Could Carson Wentz cut an eight-figure check to facilitate his exit from Philadelphia?
It sounds far-fetched, but one former NFL executive has proposed such a scheme as the Eagles head toward an offseason of relative uncertainty at the quarterback position.
ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum, the former general manager of the Dolphins and Jets, raised the idea during an appearance on the network's Get Up program on Wednesday morning.
Wentz could hasten a trade by easing the dead-money hit for the Eagles -- by refunding about $20 million in salary, Tannebaum said.
“Right now, if Carson Wentz was traded before he earned a roster bonus, he would count $33.8 million on Philly’s cap next year,” Tannenbaum said. “However, under the rules, if Carson Wentz wrote a check for $20 million before the end of the 2020 league year, the Eagles will get a credit next year, meaning he would only be $13.8 on their cap in 2021, which is a very reasonable number.”
Wentz would likely then have several suitors -- potentially the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots -- and could earn as much or even more under a new deal as he is under his current pact with the Eagles, according to Tannenbaum.
“The contract, to me, would be really easy,” Tannenbaum said. “Keep paying Carson Wentz $32 million a year -- which is what he was making -- and have the Colts pay him a signing bonus of $20 million, so he is now made whole, and he keeps going on this contract.
“If I’m the Colts or the Patriots for that matter, I’m paying roughly $38 million a year, which is $32 million a year for three years, plus the $20 million -- which is high but still less than Deshaun Watson.”
Wentz's intentions remain unclear, with conflicting reports recently surfacing about how he'll respond to his apparent demotion. Wentz seems to have been supplanted as starter by 2020 second-round draft pick Jalen Hurts, prompting speculation about Wentz's future.
If Wentz wants out, according to Tannenbaum, the Eagles might be able to unload him in exchange for a second-round pick and perhaps a conditional second-rounder.
“If I’m Philadelphia, I have a very manageable dead money number of $13.8 million. I also have the potential of getting two second-round picks for a player that, let’s face it, needs a fresh start, and you still have Jalen Hurts. If I’m the Colts or the Patriots, I now have a young quarterback 27-years-old who has played well, and I’ve given up reasonable draft compensation, and I’m paying him a little bit more than I want. But now I have the player I need for the next three years under contract.”
Wentz, 28, signed a four-year extension in June 2019, potentially keeping him under contract through 2024. The North Dakota State product was drafted second overall in 2016.
Tannenbaum, 51, was touted as a "capologist" for his ability to exploit arcane loopholes in the league's byzantine salary cap policies during his time with NFL teams. He was last with the Dolphins in 2018.