Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles officially moved on from Carson Wentz, the quarterback once thought to be the face of the team’s future. Wentz was sent to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 second-round pick. The latter of these draft picks will turn into a first-rounder should Wentz play 75% of snaps for the Colts this coming season (or just 70% of snaps provided the Colts make the playoffs).
Meanwhile, the Eagles franchise will still be charged $34 million for Wentz this coming season. This is record-setting as it is the largest dead money charge for any NFL team in the league’s history. Some financial context will illuminate just how detrimental this dead money charge is for the team. That $34 million constitutes roughly a fifth of the Eagles’ spending for the 2021 base salary cap and it’s all just to rid the team of Wentz. Sure, the Birds managed to score some future draft picks in the trade but that cap hit is unsavory no matter how you slice it.
Even so, I see this is a decidedly positive move for the Eagles. Wentz was already a sunk cost and the Eagles are displaying their willingness to quickly turn a new leaf rather than get bogged down in the sunk-cost fallacy. Their supreme mistake happened in the past, the moment they decided to invest in Wentz as their signal-caller for the future. That investment was unprecedented in team history. First, the team traded away five draft picks to move up and select him at #2 overall in the 2016 NFL draft. Next, they signed him to a four year contract with more than $100 million guaranteed.
Now, Carson Wentz is finally off the team’s books. Fans should view this news with relief as to say his play last season was horrendous is actually an understatement. He led the NFL in both sacks and interceptions while ranking near the very bottom of important categories like passer rating, yards per throws, and completion percentage.
Jalen Hurts, Wentz’s replacement down the stretch of last season, projects to be the team’s starter moving forward. However, don’t put it past the Eagles to select yet another quarterback in this year’s draft as their GM Howie Roseman has previously expressed his desire for the franchise to be “a quarterback factory”. As a result of some shameless tanking orchestrated by the since-fired Doug Pederson, the Eagles have the sixth pick in a draft that’s widely considered to contain four top quarterback prospects. The Birds may have a choice to make between a promising young quarterback and a blue-chipper at a different position. If they genuinely believe in Hurts’ future ability then I wouldn’t waste another pick on a quarterback. But if the team isn’t sold on Hurts then they very well may take their chances.