Stephen A. Smith thinks Patriots should pursue Carson Wentz


There’s no sugarcoating it—Carson Wentz stunk in 2020. Among qualified starters, only Sam Darnold of the New York Jets produced a lower quarterback rating (72.7) than Wentz (72.8) this season. The former second overall pick was eventually benched for rookie Jalen Hurts and, by all accounts, did not take his demotion well. While Nick Sirianni’s hiring was thought of as a peace offering, Wentz’s radio silence since the end of the season would suggest he’s still fuming over the events that transpired during the final days of Doug Pederson’s reign as head coach.

There are a myriad of reasons to stay away from Wentz—his erratic performance in 2020, questions about his work ethic, leadership concerns and, perhaps worst of all, his unconscionably bad contract. Even with all that in mind, many feel Wentz would benefit from a change of scenery, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who thinks the disgruntled quarterback would be an excellent fit in New England.

“Bill Belichick could use a quarterback. Bill Belichick knows how to coach,” said Smith Thursday on First Take. “If the New England Patriots had an opportunity to get their hands on Carson Wentz, I think it’s something that they should consider. Because I believe that Bill Belichick and [offensive coordinator] Josh McDaniels would know what to do with someone like that.”

Local reporters have spent the offseason trying to deconstruct the ongoing Wentz saga, theorizing why his once-promising Eagles tenure unraveled so quickly. One hypothesis is that Philadelphia coddled Wentz, which led to the complacency and sense of entitlement that has plagued him in recent seasons. It goes without saying that conduct would not be tolerated in New England, where unflinching taskmaster Bill Belichick has always ruled with an iron fist.

The Patriots took Cam Newton on as a reclamation project in 2020, hoping a fresh start in Foxboro would help the former Panther return to MVP form. While the 31-year-old looked explosive as ever carrying the football (137-592-12 rushing line), similar success in the passing game eluded him (eight touchdowns against 10 interceptions). Smith also suggested the Colts as a suitor for Wentz following Philip Rivers’ retirement earlier this offseason. Wentz, it should be noted, had his best season when Frank Reich—now Indy’s head coach—served as Eagles offensive coordinator in 2017.

The Patriots are in a favorable position cap-wise (fourth-most cap space), though Wentz’s bloated salary is still a tough sell, particularly after the year he just had. Perhaps it would take a compromise similar to last week’s Matthew Stafford trade. In that deal, Los Angeles convinced Detroit to take on Jared Goff’s remaining contract by including a trio of draft picks including two first-rounders in exchange for Stafford.

Whether it’s the Patriots or another team, the odds of Wentz returning for a sixth season in Philadelphia get slimmer by the day.

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