The last couple weeks have taken Eagles fans through a rollercoaster of emotions as the organization put their former franchise QB on the market. With all the anxiety and anticipation surrounding these talks, Eagles Twitter was ready to erupt once the news was announced on Thursday morning. The Eagles are sending Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2021 third-round pick and 2022 conditional second-round pick. Since the trade news dropped, there has been much discussion about the compensation both teams agreed upon. Let’s dive in to see who were the winners and losers of the deal at first glance:
Winner: Indianapolis Colts
On the surface, it’s tough to not like this move from the Colts perspective. Carson Wentz is reuniting with his former offensive coordinator and QB coach from Philadelphia. Frank Reich and Press Taylor will welcome the former Philly QB with open arms as they look to rebuild his confidence and mechanics. The Colts boast one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, which should help keep Wentz clean in 2021. They also have a significant amount of cap space to further build around Wentz and give him more weapons to work with. A major factor in this deal is the fact that Chris Ballard managed to keep his 2021 first and second round picks. If you’re Ballard and the Colts, this trade was a no brainer considering the history Wentz has with Reich and company.
However, it’s not all sunshine and unicorns for the Colts once you factor in the possible risks. Wentz is coming off the worst year of his career where he led the NFL in interceptions and was the most sacked QB in the league. We have also seen a regression in Wentz’s mechanics and footwork, which has lead to turnovers and missed opportunities. There is also speculation that his personality could cause friction when things don’t work out the way he wants them to. If those reports actually have any traction remains to be seen, but they have swirled around the former Philadelphia QB during his tenure with the organization. There’s no question that Carson Wentz is a very talented quarterback but can he click on all cylinders like he did in 2017?
If anyone is going to help him regain that MVP form, it will be Frank Reich and his staff.
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles
Now here comes the fun part… I think the Eagles actually won AND lost this trade, which is a pretty fitting outcome considering the state of this organization. I don’t fault fans for balking at the return we got for our former franchise QB because we were led to believe differently. If you read Adam Schefter’s article from Super Bowl weekend about the Carson Wentz saga then you would’ve thought the team was getting a king’s ransom. However, I don’t think Wentz’s value was ever that high around the league. It seems like a lot of the interest was manufactured because Howie Roseman knew where Carson Wentz wanted to go and teams weren’t going to trade for a QB who wasn’t going to buy in. Especially since we now have reports coming out that Chicago never even made an offer; this could very well have been a one team race from the beginning. When you step back and take everything into account, I believe the Eagles got fair value for Carson Wentz.
A lot of fans have taken issue with the lack of immediate value for Wentz considering we only got a 3rd round pick in 2021. However, I believe the real prize in this trade is the future conditional 2nd round pick.
If Carson Wentz plays 75% of the Colts snaps or 70% of their snaps plus a playoff berth then the Eagles pick becomes a first round selection. People want to judge this trade immediately but that’s a tough task with the conditional selection involved. One could argue that this turns out to be a positive though when you factor in the lack of info teams will have with this draft class. The higher pick in the trade will be in next years draft; a draft class you potentially have more info on leading to a more informed pick. The 2022 NFL Draft could prove to be far more pivotal for the Eagles too, depending on the state of their QB position.
I don’t see the Eagles taking a QB in the 2021 NFL Draft with Jalen Hurts in the fold. The Eagles should give him a shot in the 2021 season to prove what he’s got. If he doesn’t turn out to be the answer then you have three picks in the first two rounds of the 2022 draft plus 80 million in cap space to find your next QB. The biggest positive we can take from this trade is flexibility; the Eagles are set up going forward with both draft capital and cap space as a result of this deal. However, these trades don’t happen in a vacuum and we have to take into consideration all the factors that led to this.
Loser: Philadelphia Eagles
When the Eagles traded up for Carson Wentz in 2016, they thought the QB position would be shored up for years to come. The Eagles even won a Super Bowl during Carson’s best season, even though he wasn’t the QB for the big game. Everything that happened since that glorious moment has been an organizational failure from top to bottom. Howie tried to build around Carson using high picks on weapons and protection while pouring tens of millions of dollars into the offensive line. However, most of those picks didn’t pan out and the supporting cast around Carson suffered as a consequence. The Eagles still believed in Carson and thought his talents were worthy of a massive contract extension. That belief didn’t last long though as they drafted Jalen Hurts a little more than a year later.
The mere presence of Hurts on the team reportedly led to Carson looking over his shoulder for the 2020 season and eventually a loss in confidence. I think we all understand that Wentz had a lot on his plate with injuries, coaching, rumors, etc. Although, there was no excuse for him playing like one of, if not the worst starting QB in the league during 2020. If Carson had even played league average, the coaching staff would’ve understood the circumstances and not benched him for Jalen. The fact that he played so poorly though was the reason a move had to be made.
The blame doesn’t all fall on Carson’s shoulders though. The front office failed to give Carson a consistent supporting cast throughout his Eagles tenure. Doug Pederson had his faults and mishaps during his coaching career after that Super Bowl win, especially when it came to play-calling and game planning to Wentz strengths. It’s tough to just point the finger at one person in the Eagles organization and blame them for everything that has transpired since 2017. The long, turbulent path the Eagles have taken to this Carson Wentz trade is the reason they lost. Howie, Doug and Carson can all share a slice of the blame in what was an organizational failure from top to bottom. I still believe the Eagles got fair value for Wentz considering the circumstances. Even so, it’s tough to look at the big picture of this organization and see how the Eagles won this trade from all angles.