Photo courtesy of Mitchell Leff of Getty Images
“Wentzsylvania” is no more. The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to trade 2016 2nd overall pick Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 3rd round pick and a conditional 2022 2nd round pick that could turn into a 1st rounder. The move finally puts an end to his fall from grace in the City of Brotherly Love. Wentz started all 16 games as a rookie in 2016, ending the year with a 7-9 record and 16 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. He seemed primed for stardom in 2017, going 11-2 with 33 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions before an ACL tear suffered against the Rams diving for the goal line cost him his season. That year, Nick Foles led the Eagles on a magical postseason run that culminated in Philly’s first ever Super Bowl Championship. Wentz was the guy agin in 2018 until another injury opened the door for Foles who improbably led the Eagles to the Playoffs before bolting to the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency. Wentz played all 16 games once again in 2019, and led the Eagles to the playoffs once again, this time with 27 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. The Eagles rewarded him by...drafting University of Oklahoma star quarterback and Heisman finalist Jalen Hurts in the second round. While the Eagles publicly claimed Wentz had their full support, their actions (and common sense) said differently. Rather than showing the Eagles they wasted such a premium pick, Wentz proved their investment wise when he was benched after a 3-8-1 start that saw him throw 16 touchdowns and a league leading 15 interceptions. Worse yet, per Pro Football Focus, 10 of those interceptions came when Wentz had a clean pocket. Wentz also set a career low with a 57.4% completion percentage. After Wentz was benched, Hurts himself struggled, going 1-3 with 6 touchdowns versus 4 interceptions and a completion percentage of only 52%.
While Wentz’s career certainly has not been on a good trajectory for some time now, there is an x-factor in Indianapolis that could turn his career around and make this a steal for the Colts. Reich was the Offensive Coordinator in Philadelphia who drafted Wentz in 2016, and was there in 2017 for his near MVP season. Reich, now the Colts’ head coach, brings Wentz aboard once again to solve his team’s quarterback woes. Wentz will join a team that truly has full confidence in him with a coach and system that he knows. He will get the added benefit of playing behind a much better offensive line in Indy, a line that only allowed Philip Rivers to be sacked 19 teams (Wentz was sacked a league high 50 times in just 12 games last year). Whether the Colts resign TY Hilton or not, the receiving core in Indy figures to be better than what Wentz has had in Philly the last few years when he was often throwing to practice squad players. Add in the added mobility of Wentz over Rivers, and this move could pay huge dividends for the Colts as they look to fill the Andrew Luck sized void that still looms under center.
This trade kicks off what figures to be a very busy offseason for the Eagles. Per Over the Cap, trading Wentz will free up less than $1 million in cap space for a team currently projected to be more than $47 million over the salary cap. Other moves are inevitable, and the first order of business could very well be trading TE Zach Ertz. But, to get out from under Carson Wentz’s contract without giving up any premium draft picks to entice the Colts (see: Goff, Jared), is a good start for the Eagles. They can now focus on rebuilding around Jalen Hurts while trading veterans and stockpiling draft picks to fill their many roster holes inexpensively. But, after spending the last few weeks saying they were seeking a Stafford like return, this is not a good like for Howie Roseman and Co.
While it was time for Wentzylvania to end, this trade could hurt a lot in Philly if Wentz and Reich can turn back the clock to 2017.