Two weeks after we first heard a Carson Wentz trade was “close” to happening, it’s finally here.
The Philadelphia Eagles are trading Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick (No. 85) and a conditional 2022 second-round pick that can potentially turn in a first-round selection, according to a report from NFL insider Adam Schefter.
Mike Garafolo notes there are two conditions for the 2022 second-round pick to turn into a first-round selection:
1) Wentz plays 75% of the Colts’ snaps in 2021.
2) Wentz plays 70% of the Colts’ snaps in 2021 AND the Colts make the playoffs.
So, barring Wentz getting severely injured or struggling to the point where he’s benched again, the Eagles should be getting an upgraded pick.
The return in this trade is obviously well below the Eagles’ reported asking price of two first-round picks. But a deal like that was never realistically going to happen with Wentz drawing limited interest around the league after arguably playing like the worst starting quarterback in the NFL last season.
Wentz getting traded to the Colts was looking increasingly inevitable. He clearly wasn’t happy in Philly after losing faith in the organization. And the Chicago Bears seemed reluctant to acquire him with Wentz preferring to play in Indy.
While it’s certainly not a shock to see that Wentz is gone given the lead-up to this moment, it’s still pretty crazy to think we actually reached this point. Wentz was supposed to be the Eagles’ franchise quarterback for years to come. The team invested so much in him between the trade up to No. 2 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft and the $128 million contract extension they signed him to during the 2019 offseason.
And now he’s just ... gone.
Alongside the biggest dead cap number in NFL history by a big margin at $33.8 million.
The legacy Wentz leaves behind Philly is a complicated one. On one hand, he absolutely played a key part in the Eagles winning Super Bowl LII. His near-MVP caliber season had the team in a great position to get the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC after his season-ending ACL injury.
On the other hand, Wentz never reached the same heights he did that season. He’s played a significant part in the Eagles’ regression since lifting their first Vince Lombardi Trophy. The Eagles undoubtedly failed him in some respects but he also failed the Eagles by not properly taking to hard coaching to fix his flaws.
Regardless of who’s to blame, what’s done is done.
Looking to the future, the Eagles clear $852,928 in cap space this year by trading Wentz. That’s not much, but the Eagles trading him now (ahead of the March 19 deadline) means they avoid having to pay both his $10 million roster bonus for 2021 and $15 million of fully guaranteed salary for 2022.
How the Eagles replace Wentz under center remains to be seen. Jalen Hurts is currently their only quarterback under contract for 2021 with Nate Sudfeld set to be a free agent. Hurts showed some potential down the stretch in 2020 but is hardly a sure-fire long-term answer. At least one NFL executive expects the Eagles to select a quarterback high in the 2021 NFL Draft.
It’ll be very interesting to see how Wentz fares moving forward. Maybe Frank Reich helps him get back to form. Or maybe he struggles and the Eagles look smart for moving on when they did.
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