As we know all too well, the NFL dead zone is a prime time for ranking things. The latest rankings of interest come from The Ringer NFL Show, where Robert Mays, Kevin Clark, and Danny Kelly (formerly of Field Gulls and SB Nation) analyzed the best five-year quarterback outlooks around the league.
You’ll never guess which team ranked first overall! Spoiler: it was the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. Enjoy a transcript of the guys laying some thick praise on the world champs:
ROBERT MAYS: I believe we all share the same No. 1. Danny, why don’t you kick us off.
DANNY KELLY: Oh yeah. Carson Wentz, baby.
MAYS: Yeah. It’s the Eagles for me as well.
KELLY: He’s 25, I think, and his rookie contract still has a few years on it. Plus a fifth-year option. He’s coming in at an incredible bargain, even being the second [overall] pick. Even at that, he’s an incredible bargain for them for a couple years. They already have an incredibly stacked roster. Of course, they’re going to face some questions on what to do with their cap but he gives them that flexibility going forward. He’s a really good player, too, you know. So they’re in the catbird seat in terms of the D word, the dynasty word right now. Just because of what they’ve got at the quarterback position.
MAYS: They’re going to pay their quarterbacks the 16th most of any team in the NFL this year and that is with Nick Foles, their backup quarterback, making $13.6 million.
KEVIN CLARK: Carson Wentz is the 201st highest paid player in the NFL. He is the sixth highest paid player on the Philadelphia Eagles. And he’s the 28th highest paid quarterback in the NFL. He will make seven million against the cap this year, eight million against the cap next year, and then he’ll have a fifth-year option. He will hit free agency, if they don’t franchise tag him, in 2021. Now, what’s important here is that they also have a backup quarterback who won the Super Bowl! So you’re going to like that quarterback room, guys.
MAYS: The fact that they have both of those guys and they have the 16th most [money dedicated to quarterbacks] is insane. I mean, that’s crazy. It’s an unbelievable bargain to know that you have Wentz at that. You have a guy that can win you a Super Bowl with your infrastructure. And you’re still in the middle of the road, after having to pay Foles. It’s not as if this is the deal he signed before he won the Super Bowl. They had to give him this money in order to kind of satiate him with everything that was going on. And they’re still in the middle of the NFL. I mean, that overall scenario is really hard to beat.
CLARK: Now, there’s a couple things about Carson Wentz. Number one, incredible efficiency. Steve Palazzolo [of Pro Football Focus] put out the highest graded quarterbacks in the red zone for the past three years. [Tom] Brady is number one, [Aaron] Rodgers number three, Wentz number four. And this is a situational league. Carson Wentz led the NFL in touchdown percentage by a wide, wide margin. I want to say it was almost an entire point. […] As a qualifier, Wentz was 7.5 percent. The next highest was Aaron Rodgers at 6.7 percent. So, that’s a pretty big difference. He’s so efficient. He knows how to score. A lot of that was, you know, I saw something amazing the other day. Have you guys seen the NFL Films Vikings-Eagles mic’d up thing?
MAYS: I have, actually, yes.
CLARK: You may know what I’m about to bring up. But there’s a moment there where the Eagles are just pasting them. And one Vikings defensive back [Xavier Rhodes] says to the other: ‘Man, they’re just out scheming the hell out of us.’ And it’s like, you’ve got that, and you’ve got that supporting cast, and then you’ve got the guys who can do it. You’ve got Nick Foles, who they perfectly tailored his skill set. They perfectly tailored the offense around Carson Wentz when he was healthy. They just have — I know we’re not supposed to do situations here — but that is the perfect situation. It is the perfect marriage between personnel and scheme and personalities and roster building philosophies. I’m just, I’m in love with the Eagles.
MAYS: Yeah, I feel the same way.
KELLY: The other thing that’s really interesting about Wentz is he’s one of the more aggressive quarterbacks in terms of throwing into tight windows. And he also … isn’t his downfield yards per attempt … or, his air yards per attempt is really high too. He’s pushing the ball down the field into tight coverage and he’s still that efficient. He’s not like a dink and dunk quarterback that we see a lot now.
MAYS: Yeah. When I was kind of thinking about this list more as of a theoretical thing, before I even started listing people or figuring it out, I just assumed they’d be No. 1. As I looked at it even more, it just hit home even harder. It’s really hard to convince yourself there’s a scenario where [Wentz] could be anything less than No. 1. I think that’s, again, when you’re doing something like this, and you just know who the clear cut guy is, that helps you tailor the rest of the conversation around it. Who is the closest to Carson Wentz? And honestly, that’s why Jared Goff almost made my list. But he just fell off. If Cam Newton is sixth, Goff is probably seven because I just feel like Goff is more a product of his scenario and his circumstances than Wentz even is. And that’s why he didn’t even make it for me.
“I’m just, I’m in love with the Eagles.”
You and everyone else here at Bleeding Green Nation, Kevin Clark.
And for good reason. The Eagles DO have the best quarterback outlook in the NFL moving forward.
We’ve seen that Wentz has legitimate potential to be the best player in the league. We’ve seen Foles win Super Bowl MVP. That puts the team in really good shape for 2018.
There are some factors that could change after this upcoming season. Wentz will be eligible for a contract extension during the 2019 offseason and one would think the Eagles will want to sign him ASAP. It’s often been Howie Roseman’s m.o. to sign young players as early as the team can in order to beat the market to the punch. Look no further than the Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson contracts in 2016 as recent examples. Besides, you don’t want to be the team that risks waiting too long to pay their starting quarterback and then loses him. Looking at you, Washington.
Another factor is that Foles will likely be gone after the 2018 season. He’s admitted he has starting aspirations and he’ll be a free agent if the Eagles don’t active their team option on his contract. If they do activate his option, Foles can then opt out by paying $2 million back to the team. It’s possible the Eagles will opt in with the idea of trading Foles to a destination he’d be happy with. Getting some kind of value for Foles, instead of potentially just a 2020 compensatory pick at best, would be ideal.
And then there’s everyone’s favorite third stringer: Nate Sudfeld AKA Nate STUDfeld. Sudfeld is currently set to be a free agent after the 2018 season but he shouldn’t be hard to re-sign. While he’s far from a proven commodity, he’s shown some flashes of at least being a capable No. 2 quarterback thus far. The organization remains high on his potential. He could be a nice long-term backup for Wentz. Or maybe even a future trade piece himself some day.
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league and the Eagles have one of the best quarterback outlooks for years to come. With that in mind, it’s not crazy to think they can experience sustained success.
Seems like a good thing to me.