News on the new era of the Eagles
They could have padded the corners of this move by starting Chase Daniel for a few games. Regardless of what coach Doug Pederson said, it's difficult to believe he wouldn't have preferred giving at least a token shot to the guy he lobbied to come here with the promise that if opportunity arose that would happen. Considering Pederson's own playing history in this very same situation, and considering Wentz's so-recently broken ribs, it is astounding that didn't take place.
Instead, the Carson Wentz era begins swaddled in a flak jacket and with the wearer still green to the position at this level. He is being put in a tough spot, one that indicates how much the organization expects of him and how little it expects of the season that begins Sunday.
It began way back in the early spring when the Eagles spent as much time with Wentz as they possibly could to get a feel for what he was all about and how he would handle the NFL stage. It carries through to this moment, as he prepares for his NFL regular season debut as a starting quarterback in front of a frenzied sellout crowd at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. Everything is a new experience for Wentz, who played in just one game in the preseason before suffering hairline fractures in two ribs. Wentz started two dozen games at North Dakota State against competition a level below the very highest in the college football landscape. He threw 24 passes in the preseason before suffering the injury.
To say he enters the regular season a bit wet behind the ears is accurate in terms of how much he has played. But the Eagles have been impressed with everything Wentz has done on and off the field, how his maturity and intelligence have allowed him to digest the playbook. Add in his tenacity and his natural ability to throw the football from many different angles and the Eagles think they have something special.
But there is more to the trade than just the $11 million. The Eagles were also on the hook for an additional $11 million in salary if he remained on the team, and possibly $15 million if injured. This would all be for a player they really did not want on the team. So The Eagles transferred all of that to the Vikings. In essence its a net 0. The Vikings offset the Eagles initial $11 million cost by providing them $11 million in cap and cash relief plus a 1st round draft pick. In that respect this is highway robbery by the Eagles.
The trade also indicates why teams should be more flexibile in their contract structures. The Eagles have been incredibly active in free agency and the trade market. They paid Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray $11 million in bonus money last season but guaranteed them millions more in base salary. It was those guarantees that got the deals done. Bradford received $11 million as a signing bonus. The Eagles turned around and traded those players, trades that would not have been possible had they used large signing bonuses or perhaps appealing enough if they used an all cash strategy. Its a perfect blend of allocation to be able to deal with the moves on your salary cap while also teasing another team with some prepayment on a contract to convice them they are getting a bargain.
“The whole time all along I was just getting ready for whenever this time would come,” Wentz said. “I knew I was ready. I knew I was taking the mental reps, being out the last couple of weeks, even going out to the first preseason game. I was developing at a fast pace and now it’s here. I’m confident in myself, I’m confident in this team. I’m excited for it.”