End of an Era: Carson Wentz
Updated: Feb 24
C/O to Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
On February 18, 2021, the Philadelphia Eagles traded Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick. This trade reunited Wentz with his former offensive coordinator and current Colts head coach, Frank Reich. According to NFL Network, the 2022 second-round pick can turn into a first-round pick if Wentz plays 75 percent of the snaps or 70 percent of the snaps and the Colts make the playoffs in 2021. Wentz’s departure from Philadelphia is something that many did not expect after the signing of his extension in 2019. Let’s reflect on the 5 years Wentz spent in Philadelphia.
In 2016, Jeffrey Lurie (Chairman) and Howie Roseman (Executive Vice President of Football Operations) were searching for Philadelphia's next franchise player, and believed that North Dakota State's Carson Wentz would be that guy after his impressive combine performance. Wentz was selected second overall to the Eagles after a season where they finished 7-9 (2nd in the NFC East) and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year. That year they also hired former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson as their new head coach after the firing of Chip Kelly.
Wentz showed flashes of stardom in his rookie season, but was inconsistent. In 2017, Wentz looked to be on a mission making the most impressive jump of any quarterback from 2016. In 13 games, Wentz passed for over 3,000 yards with 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions and was the front runner for league MVP. Unfortunately, Wentz tore his left ACL in a Week 14 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, which cut his season short. Philadelphia would go on to win Super Bowl 52 behind the heroics of Nick Foles, beating the New England Patriots and winning Philadelphia its first championship in the Super Bowl Era.
In 2018, Wentz had solid performances, but didn’t look the same as he did in 2017 when he was playing at an MVP level. He didn’t look as mobile, aware, or comfortable at quarterback and that had an affect on his performance. Wentz would only play 11 games in 2018 after his season abruptly ended due to a stress fracture in his back. The organization knew Wentz's injury history since college, but that didn’t stop them from signing him to a 4-year extension worth $128 million in 2019. This would be something the organization would quickly regret after Wentz’s 2020 season.
Wentz started off the 2020 season throwing 2 interceptions in a season opening loss to the Washington Football Team. From there Wentz only got worse, forcing Doug Pederson to bench him after throwing a league-leading 15 interceptions in 12 games. After being benched Wentz immediately let the organization know that he was not interested in being a backup and wanted to be traded. Wentz would never see the field again as an Eagle, and Philadelphia would finish the 2020 season 4-10-1. Philadelphia pushed to keep Wentz after the firing of Doug Pederson, but they figured it was best to move the disgruntled quarterback and take the cap hit. Philadelphia now holds the biggest dead cap hit in NFL History, losing over $33 million in the trade. In 2021, Philadelphia is looking to get back to their winning ways under the leadership of their 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts, as Indianapolis looks to add Wentz to an already stacked roster and make a legitimate run for a championship this year.