The Carson Wentz era in Philadelphia has come to an end. Thursday morning, the Eagles agreed to trade Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick that can become a first-rounder.
When looking back at Carson Wentz’s tenure in Philadelphia one is inclined to wonder, how did the organization go from trading a smorgasbord of draft picks for Wentz, signing him to a massive contract extension, proclaiming he’d be the starter for, “years to come,” to trading him in 5 seasons. It’s truly astonishing how things have gotten to this level.
In the grand scheme of things, the organization accomplished the main goal it set out to accomplish when Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson, Frank Reich, John DeFilippo, Tom Donahoe, and owner Jeffrey Lurie flew to North Dakota five years ago for a workout with Wentz. That goal being, a Super-Bowl win, and Wentz playing a huge role in that win.
To sum up the Carson Wentz era as the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles in one word: fluctuating.
The highs were extraordinary. There were comparisons to all-time greats like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers in his rookie year. And after 2017, Wentz seemed poised to be ready to enter the upper-echelon of NFL quarterbacks.
However, the thing is, the lows were just as remarkable. And three and a half years later, Wentz is headed to Indianapolis.
In Wentz’s time in Philadelphia, with the exception of both his rookie year and sophomore season, it always seemed that he was chasing something. You could practically see it in his on-field play. Of course, Wentz has always been a gunslinger at heart, but things changed after 2017. He was more aggressive. There was more of a tendency for the “hero ball” type plays. He never seemed to adjust or evolve his game in a way (the coaching didn’t help either FWIW). Wentz seemed to press a lot more than he did from 16-17.
And all things considered, it’s understandable. Wentz was drafted with the expectation from fans and media alike that he’d be the guy to lead the Eagles to their first-ever Super-Bowl in franchise history and while he surely played an integral part in that 2018 championship, it’s different when you’re watching from the sideline. Add in the mountain of injuries suffered in addition to this and the picture becomes a bit clearer. Let’s remember that these same athletes we’re entertained and amazed by are people too. Things affect them just like they would any other human.
However, in 2019, it looked as if all the turmoil and uncertainty had dispersed. Wentz signed a 4-year extension with the Eagles before the start of the 2019 season and it seemed as if Wentz had rid himself of the proverbial “chip” on his shoulder. Then, something happened. Jadeveon Clowney, happened. And that ‘something’ sent the entire 2 months worth of merit Wentz had been building, seen through his performance and leadership down the stretch of the 2019 season, into peril. Another injury. This time, a concussion. And it was this concussion that triggered the chain reaction of sorts that has led to where we are in the current day.
Jalen Hurts was selected in that April’s draft. Howie Roseman insisted that Hurts presence wasn’t going to affect Wentz and the pick wasn’t to create competition for Wentz, rather to build a “quarterback factory”.
However, the complete opposite occurred.
Wentz’s 2020 campaign was marred with inconsistency and flat-out poor play. So poor, in fact that it was the the greatest statistical regression for any under-30 starting QB in 70 years. It culminated with a benching. A benching that was another crucial piece of the puzzle that has led to where things currently stand.
Looking at all of these factors objectively, you can begin to get a glimpse of how and why Wentz viewed the situation in the manner in which he did. However, that isn’t to say Wentz is absolved of blame in this situation.
Injuries, maladroit personnel decisions, and anemic coaching have all played a role in determining the current situation but, the bottom line is, the operation has failed in every facet.
Doug Pederson failed both to put the proper coaches in place and put his players (most significantly, Wentz) in positions to succeed and he was fired because of it.
Carson Wentz failed to both, adjust to coaching and evolve with the situation(s) around him, and he was traded because of it.
But one man remains unscathed through it all, and he may have the biggest piece of the pie in terms of the organizational failure that has occurred: Howie Roseman.
And this ultimately lies at the feet of owner, Jeff Lurie who chose to overlook the latter of the three and elected to fire Pederson and trade Wentz.
With everything considered, the situation proved to be too strained for things to be reconciled. A divorce on both sides (Wentz and the Eagles) was likely the best case scenario for both sides. Wentz gets a ‘fresh’ start in an environment with familiar faces and the Eagles get to move on and recoup some draft capital.
So, the question becomes, where does the organization go from here?
As things currently stand, the Eagles quarterback is Jalen Hurts. The team has taken on a $33.8 million cap hit, the largest in NFL history. The team is also nearly $48 million over the cap. There is immense work to do and Jeff Lurie is once again entrusting Howie Roseman with leading the Eagles organization into another revamp of his organization. One can only hope the organization has learned from this proverbial failure of an operation, but hope can only get you so far. The actions will speak louder.