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It is debatable if the Eagles should bench Carson Wentz right now. He currently leads the NFL in fumbles and interceptions. The Eagles even drafted his possible replacement in QB Jalen Hurts, in the second round in this year’s draft. Wentz has severely regressed from the MVP talent we once saw. He doesn’t even look like the same player we fell in love with in 2017.
The team is currently 3-6-1 and appear to be in a freefall, largely due to his performance. Many fans have given up on Wentz and believe it is time to move on.
Despite all of this, Carson Wentz cannot be benched. Let’s look at the reasons why Wentz must remain the starter for now.
Jalen Hurts is not ready: Doug Pederson stated "I think you are sending the wrong message to your football team that the season is over. That is a bad message," Pederson stated after Sunday's loss when asked about benching Wentz. In other words, Doug is telling us he doesn’t believe Jalen Hurts is ready to start in the NFL yet. Pederson and the coaching staff know better than any of us where Hurts is in his development.
If he believed Hurts was ready, then replacing a quarterback who is currently 27th in ESPN’s QBR, 31st in Passer Rating, and 1st in interceptions, would not be seen as giving up on the season. Hurts clearly has not shown enough in practice to prove to be any better than Wentz is right now.
The Eagles play Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers over the next two weeks, it would be unwise to throw a rookie QB with no experience, who has not proven to the coaching staff he is ready to start, into that type of fire.
Benching Wentz eliminates his chance to improve trade value: It is possible to move on from Wentz after this season and save cap room. If he were to traded prior to June 1st this upcoming offseason, Wentz’s cap hit would go from $34,673,536 to $33,820,608. That is a savings of $816,928 in cap space, per OTC.
Yes, that is still huge dead-money on the cap going into the 2021 season. But, if the organization has already decided Hurts is indeed the QB of the future, then it makes more sense to move off Wentz this offseason instead of making him a lame duck QB for 2021.
There is a chance that letting Wentz play through his struggles, will allow him to improve his play in the last 6 games of the season. He is still a viewed as a very talented QB among the league and a team such as the Colts would be interested in reviving his career. Improved play on film from Wentz over the end of this year will give such a team interested in trading for him more confidence that he could return to the potential he displayed prior to this season. This would help the Eagles to receive higher draft capital if they were to trade him after this season.
The Eagles have invested too much into Wentz to give up on him in 2020: Quite frankly, it is too early to give up on Wentz. He signed a four-year extension worth $128 million before the 2019 season. $107 million of that is guaranteed. It is more realistic the Eagles move off him after the 2021 season than trading him after this season.
With that reality, Wentz should remain the starter for the rest of this season. An immediate benching may leave the Eagles with more problems than they already have. It would be possible that Wentz goes into next season as the most expensive backup in NFL history. A trade is more unlikely if he finishes the year on the bench. Carson Wentz going into 2021 as a backup on the roster with that contract is a horrible situation for the Eagles to find themselves in.