The divorce won’t be official until March 17th, but the Carson Wentz era is now over in Philadelphia.
According to ESPN, the Eagles will be trading Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 3rd-round pick and a 2022 2nd-round pick that can turn into a 1st-round pick. The deal ends Wentz’s turbulent five-years with the team and gives both sides a chance to start over.
This is a decision that will be debated all offseason and for years to come. We won’t know the true answer to whether it was the right decision for a long time.
For now, however, here are my thoughts on the trade and why it was the right decision:
*** Let’s start with the emotional side of this. Trading Wentz is going to hurt for some — and that is understandable. The ride he took the team on in 2017 was a special one. He was the best quarterback in the NFL that season and made the Eagles a Super Bowl winner. There is an argument to be made that no quarterback in franchise history has played at that level. I listed Wentz as the best player on the roster in 2016, 2017 and 2018. I picked them to win the Super Bowl in 2018 because of Wentz. I wrote at the time that I wouldn’t trade him for any collection of picks or players.
For Wentz to go from that to off the team so quickly is shocking. It is the right decision for both sides, but all analysis aside, the fact we have reached the point of both sides wanting a divorce is still wild to think and a huge moment in this franchise’s history.
*** The Eagles deserve blame for it getting to this point. The team traded up to No. 2 and spend a year planning Wentz’s $128 million contract extension. They didn’t do all that work for it to reach this point. The plan was for Wentz to be the quarterback for longer than five years. Everyone deserves blame for it it to get to this point, including Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman, and yes, Doug Pederson,
*** Trading Wentz was the right decision by the Eagles. Yes, Wentz was awesome in 2017 — but that was three long seasons ago. Since then, Wentz has not been anywhere close to that same player. He has torn his ACL, fractured his back, suffered a concussion and regressed. That is the harsh reality. You are what your resume says, and Wentz is a 28-year old quarterback with a 35-32-1 record that hasn’t won a playoff game in five seasons. His career quarterback rating is 89.2 and it has dropped each of the last three seasons. The Eagles aren’t trading away a successful NFL quarterback.
Forget the money. Blame whatever side you want. The bottom line is that the Eagles were not good enough with Wentz as their franchise quarterback. It was not good enough (and he hasn’t been good enough) to attempt the likely impossible task of trying to fix things between the two sides.
*** The issues between the Eagles and Wentz run deep, but there is no question this divorce is happening because of the decision to draft Jalen Hurts.
If the Eagles don’t draft Hurts with the No. 53 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft chance are Wentz is still on the roster. That was the beginning of the end. It clearly impacted Wentz and made him believe the team wasn’t all-in on him. Whether it was intentional or not, the decision to draft Hurts was a sign from the Eagles that he was correct to feel that way.
*** Will this come back to hurt the Eagles? History says it won’t.
By my count 158 quarterbacks have been credited with a playoff win in NFL history. Of those 158, only 17 got that win after their 5th season with the team they started their career with. That is just 10.7%. Of those 158, 43 total — either with their first team or another team — went on to win a playoff game. That is 27%.
Could Wentz turn things around? Sure, anything is possible. But history shows that if you have five seasons as a starting quarterback in the NFL and you don’t win a playoff game, chances are you won’t turn into a long-term, Super-Bowl winning quarterback — and the chances are even slimmer he would have done it in Philadelphia.
*** Trading Wentz will remove a dark cloud over this team. Issues surrounding Wentz has dominated this franchise for three season, and overall, he has been the No. 1 person in the franchise for five. It isn’t all his fault, but there has been a ton of off-the-field drama surrounding Wentz. From the Nick Foles drama, to the stories about issues with his teammates, to reports he was tough to coach, to the latest Jalen Hurts drama. Trading Wentz removes all of that from over this team’s head and gives them the fresh start they desperately need.
Rebuilding won’t be easy. They now need to find another quarterback. But the Eagles’ future feels brighter without Wentz than it did with him on the roster.
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org!