It’s not every day that an NFL team signs a 26-year-old quarterback to a $100+ million extension to draft another quarterback in the 2nd round less than a year later. However, that is exactly what the Philadelphia Eagles did. On June 16th, 2019, the Eagles signed Carson Wentz to a four year $128 million contract extension that included $66 million in guaranteed money. That deal is set to run through 2024. On April 24th, 2020, the Eagles selected Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts with the 53rd pick in the 2nd round. That pick stunned everyone since Wentz just led the Eagles to the playoffs a few months before.
Since the day he was drafted, there have been numerous reports surrounding Jalen Hurts and why he was drafted. The talk of him being a Taysom Hill-type player, a long term backup, and a potential trade piece were all discussed and are still mentioned. While Doug Pederson has gotten him involved in the offense, I think we can agree that he was not drafted just to be a gadget backup quarterback. That’s a 2nd round pick, a pick you hope to land a starter at. If they wanted a pure gadget QB, there were other options, but they wanted Jalen Hurts because of his abilities at quarterback. When Howie Roseman mentioned how missing out on Russell Wilson in 2012 played a part in the team taking Hurts, we should have known there was more than meets the eye with the pick.
As of writing this, the Eagles just beat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. They now sit at 3-4-1 and 2-1 in the division going into their bye week. However, Carson Wentz is struggling. Through eight games Wentz has 12 interceptions, 4 fumbles, and a completion percentage under 60. That’s unacceptable. The Eagles hope he can get out of this rut, but it does not seem like the Carson Wentz from 2017 is coming back anytime soon. I don’t think we have seen Wentz struggle like this since his rookie season in 2016. There’s time for him to get back to normal, but he has to quickly.
So what about the future? Even if the Eagles make the playoffs this season, they are in some trouble. They’ve gotten worse every year since 2017, they have not been able to effectively draft and develop young talent, they have one of the worst salary cap situations in the league, and the top guys in charge are in question. The team is on the verge of a rebuild with or without Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson. I would say the Eagles currently are on a two-year timeline after this season.
The Eagles have to turn this thing around before the 2023 season, if not sooner. It’s hard to say how safe Roseman and Pederson are, but let’s assume they return in 2021. Carson Wentz is bound to return in 2021 as well. After that? It might be fair game to blow it all up. The Eagles can’t really get out of Wentz’s contract until after 2022 if they want to save any money, but they could earlier if they are absolutely ready to move on.
I have always been a Carson Wentz supporter, but I am confident that he will eventually be replaced by Jalen Hurts at some point. Any time this season? No. Next season? Maybe. After that? I would say it’s fair game.
The Eagles are stuck in an organizational limbo. Change might be needed very soon at many different spots. That includes General Manager, Head Coach, and Quarterback.