Each year, fans are optimistic about what young talented players can provide for a franchise. The young talent that the Eagles have to look at is second year quarterback Carson Wentz. In his rookie year, Wentz showed flashes of why the fanbase looks to him as a beacon of light, but he also showed that there are reasons to be concerned. A common criticism with Wentz is that his mechanics need cleaned up. I personally subscribe more to the need to clean up his footwork, but that’s not the point.
The Eagles are heading into year two of the Wentz era, in which they’ve committed all offensive resources to the young signal caller. The team brought in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith this offseason in addition to reportedly giving him a sizable say in the team’s offseason decision making process. At this point, we take a look at what a bleak, but possible future looks like. Suppose Wentz doesn't make that leap, he doesn't show reasonable progression and doesn't sustain the ability to be a top 20 quarterback, what then?
If this ends up being the case, Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith are likely out of Philadelphia in a year (assuming there is no franchise tag). In this scenario the Eagles 2017 NFL Draft is not factored in yet, but looking at the roster, it’s not encouraging. Jason Peters will likely be gone along with Darren Sproles, then factor in that Brandon Graham and Malcolm Jenkins will be 30 years old. At this point the Eagles still don't have a proven starter at cornerback and it would be hard to imagine an overnight change in that situation. If you're keeping count at home, in a year the Eagles could be without Jeffery, Smith, Peters, Sproles and still have questions in the secondary.
At this point in 2018, the team has huge holes all over the roster with a huge question at quarterback. Now, we’re assuming the worst case here of course, but it brings to light just how important it is for Wentz to develop. As any team does, the Eagles are banking on their biggest investment developing and enticing other players to join him. If he does so accordingly, then it opens the door for a player like Jeffery to return on a long term deal and it puts Wentz into a situation to where he will adapt to the loss of a top left tackle in Peters and a reliable playmaker in Sproles. While Wentz wouldn't solve the deficiencies on defense, it is a quarterback league and as long as you have one (see: the 2016 Green Bay Packers), you can stay competitive and buy your franchise time to hit on draft picks and free agents or add depth to make the transition easier from the current playmakers.
All of this isn't to say that I believe Wentz won't develop. I fully have faith in the flashes he did show and want to see him with legitimate weapons. In addition to what the tape shows me, we’ve heard from many trusted evaluators that he projects to trend upwards. I believe in those assessments and I trust the quarterback friendly coaching staff that has been assembled in Philadelphia. Fans watched last season with the mentality that if Wentz failed, he was only a rookie who was thrown to wolves a week before his first career start. In year two as a full time starter, with a strong supporting cast on offense and familiarity with the speed of the game, that mentality dwindles as Wentz becomes who he will likely be for the rest of his career. Examples of this include Derek Carr, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Nick Foles, Aaron Rodgers, Blake Bortles, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton and many more. With each of the aforementioned players, their career’s have been consistent with who they were at the end of their second full year as a starter.
Year two will tell us a lot about not just Carson Wentz but the Eagles as a whole. The amount of pressure for Wentz to become a franchise quarterback lies not only on him, but the Eagles organization as a whole. The organization will be left in the flux it has been in for nearly the last decade at the game’s most important position if Wentz can't fulfill the expectations of a second overall selection, and dark days lie ahead if those expectations go unfulfilled.