The Indianapolis Colts emphatically announced to the NFL world that their quarterback situation for 2021 is taken care of, as they traded a third-round pick and conditional second-rounder to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for former No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz. The move reunites Wentz with former Eagles OC and Colts head coach Frank Reich.
While Wentz was one of the league’s most promising quarterbacks under Reich, and he carried the Eagles to the postseason in 2018 and 2019, a 2020 season that saw him lead the league in interceptions despite only starting 12 games all but ruined his value, and Indy got him for a major discount.
While Chris Ballard getting aggressive and picking his guy at quarterback is certainly one of the main takeaways from this deal, the other phenomenon worth observing is how much the Eagles are suffering for putting all of their chips in the center of the Wentz table.
After trading five draft picks to move from the No. 15 pick in the draft to No. 2 in order to select the former North Dakota State star, the Eagles invested $128 million into him. Just a few years later, the Eagles were willing to take a $33 million dead cap hit — the largest in NFL history — just to make sure they could get rid of him.
Can the Colts rebuild Carson Wentz?
Wentz was awful last season, but poor schematics from Doug Pederson, a lack of talent at wide receiver, and an offensive line that seemed to start a different combination of blockers every week likely all contributed to his downfall. Given how Philly looks destined for a complete rebuild, the fact that they ruined a former MVP candidate is heartbreaking.
The Eagles not only doled out a huge contract for Wentz, but they let Sam Bradford and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles go in order to make Wentz the face of their franchise, A few years later, the Eagles were so trapped by Wentz’s contract that he will actually cost Philadelphia more than Indianapolis in terms of his cap hit.
With the No. 6 pick in the draft, minimal cap space, and a division that promises to be much deeper next season, the Eagles are likely in for a very rough 2021, and that all falls on the poor play of Wentz and how the franchise handled that regression.
While the Eagles didn’t have a ton of leverage and had to move Wentz to kick-start their new era, the fact that he is even on the market at 28 years old speaks to how badly Philadelphia messed up his development. If there is anyone that can whip him back into shape, it’s a master play-caller like Reich.