With Les Bowen hearing that a Carson Wentz trade is “close” to happening, let’s take a look at where the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback might end up.
On the surface, this is the most logical landing spot for Wentz.
With Philip Rivers retiring and Jacoby Brissett set to be a free agent, the only Colts quarterbacks under contract for 2021 are ... Jacob Eason (2020 fourth-round pick) and Jalen Morton (2020 UDFA signing). In other words, the Colts badly need a new QB.
Wentz’s connection to the Colts is obvious. Former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich and former Eagles quarterbacks coach Press Taylor are now both in Indy. Wentz reportedly has interest in reuniting with Reich.
But is that interest mutual? Jeff McLane previously raised that question:
“I’m not sure Frank would take him,” a source familiar with Reich’s thinking said.”
Based on what I’ve heard independent of this, I’m also not so sure that Reich is dying to get Wentz.
Mike Garafolo did recently say that the Eagles “have had conversations” with the Colts but he also talked about how they could be reluctant to part with draft capital.
Based on this, I’m reluctant to assume the Colts are willing to surrender their first-round pick at No. 21 overall to get Wentz. Maybe a Day 2 pick plus something else, if anything.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Jon Gruden seemed pretty smitten with Wentz back when the quarterback came in for Gruden’s QB Camp segment that used to be on ESPN. Back in 2017, Gruden told high school football players that Wentz is the quarterback that they should emulate.
Former Eagles preseason color analyst and Philly native Mike Mayock, now the Raiders’ general manager, has also previously spoken highly of Wentz. Mayock ranked Wentz as the No. 1 overall prospect — not just quarterback — in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Raiders have Derek Carr under contract through 2022 but they can trade him this offseason to clear over $19.6 million in cap space. Carr had the NFL’s ninth-highest passer rating last year but the Raiders have only gone 19-29 with him as their starter under Gruden. Wentz (turns 29 in December) is a little younger than Carr (turns 30 in March) and the Raiders might think he has a higher ceiling.
The Eagles would probably prefer to trade Wentz to the AFC if they can.
Mitchell Trubisky is going to be a free agent. He had a good stretch late in the regular season but Chicago will (or, at least, SHOULD) be wary of buying in to fool’s gold. Nick Foles is still under contract but he struggled (80.8) after taking over as a starter.
And so maybe the Bears, who reportedly called about Stafford, will be in on Wentz. John Kincade said on Wednesday that he heard the Bears are a team to watch.
John DeFilippo, who played a part in Wentz’s near-MVP level success in 2017, is the quarterbacks coach in Chicago. The Bears might think they have an inside track to fixing this broken quarterback.
That being said, I can’t see Wentz wanting to enter a dynamic where he could potentially get upstaged by Foles again. So ... maybe the Bears trade Foles back to Philly in a package for Wentz? I’m sure some wouldn’t mind seeing that happen.
The Panthers were reportedly in on Stafford and it’s not hard to understand why. Teddy Bridgewater is a capable “bridge” quarterback but he’s not a serious long-term answer. Matt Rhule is looking for an upgrade heading into Year 2.
Carolina has some lesser obvious ties to Wentz. The Panthers hired former Eagles national scout Pat Stewart to be their director of player personnel back in May last year. The Panthers also previously hired former Eagles analyst Taylor Rajack in 2019 to be Carolina’s first-ever director of football analytics.
Reports indicate the Panthers were willing to part with the No. 8 overall pick this year to acquire Stafford. I don’t see them being so willing to move that selection for Wentz. But they could certainly come calling.
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
Washington is the right quarterback away from being a team that can win double-digit games. Their current situation isn’t very uninspiring. Taylor Heinicke did some nice things in his playoff start, sure, but how much can Washington really bank on the former XFL backup? Alex Smith isn’t the same athlete after his injury and he turns 37 in May. Kyle Allen is not a viable long-term starter as much as he might be an acceptable backup.
The Football Team should be aggressive about finding a quarterback because they have some good pieces in place on both sides of the ball. But I don’t think the Eagles are going to be willing to reprise the Donovan McNabb trade and move Wentz within the division. Unless they just think he’s totally cooked at this point.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Many thought it was a stroke of genius for the Pats to sign Cam Newton on the cheap last year. While it was a low-risk maneuver, he ultimately finished the season with more interceptions (10) than passing touchdowns (8) and an 82.9 passer rating. Needless to say, counting on Newton in 2021 doesn’t seem like a great option for the Pats.
Could the Pats come calling for Wentz? Maybe Josh McDaniels’ interest in the Eagles head coach opening indicates that he’d want to work with him? It’s hard to imagine Wentz would be thrilled about the tough coaching he’d receive at his new landing spot ... but it’s not exactly up to Wentz where he gets traded.
Drew Lock is 8-10 as a starter with a 79.1 passer rating. I can’t see how Vic Fangio is comfortable with merely riding into the season with him when he probably needs to win this year to ensure his job security.
The Broncos reportedly offered No. 9 overall this year and Lock in exchange for Stafford. Again, I have a hard time assuming the Eagles will be able to get an identical offer. I do think Denver could be in play, though.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
The 49ers seemingly weren’t willing to give up a strong package for Stafford but they would give up enough to get Wentz? I don’t see it. I do think the 49ers would like to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo but not by replacing him with Wentz. Kirk Cousins is the most logical target for San Fran.
Let’s be clear: I didn’t include this one to say that the Eagles are trading Wentz for Deshaun Watson. That’s just not happening. There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that Watson is waiving his no-trade clause to come to the Eagles of all places. The assumption here is that Watson gets moved elsewhere and the Texans find themselves in need of a new starting quarterback.
Houston currently lacks a first-round pick and a second-round pick this year but they’ll be able to replenish their stock after moving Watson. Maybe they move one of those picks to get Wentz. New Texans head coach David Culley, who turns 66 this year, seems more inclined to be in “win-now” mode as opposed to tearing it down and building around a rookie quarterback.
NEW YORK JETS
The Jets obviously employ former Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas as their general manager. It’s worth noting he wasn’t part of Philly’s front office for the 2016 NFL Draft, so it’s not like he was part of the effort to draft Wentz. But, after seeing his success up close, maybe Douglas prefers him to taking a quarterback at No. 2 overall in this year’s draft. And maybe Douglas thinks Robert Saleh’s no-nonsense approach will be good for Wentz. The Jets have the third-most cap space in the NFL this offseason.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The Saints are currently $101.7 million OVER the cap in 2021 so I don’t know how they’re affording Wentz. And they currently only have four selections in this year’s draft. But the Saints need a quarterback with Drew Brees retiring. Taysom Hill isn’t a real long-term starter. Sean Payton seems to want Jameis Winston back but relying on him is a dicey proposition. Then again, Payton previously saw Wentz as a weakness. Not counting on this one to happen.
Which team will trade for Carson Wentz?
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