Training camp is rapidly approaching for the Philadelphia Eagles and with it comes a whirlwind of speculation and excitement. From battles at cornerback to wide receiver, we’re heading into one of the most important training camps in recent Eagles history..but for some reason, the world is still stunned that Doug Pederson intends on deactivating Carson Wentz during his rookie season.
Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice published an article yesterday that sparked a surprising reaction among writers and fans alike. Doug Pederson was quoted in the article as saying the following:
…”It’s hard right now to look down the road, but if we had to play this week, Carson would be down. He’d be the third quarterback. He’d be deactivated. That’s probably the direction we’re heading, I would think is going that route. Obviously barring injury and, as you know, how this game is, but typically the third quarterback, whoever that is, is down on game day.”
The problem is that this shouldn’t be a story..yet it’s being reported on just about every major news outlet that covers the Eagles as if it’s some sort of groundbreaking headline. Some are even showing distaste at the Eagles decision to sit the second overall pick from this years draft.
"We traded up to the No. 2 pick for a QB. Better make him the 3rd-stringer until his age-25 season." #Eagles
— Scott Kacsmar (@ScottKacsmar) July 18, 2016
Newsflash: This was the plan all along.
Once the Eagles had traded up to the 13th overall pick in the Draft, we knew they had two options on the table regarding their quarterback. Either to examine their first round options and place all their bets on one of these guys becoming Andrew Luck out of the box..or, resign Sam Bradford after his infamous 7 game streak to a prove-it deal that see his agent content with a relatively large sum of money and the Eagles having a very capable and proven quarterback.
IF any of the realistically attainable quarterbacks in the draft were regarded as instant starters, the Eagles wouldn’t have felt the need to fork out $36M on Sam Bradford and a further $21M on Chase Daniel. Doug Pederson stated his intentions shortly after he took on the Head Coach role in Philadelphia. He wanted to groom a quarterback who can one day take over the reigns. From the likes of Kevin Hogan to Dak Prescott, there were many viable candidates..until the Eagles moved up to the second overall pick.
With the Rams leaning towards Jared Goff and the Eagles focusing on Wentz, they clearly knew what kind of quarterback they would be getting. It was well known before the draft that Wentz was a “raw talent”. His ceiling is incredibly high and he’s coming into a system that screams first class development. With former QB Doug Pederson teaching him all year long, Frank Reich helping to mold him into a starter and John DeFilippo mentoring him..Wentz is in a perfect situation to ready himself for the tenacious nature of the NFL.
Even more conveniently, Eliot Shorr-Parks reported today that owner Jeffery Lurie may have been the driving force behind the Sam Bradford negotiations after all. If this is true, it’s surprising considering how much authority has had during this offseason when it comes to player moves. The reasoning however is a little less surprising. Not many owners would will their team into a complete rebuild that could take at least a couple of seasons..(Cough Sixers) especially a team like the Eagles that have arguably the most passionate fanbase in the world. The desire for a championship and short-term success is one that will never not be present and Lurie recognizing the Eagles best chance for success is to keep Bradford at the helm was a smart thought process. If there was a quarterback ready to start in week 1 in this years draft class who was realistically attainable, would the owner of the Eagles who placed so much emphasis on accountability this offseason signed two quarterbacks for a combined total of $57M?
Instead, he gave the Eagles the best chance to succeed in the short-term while preparing them for the long-term future. In a QB market that is destined to escalate in the coming years, the Eagles have a much cheaper long-term option in Wentz..and by the time he has control of the Offense, should be even more exciting than what we see him as currently.
The decision to draft Wentz was a simple one. The quarterback market is set to become vicious in the next 2-3 years and there was no guarantee that the Eagles would be picking in a similar position or have the opportunity to trade up to the second overall pick. The quarterbacks of this years draft class may not be Andrew Luck..but they have all the potential and raw fundamentals to one day develop into a player of that caliber.
The Eagles created a very stable situation at quarterback, one that has a solid backup during a transitional period, a quarterback hungry for short-term success and their long-term future of the franchise. Obviously only two quarterbacks can dress and with Wentz being listed as QB3, he’s going to be most likely watching from the sidelines to start his rookie season.
This is where people have the problem however. That it’s almost unheard of a second overall draft pick to be sat on the sidelines during his rookie year. But the Eagles didn’t draft him to be an “impact player”. They didn’t draft him to start. The quarterback is the most important position on the team, you can’t rush someone who isn’t ready to start just yet. Think of it as buying a house you plan to renovate. You may fork out the cash up front, but you wouldn’t move in until the house looks like how you want it to, mould has been removed and the groggy interior has been repainted.
Then, there’s the training camp argument. Turron Davenport spoke on the debate recently and stated the following:
“If Wentz can outplay Daniel or Bradford during training camp, he should play. It’s as simple as that.””
I don’t think it is as simple as that however. Training camp is a very different beast from a 16 game regular season in which the bye-week happen to falls after just 3 games. If Carson Wentz absolutely obliterates the competition and puts in a training camp performance that would break social media, that’s great. But would the Eagles really let $57M worth of quarterback sit on the sidelines? Even worse, they NEED Sam Bradford to perform this year.
After the rollercoaster that Bradford captained post-draft, he realized his best option is to play lights-out this season and prove everybody wrong to earn the long-term contract he desires and the money his agent desires..be that in or away from Philadelphia. Trading Bradford after a successful campaign would likely see a lot of the assets given up for Wentz return to the city of Brotherly Love and a quarterback situation even more stable than before, with a spot for Pederson to potentially even groom his next backup.
Wentz is most likely going to see a lot of Pre-season action. After talking to a member of the Eagles organization who has requested anonymity, the plan is for Wentz to see just as many snaps as Daniel and Bradford. Although Wentz may even see slightly more action to begin with and then as pre-season comes to a close, his reps will fall to Bradford to prepare him for week one.
The Eagles signed Wentz to be the quarterback of the future, not the quarterback of the present. They knew what the situation would be before they signed Bradford, after they moved up to the second overall pick and most definitely after he signed a four-year deal. He may be the second overall pick and it may break the conventions of top picks playing immediately..but that’s part of the problem.
There’s so much pressure in the NFL to find the next Peyton Manning, to scout the next Brett Favre or to sign the next Mike Vick that we often drop rookies in the deep end and expect to the swim without armbands against a current of media criticism, social media pressure and the weight of an entire team on their shoulders.
The Eagles didn’t sign Carson Wentz to play right away..so he isn’t going to play right away. They didn’t make Chase Daniel the highest paid backup in the NFL to not even turn up in uniform and they certainly didn’t pay Sam Bradford such a generous sum of money to weaken an already poorly lit flame. Wentz sitting out his rookie season may not be conventional, but this is Philadelphia. This is a team under new management with a new direction and a new vision..a vision that doesn’t need to place the weight of the world on the shoulders of a 23 year old from NDSU just yet..so they won’t.