of anything.
It’s normal for someone to put extra pressure on himself after watching his backup win a Super Bowl. Only for Philadelphia to double down the following year as Foles propelled them to an unlikely Divisional Round bid. Maybe Wentz, for whatever reason, could never be the player he thought he could be. Wentz led Philadelphia to four straight wins to close out 2019, which was only supposed to be the beginning.
It’s a shame, really. Acquiring him second overall five years ago. Right now, it should be his time. Right now, the quarterback position should be the least of the Eagles’ worries. It’s why they traded up in 2016. Long were the days of piecemealing a quarterback situation after trading Donovan McNabb Easter Sunday 2009. They wanted a sustained solution. It’s an organizational failure to mess up as horrifically as they have. It’s one thing if Wentz struggled off the bat, becoming unwarranted of a second contract like Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. But they paid him, and this has transpired.
I imagine most Eagles’ fans would feel more comfortable about this trade if Howie Roseman left the organization. He’s gone from revered whiz kid to set aside like day old coffee shop bagels to beloved to hated with an abundance of vengeance. It’s understandable, of course, since Roseman has botched several things since the Super Bowl. And you hope. You just hope that Jeffrey Lurie is giving him one final chance to try to steer this franchise in the right direction.
It’s doable. Rebuilding in the NFL doesn’t have to be a multi-year struggle. But there’s real fear in Roseman failing, ultimately digging this team into an even deeper hole, which is why Lurie better be serious about properly evaluating Roseman. Lurie has the benefit of doubt. Philadelphia has been a winner, but it’s what have you done for me lately.
In hindsight, Roseman’s building a “quarterback factory” comment after the Eagles drafted Hurts is up there with Joe Lacob’s the Golden State Warriors are “light years” a head of the rest of the NBA. Don’t bring unnecessary stuff to your organization, especially when you’re not far removed from drafting Clayton Thorson for your “quarterback factory.” In the moment it was stupid and regrettable. There’s an arrogance about the Eagles. This “we know better” attitude. It’s played out and tired. The perception must change.
For a moment, I’ll be optimistic about Nick Sirianni. The offense should be solid enough next year. Sure, there could be growing pains with a new staff, but I’m intrigued with how Jalen Hurts fits in an offense that emphasizes giving skill players the ball in space, while utilizing quick decision making. Think back to Hurts throwing a short pass to Quez Watkins on 3rd and 20 against the Cardinals, resulting in a touchdown. Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert should have big roles. If the Eagles decide to draft a wide receiver in the first round, this skills group has some serious potential. (I really don’t want to entertain the idea of the Eagles drafting a quarterback now, even though it’s possible, probably even likely, and the chatter will only increase until draft night, but for now, let’s assume Hurts is the guy for 2021).
The defense will be different. Jim Schwartz did some really great things. He probably took too much criticism at times since it’s such an offensive-driven league, but the lack of turnovers hurt the Eagles over time. Jonathan Gannon brings a level of excitement. More blitzing, more creativity. If anything, change is welcomed.
Since winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles have had this bogged down offense. The rules make it easier than ever to play offense, yet Philadelphia continued to struggle. They averaged 10.3 first half points this year, good for 26th in the league (Sirianni’s former team was 2nd, by the way). It’s the same number they averaged in 2019. It’s been a problem. Wentz deserves scrutiny. Clearly it costed him his job.
It’s an atypical situation. You’ll hear how trading Wentz will be the biggest dead salary cap hit for a team in league history. In the immediate, it’s a difficult thing to grasp. How can a franchise trade their quarterback before his contract extension even begins? But here we are.
At least it’s done. The Eagles can move forward. For now.
Confidence in the organization, however, remains wobbly.
And it’ll take more than just trading Wentz and a good (2021) draft for it to be firm.