When the Philadelphia Eagles made Carson Wentz one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL, it seemed like a smart investment. After all, the team had already traded valuable draft capital in order to move up to select the former small-school star back in 2016.
But even after devoting ample resources to acquire and retain Wentz, the Eagles can no longer afford to ignore the $128 million problem they created. Because based on his play this season, he no longer deserves to be the Eagles’ starting quarterback.
Carson Wentz signed a lucrative contract extension in 2019
After an up-and-down rookie season, Carson Wentz put together an MVP-caliber campaign in his second year in the NFL. However, he tore his ACL in a Week 14 win against the Los Angeles Rams. The Eagles ended up winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history thanks to Nick Foles.
Still, that did not change Wentz’s job status. After rehabbing his way back to full health, he resumed starting duties and put up big numbers before the injury bug bit him again. The former North Dakota State star finished the year on injured reserve due to a back problem.
Despite suffering season-ending injuries in two of his first three years in the league, Wentz received a monster raise last offseason. On June 6, 2019, the Eagles handed him a four-year, $128 million contract extension that included about $66 million guaranteed at signing.
Although he played all 16 games during the regular season, his completion percentage dropped from 69.6 to 63.9. He averaged just 6.7 yards per attempt and committed 16 fumbles while leading the Eagles to a 9-7 record and a playoff berth.
And for the third straight year, Wentz watched his season end via injury. A helmet-to-helmet hit from Jadeveon Clowney resulted in a concussion. The highly-paid quarterback played just nine snaps in his postseason debut.
The struggles continue for Philadelphia’s starting quarterback
As fate would have it, Carson Wentz has been just about the only member of Philadelphia’s offense who has managed to stay healthy this season. Unfortunately for Eagles fans, the fifth-year pro is in the midst of the worst campaign of his career.
Through 10 games, Wentz leads the NFL with 14 interceptions. In fact, he started the season by throwing two interceptions in four of his first five games.
On Sunday, he threw two more, including a pick-six to Cleveland Browns linebacker Sione Takitaki. The Eagles lost by five points to drop their record to 3-6-1.
Wentz has also struggled with his accuracy. His 58.4% completion percentage would easily be the lowest mark of his career. He’s also thrown just 14 touchdowns after averaging about 24 per year from 2016-2019.
The Eagles can no longer ignore the $128 million problem they created
In his age-27 season, Carson Wentz has taken a sizable step back. And in order to move forward as an offense and as an organization, the Eagles can no longer afford to ignore the $128 million problem they created.
Because if Doug Pederson and the rest of Philadelphia’s decision-making brass takes a long, hard look in the mirror, it’s abundantly clear that Wentz does not give the team the best chance to win.
But will that lead to a change at quarterback?
On one hand, it’s impossible to ignore the financial ramifications of benching Wentz. He carries an $18.6 million cap hit this season and a whopping $34.6 million cap hit in 2021. So if he does get relegated to backup duties, Philadelphia will be burning through an obscene amount of cash. However, the Eagles can potentially get out of his deal after next season if they’re willing to absorb a $24.5 million dead-cap hit in 2022.
On the other hand, Philadelphia shouldn’t let money get in the way of making the right call at the most important position in football. While Wentz will cost a ton no matter if he starts or sits, Jalen Hurts balances out that equation with his cheap rookie deal.
The dual-threat quarterback signed a four-year, $6 million contract after the Eagles drafted him with the 53rd overall pick back in April. Even though it would sting to pay Wentz big money to ride the bench for the next year and a half, it seems inconceivable that Philadelphia devoted a second-round pick on a quarterback to solely be a gadget player.
At this point, the Eagles need to see if Hurts can play quarterback at the NFL level. If he succeeds as a starter down the stretch, they can build their offense around his strengths. And if he flops, it can’t be much of a downgrade from what Wentz has provided so far.