Sources close to the Philadelphia Eagles have told ESPN that Carson Wentz is “not interested” in a backup role. This information all but spells out that Wentz would seek a trade out of Philadelphia in order to be a starter again.
Wentz has significantly declined in 2020. He has thrown 16 touchdowns to 15 interceptions and has been sacked 50 times. His interceptions and sacks lead the entire NFL. Starting in his stead has been Jalen Hurts, who upset the New Orleans Saints in Week 14 and gave the Arizona Cardinals a scare on Sunday.
With Hurts playing so well, the starting job seems to be his to lose. This means Wentz and his $128 million contract will have to find a new home. Here are four potential landing spots for Carson Wentz.
Phillip Rivers was never going to be the long term solution in Indianapolis. The (now) 39-year-old was signed on a one year deal to be the 2020 starter, which made it clear any future deals would be dependent on his performance and willingness to suit back up.
While Rivers has performed well behind one of the elite offensive lines in the league, the Colts need more than a year-to-year rental at the quarterback position. That is where Carson Wentz can step in.
Not only can the Colts’ excellent line fix some of Wentz’s sack woes, but it may help him cut down on the interceptions as well. More time in the pocket inevitably leads to more comfortable throws and better decisions.
The most intriguing reason to bring Wentz to Indianapolis, though, is head coach Frank Reich. Wentz was on his way to an MVP season in 2017 before he tore his ACL. His offensive coordinator that year was Reich. Of course, Reich and the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl that season with Nick Foles filling in.
Wentz has not quite been the same since parting ways with his old coordinator. Pairing them back up with that excellent offensive line and solid running game will make them instant Super Bowl contenders. If his regression is not permanent, that is.
Matthew Stafford’s time in Detroit is likely over. The Lions have an option to move on from him after the 2020 season, although it would cost them almost $25 million in cap space. Stafford will be 33 after the season ends, and is often injured (even if he does not miss much time due to injury). He is easily the best quarterback in Lions history, though, which makes this decision tough.
Eating the dead cap and taking on Wentz’s massive salary is a bit of a hard sell. But the upside here is an injection of youth and new blood for whoever their next coach may be. Detroit’s receiver core is an instant upgrade from Philadelphia’s, but the offensive line is not as dramatic a step up.
It is not quite a lateral move, but there are factors that make it a gamble. Either way, the Lions may need a replacement for Stafford, so a quarterback that needs a fresh start makes sense for a team that needs the same thing.
San Francisco 49ers
In 2020, the 49ers went from NFC Champions to likely missing the playoffs. This precipitous drop is partly due to Jimmy Garappolo’s inability to stay healthy. San Francisco has a quarterback that is reckless with his body as well as the football.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan is a brilliant offensive mind that deserves a quarterback talent to match. Garappolo has not been that, to say the least. Wentz, however, very well could. His ceiling is seemingly miles higher than Jimmy G’s, even as they both have injury questions hovering over them.
San Francisco’s offensive line is Super Bowl-caliber (as evidenced by the 2019 season). Their running game can take the ball out of Wentz’s hands if the yips start to creep in. Their defense will make sure Shanahan does not often need to ask for miracles. The more thought is put into this trade, the more it makes sense, as long as the 49ers can afford it, that is.
New England Patriots
Perennially in trade talks for any seemingly discarded player, the New England Patriots may have an opening for Wentz next season.
Cam Newton, like Rivers with the Colts, was signed on a one-year “prove it” type of deal. Unfortunately, Newton has not impressed in a Patriots uniform. He has thrown twice as many interceptions as touchdowns (5-10, TD-INT) and has been sacked 26 times. The only bright spot in his game has been a resurgence of his running style, rushing for 489 yards and 11 touchdowns.
In short, Newton does not look good, but some of the blame must go to the Patriots’ lack of receiving personnel and uncomplimentary offensive system. The team had to go from a statue of a quarterback in Tom Brady, to one of the most prolific rushing quarterbacks ever. They did not stick the landing.
Wentz can bridge the gap in New England. He can still throw the ball, even if he makes mistakes. Plus, he can run if and when he needs to. He has also made the playoffs with ridiculously below average receivers with the Eagles in 2019, which should intrigue the Patriots.
2021 will be a small reboot for New England as players will return from their opt-outs, the offensive line will return to form and the hope of a bright new rookie class will come in ready to play for Belichick. Wentz could help return that team to the playoffs, after the Patriots have officially missed them for the first time since 2009.
Featured Image courtesy of Clem Murray/Philly Inquirer
“From Our Haus to Yours“