Where Will Carson Wentz Land?
By: Euan Leith
Let’s suppose you have been out of the NFL rumors loop over the past week. In that case, let’s catch you up! It appears that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz will be taking snaps in a different uniform next season. Doug Pederson’s firing should’ve given Wentz a second chance in Philly (we even wrote an article about where Jalen Hurts should be traded), but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
Wentz announced himself to the league in a breakout 2017 when he threw for 33 touchdowns in 13 games while leading the NFL with a 78.5 QBR. He went down late in the season with a torn ACL and watched from the sidelines as Nick Foles stepped in and led the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory.
Since that season, things have never been the same. From 2018-2020, Wentz 17-21-1 as a starter and was eventually benched at the end of last season for rookie Jalen Hurts. To compound the decline of their franchise quarterback is the contract situation. The Eagles signed Wentz to a four-year extension in 2019 that is only beginning to kick in for the 2021 season! He will count for over $59 million in dead cap money this year and just under $25 million next season.
Any team that takes a chance on the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 Draft will need to have a lot of confidence that Wentz can at least be their quarterback for three seasons. The rumors swirling that the Eagles want picks to trade for Wentz makes me laugh. This is a Jared Goff situation, in my opinion, where the Eagles should be giving picks to sweeten the deal of taking Wentz off their hands.
Regardless, he has shown success in the NFL, and there will be teams that believe they can “fix” the North Dakota State product and get him in a cheap deal. So without further delay, let’s break down his top three destinations.
A reunion with Frank Reich has an inevitable feeling with the Wentz situation. The Colts Head Coach was the Offensive Coordinator for the Eagles during Wentz’s first two years. Under Reich, Wentz had an admirable rookie year before taking off in 2017.
His quarterback’s apparent accession into the elite tier of signal-callers landed Reich with the Indianapolis lead job after the Super Bowl run. He has dealt with a now-retired Andrew Luck, a perennial-backup Jacoby Brissett, and a now-retired Philip Rivers since he took over.
This almost makes too much sense to not happen, but if the Eagles asking price is too high, it could scare off the Colts and one of the best suitors on the market for their disgruntled quarterback.
The irony of the Bears trading a boatload of draft picks for the No. 2 overall pick in an NFL Draft gives off a feeling of déjà vu to Chicago and NFL fans alike. However, it doesn’t seem to be scaring away the Chicago front office. Four years after trading for Mitchell Trubisky, it looks like there are ready to go all-in again.
General Manager Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy are on their last legs in the Windy City. Putting all their eggs in the Carson Wentz basket would set this franchise back for several seasons if it blows up in their faces.
Still, if the Bears hope to re-sign Allen Robinson this offseason, acquiring the best quarterback he has ever played with would be a great start. It would also be a smooth transition for Wentz as he would be going to an offense descending from the Andy Reid coaching tree.
When Reid was fired from the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2012 season, he took Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy to Kansas City as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. When Doug Pederson returned to the Eagles in 2016, Nagy was promoted to offensive coordinator and eventually became the Bears Head Coach in 2018. He was quite the revelation in 2018 as the Bears won the NFC North before losing in the playoffs.
This move would not be smart for the Chicago Bears. Still, I think a desperate GM and head coach are more than motivated to make a big splash to potentially save their jobs after a couple of disappointing seasons.
This is my dark horse pick after the two heavy favorites in Indianapolis and Chicago. It’s known that the Panthers offered the eighth pick in this year’s draft for Matthew Stafford, and they are willing to move on from Teddy Bridgewater. After the 2020 season, Head Coach Matt Rhule told reporters that his quarterback “has to have a tremendous offseason.”
There are probably fans around the league and in Carolina wondering if Carson Wentz is better than Teddy Bridgewater, and that is understandable. However, I can tell you that Wentz is not Teddy Bridgewater, which already gives this team a higher ceiling.
Unfortunately, Bridgewater does not have the talent to lead a team to a Super Bowl. I think that much is clear. Wentz has at least shown he is capable of putting together an MVP-like season. Although the Panthers are young, they have the squad to make a big move. Christian McCaffery, DJ Moore, and Robby Anderson are a fine set of skill players to partner with Wentz. Their young defense made tremendous strides in a rebuilding year. This team could make a giant leap in 2021.
Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady showed signs of brilliance in his first year in the NFL and could do wonders with a quarterback of Wentz’s potential under center. Would the Eagles take the No. 8 pick and Bridgewater for Wentz? That remains to be seen. However, a trade of this caliber could tip the scales in the NFC South if the Panthers want to compete with their division rivals in 2021.