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Nine thoughts on the Carson Wentz contract, including why the Eagles made the right call

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The future is bright.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

In case you weren’t aware, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Carson Wentz to a four-year contract extension worth $128 million. Kind of a big deal! Here are some thoughts on the news.

1 - Carson Wentz is now truly the Eagles’ franchise quarterback.

Whether you approve of the deal or not, the fact remains: Wentz is the Eagles’ starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. This new contract ties him to the Eagles through the 2024 season. That’s at least six more years of Wentz in Philly.

Of course, we already knew the Eagles viewed Wentz as the team’s franchise cornerstone. Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman, and head coach Doug Pederson all expressed verbal commitment to Wentz this offseason. Now the paperwork is officially in place.

2 - The Eagles made the right call to avoid waiting to pay Carson Wentz.

There’s a sentiment out there that the Eagles should’ve waited to pay Wentz. Some feel like he hasn’t proven himself enough to earn this mega-contract.

Waiting to pay Wentz would’ve been a mistake.

And here’s why:

It gets said a lot but it’s true: the longer the Eagles would’ve waited to pay Wentz, the more expensive it would’ve been.

Signing Wentz at this early juncture aligns with the team’s organizational philosophy when it comes to betting on young talent. The risk the Eagles take in rewarding a young player before they reach free agency pays off when they live up to their potential. The Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson contract extensions signed back in 2016 are perfect examples of this strategy. Ertz is currently tied for fifth among tight ends in annual value. Johnson, meanwhile, ranks third among right tackles and tied for 15th among offensive tackles. Those contracts are relative bargains compared to what they’d have been if the Eagles waited until Ertz and Johnson were about to become unrestricted free agents. If all goes well for Wentz, his contract should look favorable in the future as well.

The truth is there just wasn’t much upside in waiting to sign Wentz to an extension. BGN’s Benjamin Solak put together a wonderful flow chart that illustrates this point:

A situation where the Eagles wait to pay Wentz, he struggles and/or gets hurt in 2019, and the team easily finds a replacement just wasn’t realistic. The team was already committed to him no matter the outcome of the 2019 season. The Eagles weren’t going to give up on a quarterback with MVP potential they traded up to get at No. 2 overall in 2016.

Signing Wentz this offseason was the right call.

3 - Carson Wentz helped the Eagles save money.

Wentz could’ve pulled a Kirk Cousins and waited to maximize his earnings. He could’ve decided his current value isn’t as high as it could be since he’s coming off consecutive season-ending injuries. He could’ve bet on himself to have a stellar 2019 season and try to cash in big.

But he didn’t do that. In a way, Wentz gave the Eagles a discount. The sticker price might not lead you to believe as much but Wentz’s contract should age well as quarterbacks continue to receive big pay days.

The Eagles had every reason to sign Wentz to a contract extension this offseason. Wentz didn’t have as much motivation to rush into a new contract, although the instant financial security was tempting due to his previous injury issues.

4 - The Eagles potentially made the Cowboys and Rams pay more money for worse quarterbacks.

This offseason also marks the first time Dak Prescott and Jared Goff are also eligible for contract extensions. And by beating the Cowboys and the Rams to the punch, the Eagles may have just raised the price tags for those quarterbacks.

If I was Prescott’s agent, I’d be pushing hard to get him paid more than Wentz. After all, look at this comparison courtesy of Blogging The Boys!

Unlike Wentz, Prescott has never missed a game. Unlike Wentz, Prescott has a playoff win.

Dak > Wentz!

Except, of course, when you acknowledge the fact that Wentz had to deal with an exceptionally poor supporting cast as a rookie in 2016. Wentz’s offensive line was missing Lane Johnson for most of the season. He was throwing to guys who aren’t even in the NFL anymore like Dorial Green-Beckham and Josh Huff. The Eagles’ leading rusher, Ryan Mathews, was a guy who never played in the NFL again after 2016.

When you look at the last two years of Wentz versus Prescott, it’s clear the Eagles have the better quarterback:

Prescott is a quality game manager type who greatly benefits from being able to hand off to an elite running back like Ezekiel Elliott. He’s not a quarterback who’s going to put the Cowboys and on his back and help Dallas succeed in spite of tremendous adversity. He’s a quarterback you win with ... not win because of. Prescott’s shortcomings were on full display during the 2017 season. By contrast, Wentz had the Eagles in great position to win a Super Bowl despite the fact Philadelphia was dealing with numerous key injuries.

I’d argue the Cowboys are stuck in a spot where the Eagles are glad to have them. Prescott isn’t bad enough to be replaced but he’s not actually good enough to make Dallas serious Super Bowl contenders. The Eagles will very much enjoy seeing Prescott get paid than Wentz, if that’s how it plays out.

As for Goff, he’s better than Prescott and closer to Wentz’s talent.

It’s also worth noting Goff turns 25 this October while Wentz turns 27 in December.

Still, I’d take Wentz over Goff any day of the week. Goff comes off as so milquetoast to me. He’s not a quarterback that you feel afraid to face. And while he’s played in playoff games, unlike Wentz, he hasn’t played well by any means: 55% completion, 6.4 yards per attempt, 2 TD, 2 INT, 73.6 passer rating, 2 fumbles.

It doesn’t sound like the Rams are rushing to pay Goff. If that’s the case, he’s definitely going to make more than Wentz if he doesn’t get paid until next year or so.

To sum things up: the Cowboys and Rams are probably going to pay even more money to quarterbacks who aren’t as good as Wentz. Quarterbacks who, unlike Wentz, have not helped their team win a Super Bowl.

5 - The Eagles did not overpay Carson Wentz.

$128 million over four years is obviously a lot of money. Wentz’s annual average value of $32 million ranks fourth among NFL players; only Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers make more than him each year. Wentz’s $107.9 million guaranteed actually marks an NFL record.

But that’s just accounting for the new money in Wentz’s deal. If you factor Wentz’s preexisting 2019 and 2020 years, he’s set to average “only” $25.8 million per year. For context, that currently ranks eighth among NFL quarterbacks. And that’s before guys like Prescott, Goff, etc. potentially get paid even more.

Wentz’s contract is actually a bargain.

6 - Carson Wentz is really good and the Eagles would not have won a Super Bowl without him.

Wentz obviously didn’t play in the Super Bowl. He’s never even played a playoff game. That’s something he needs to fix moving forward.

But the reality is the Eagles wouldn’t have won a Super Bowl if he didn’t leave the team in such great position prior to his ACL injury in 2017. All Nick Foles had to do was beat the lowly Giants and Raiders to lock up the No. 1 seed in the NFC. From there, Foles lit it up in the playoffs en route to the team’s first Vince Lombardi trophy. This isn’t to take away from Foles.

Rather, it’s about giving Wentz his due. And it’s about acknowledging that he HAS proven he can help the Eagles be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. He’s proven he can be an MVP quality talent.

Again, Wentz still needs to prove he can actually seal the deal and deliver a Super Bowl win himself. That’s no small task. But we know he can at least get them in position to make a strong playoff run. That’s a player worth betting on.

Still not convinced? Please take a close look at all of this:

7 - No, the Eagles shouldn’t have kept Nick Foles.

“The Eagles should’ve paid Foles instead of Wentz!” is a take that exists.

It’s a bad take.

Foles will always be a legend in Philly. But he wasn’t the right answer for the Eagles. Wentz is the superior player. Via Pro Football Reference:

It wouldn’t have been wise for the Eagles to jettison a young quarterback with MVP potential in favor of a 30-year-old passer who still hasn’t ever played a 16-game season.

Even if the Eagles did make a mistake — which they didn’t — Foles is gone. He’s with the Jacksonville Jaguars now. If you still want to root him on, that’s great. More power to you.

But Wentz is the future of the Eagles and rightfully so.

8 - Carson Wentz’s injury history is a legitimate concern.

Duh.

A broken wrist in 2015, a hairline rib fracture in 2016, ACL/LCL tears in 2017, and a fractured back in 2018.

There’s no sugar-coating it: Wentz MUST stay healthy moving forward. With Foles gone, the Eagles are likely screwed if he gets seriously injured. I’m sure the Eagles emphasized this message to him as they offered up $128 million.

To his credit, Wentz is trying to focus on what he can control. He said he’s improved his diet. He’s worked on different training techniques.

Wentz has looked pretty healthy and sharp during OTAs so he’s off to a good start. The real challenge, of course, will be staying healthy when the real games start.

9 - Carson Wentz is someone worth betting ON — not against.

It’s this thinking that prompted the Eagles to pay a hefty price to trade up and select him at No. 2 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Eagles didn’t draft Wentz because they thought he was some kind of flawless prospect. Those players don’t really exist.

Rather, the Eagles drafted him because they believed he was a special talent with sharp mental acumen who would work relentlessly to improve upon his weaknesses.

Wentz has made a habit of proving people wrong. In college, Wentz had to bide his time behind non-NFL talent Brock Jensen before eventually quarterbacking North Dakota State to a Division I FCS title. A lot of people criticized the Eagles’ decision to trade up for Wentz but then he got off to a hot start in 2016. Wentz then went through some rookie struggles, which caused people to majorly doubt him in 2017. Wentz made his doubters look foolish by nearly winning MVP.

Now Wentz is back in a position where people are doubting him once again. There are people who say he’s too injury prone. He’s not clutch. He should’ve been replaced by Foles. Etc.

It feels like those people haven’t been paying attention. There’s ample reason to believe Wentz is going to bounce back in a big way in 2019. He’s healthy and has a full offseason to prep for the upcoming campaign, unlike last year. He has a strong supporting cast around him when it comes to coaching, offensive line, skill players, etc.

There’s certainly no guarantee Wentz will be as great as Eagles fans are hoping he’ll be. But there is reason to have hope and bet on him. By signng Wentz to a long-term extension, We know the Eagles feel that way. And they’re a pretty smart bunch.