Why Eagles shouldn't wait too long to trade Carson Wentz


We’ve almost reached the end of the week and Carson Wentz is still an Eagle.

That’s somewhat surprising given the flurry of reports we saw around a possible imminent trade of Wentz earlier in the week. Things either cooled off or they were never as hot as we were led to believe.

In any case, it still seems likely that Wentz will be traded at some point.

And it would be in the Eagles’ best interest to do it relatively quickly.

It’s obvious that Howie Roseman hasn’t yet gotten an offer he feels is acceptable for Wentz because he hasn’t pulled the trigger. Maybe you’re thinking if Roseman doesn’t get that offer that it wouldn’t be the worst idea for him to simply hold on to Wentz as long as it takes to maximize his value. I get that.

But I also think it’s a bad idea.

Recently on the Eagle Eye podcast, we tossed around the idea of a scenario in which the Eagles hold on to Wentz into training camp if they don’t get the compensation they desire. And earlier this week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport was a guest on the Jon Marks & Ike Reese show on 94WIP and brought up the same thing.

“Because why not?” Rapoport said. “One thing I know about Howie Roseman is he is a great businessman as far as understanding value so he is not going to do anything to give up the value he has, which is having Carson Wentz be there and be a good quarterback. Life actually gets better for the Eagles if Carson Wentz actually goes to training camp and plays well. The market increases.”

Rapoport made it clear that he still thinks Wentz will be traded but walked through a scenario in which Wentz goes to training camp and is forced to compete with Jalen Hurts for the starting quarterback job. I guess it’s possible, but it would be a really bad idea.

Several years ago, the Eagles ended up being extremely opportunistic and traded Sam Bradford just a week before the season when Teddy Bridgewater went down in Minnesota. It got them a 1st-round pick. So, in theory, I understand waiting ... I just don’t think it works in this situation. The Eagles have gone too far to turn back now. I’ve used the phrase a few times in the last week, but you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.

It’s clear that Wentz would prefer to leave the Eagles — multiple league sources have confirmed as much to NBC Sports Philadelphia this week — and when the franchise quarterback wants out, you pretty much have to grant that request. If this wasn’t a fixable situation before, a week of public trade rumors and reports won’t make it so. The Eagles need to pull off the Band-Aid and move forward as an organization.

Aside from the $10 million roster bonus due Wentz on the third day of the new league year (March 19), there are plenty of other reasons to trade Wentz before the Eagles get to training camp this summer:

1. Rapoport doesn’t think the Eagles will lose leverage if one of the teams in on Wentz — say, the Colts — move on and get their quarterback elsewhere. His theory is that if the Bears want to land a starting quarterback, they’re still going to have to pay a relatively high price anyway. I suppose you can look at it two different ways. On one hand, if some other quarterbacks start to move, it might make a team panic and overpay for Wentz. But on the other, I can’t imagine it helps the Eagles’ leverage if — just an example — the Colts trade for Sam Darnold. There have been two teams atop the landing spot list for Wentz and if one of them is crossed off, how can that possibly help the Eagles?

This would be a gamble. The Eagles could hope a player like Darnold or Marcus Mariota brings back decent value to set a precedent, but the opposite could happen and the Eagles could lose leverage by waiting. You have to weigh the gamble vs. the payoff. Maybe the Eagles can squeeze a little extra value out of Wentz, but at what cost?

2. The Eagles need to prepare for life after Wentz and, at least for now, that indicates Hurts will be the starting quarterback. The Eagles might take a look at this year’s draft crop, but they did use a 2nd-rounder on Hurts last year. If Hurts is the guy, it would be pretty unfair to bring back Wentz for an awkward summer in an attempt to maximize his trade value. That doesn’t seem like it would make for a very healthy locker room dynamic.

It also wouldn’t help maximize Hurts. If we get through the draft and the Eagles don’t take a quarterback, Hurts should know he’s the guy. He shouldn’t spend his second offseason preparing to battle a quarterback the organization has already shown it wants to trade. Instead, Hurts should get to act like the guy. He should be able to organize workouts with his receivers and not worry about the leadership dynamic in the locker room. If he’s the guy, let him be the guy.

And how would a competition in training camp even work? Wentz and Hurts are two very different quarterbacks and the offense with either of them would be significantly different. Not to mention, a huge part of Hurts’ game is his ability to run and use his legs to create, which is pretty hard to simulate in practices.

One more thing: Let’s say this plan works (no guarantee it does), Wentz and Hurts compete for the job this summer and then a team suffers an injury and is desperate enough to give up a haul for Wentz. Then the Eagles will have wasted an opportunity to give Hurts all the first-team reps for however long it took for that injury to occur. For a second-year player, those reps are valuable.

3. We have to think about new head coach Nick Sirianni too. Because it’s clear that this Wentz situation is hovering over the entire organization. Aside from the media circus that would follow a camp competition, it would also put Sirianni in a tough spot, asking him to navigate tricky waters within his first few months on the job. As a head coach, he ought to be up for that challenge, but it doesn’t mean it’ll be any easier.

We’ve also heard so much about how Sirianni wants to tailor his offense to his players. That obviously starts with the quarterback. And, like we mentioned, Wentz and Hurts are very different players and the offense would likely look very different depending on who the starting quarterback is. Why not give Sirianni as much time as possible to focus on creating an offense around Hurts instead of worrying about creating two separate offenses? Maybe the Eagles don’t expect to be very good this season, so they don’t think it’ll matter. But that’s now how Sirianni or Hurts will view the situation. They will want to win right now and getting some answers to the QB situation would give them the best shot.

Look, in a perfect world, the best-case scenario would be that the Eagles keep Wentz, fix him and live together happily ever after. But that seems unrealistic based on what we’ve seen in recent weeks and, heck, in recent months.

It looks like Wentz is ready to move on. It looks like the Eagles are ready to move on. If both things are true, then is it really worth it to squabble over draft compensation?

That’s not to say the Eagles should rush into a bad trade, but they shouldn’t draw this out forever either.

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