FIERRO: Here are three potential landing spots for benched Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz
Getting rid of quarterback Carson Wentz next year is not something the Eagles are likely to do no matter how the rest of this season unfolds.
On top of the significant dead money (almost $34 million, according to Over the Cap) they’d be forced to carry on their salary cap, they don’t figure to get more than a mid-round draft pick in return.
Then again, taking a high-profile quarterback in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft, less than a year after rewarding Wentz with a $128 million contract extension, wasn’t something they would have been thought to do when they shocked the football world by pulling the trigger on Jalen Hurts.
Fact is, nothing is ever completely off the table for the Eagles under general manager Howie Roseman, who may decide that if they don’t think Wentz will be a difference-making starter for them anymore, keeping him around would not be in the best interest of the team.
Wentz last Sunday was benched in favor of Hurts during a 30-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers. On Tuesday, coach Doug Pederson announced Hurts would start this coming Sunday against NFC frontrunner New Orleans.
At the same time, Pederson suggested Wentz was far from finished in Philadelphia.
“Carson’s been a big part of the success that we’ve had,” Pederson said. “He was on that championship team that got us to that level. Even in ‘18 and ‘19 he led the team and got us into the postseason and I know we can get back to that level.”
Nevertheless, if the Eagles decide to move on from Wentz, there will be interest.
With that in mind, we take a look at three potential landing spots and why they would make sense.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Obviously Wentz had his best success under Colts coach Frank Reich when he was the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia.
The Colts have Philip Rivers, 39, who is playing on an expiring contract. And they will have the cap space to be able to keep from possibly taking a step back before going forward with a rookie.
This team and coach make the most sense for Wentz
2. New England Patriots: Like the Colts, the Patriots have an established star ( Cam Newton) in place. But he also is on a one-year deal and almost certainly has played too erratically this year to earn an extension.
If anyone besides Reich can turn Wentz around, it would be Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, providing McDaniels sticks around as the presumptive head-coach-in-waiting.
The Patriots also would have enough cap space to pursue veteran playmakers who could help Wentz.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Selling another Eagles castoff to their fans might prove difficult for the Jaguars. But then, there aren’t that many fans to begin with, so why worry?
If the New York Jets continue on their winless trajectory, they will get the top overall pick and likely take quarterback Trevor Lawrence with it. The Jags, who are on pace to pick No. 2, may not feel any of the other quarterbacks on the board would be worth picking there.
Contrary to the widespread belief that Wentz’s contract would be too prohibitive, it really is not.
His cap charge for each of the next four seasons would range from $31 million to $35 million, which even by next season could be considered a bargain for a franchise quarterback, given the way prices for top players at that position keep going up.
Moving on from Wentz might not be as impossible or as reckless as widely believed, especially if the Eagles determine that he can’t be what they thought he would become.
Keeping a quarterback around only because of guaranteed money is the worst thing any team can do.
But it’s important to note that the Eagles aren’t there yet. It’s just that they won’t have to be stuck with him if they decide he can’t get the job done.