Why Eagles simply had to put every chip on Carson Wentz this offseason

On Thursday evening, the Philadelphia Eagles announced that they had signed Carson Wentz to a four-year contract extension worth $128M. The reactions have been mostly positive and understandably so, but there are those who still question the move. 17% of the Eagles salary cap is a lot of money to throw in one player’s direction, but it had to happen…and it had to happen this offseason.

The history

The first reason why this was so important is an obvious one. It’s the Elephant in the room. Wentz has still only played one full 16-game season in his short career and while this level of financial commitment is a clear sign the Eagles believe he’s recovered from those injuries, there are reasons to be skeptical. But the other side of the coin is the one worth examining.

This was the only window in which the Eagles would predictably have lopsided leverage over Wentz, purely because of those injuries. You can’t throw everything you have at a player who after that incredible 2017 season was cut short, has battled setback, after criticism, after setback.

If the Birds truly believe Carson Wentz is ‘the guy’, then they know how scary the idea of next season is for opposing defenses now that he’s fully healthy. And should Carson Wentz post an MVP-level campaign once more, the Eagles would end up paying maybe 20% more than they would have this offseason.

It’s a gamble, but an educated one. If the Eagles were all-in on Carson Wentz, this was the only time both leverage and value would favor the bold.

The outlook

Howie Roseman has pipped the rest of the NFL to the post once more, just as he did with Fletcher Cox and his $103M extension. It all comes down to forecasting and the quarterback market isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

Jared Goff and Dak Prescott are both going to be looking for their big paydays and this contract has now set the bar, likely leading to the two arguably less efficient quarterbacks being grossly overpaid.

The talks of Dak’s extension have echoed through the league all offseason long and it’s fair to assume they probably forced Roseman’s hand in moving faster. The Eagles had already signed Wentz to his fifth-year option, effectively making this extension a ‘six-year’ deal…but in terms of value, it’s excellent.

Not only that, but look at the offense that’s now surrounding #11. All five of the starting offensive linemen from their iconic Super Bowl run, are still on the roster. The Eagles have one of the best deep-threats in league history in DeSean Jackson, and alongside JJ Arcega-Whiteside, this poses nightmares. Oh, and then theres’ Jordan Howard and rookie Miles Sanders in the backfield.

If Wentz was ever going to soar, it’s in 2019…and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather invest my capital now than when his value spikes in just a few months time.

The field

There are those who seem to be worried about the amount of money given to Carson Wentz, but it’s contextual. The Eagles extended Wentz with two-years left on his deal, essentially making his contract $154M over 6 years, keeping the ‘guaranteed’ money locked away for now and perhaps even sparking the Malcolm Jenkins conversation. Anyway, here’s how Wentz’s average value compares to some other important names.

AAV:
1) Russell Wilson: $35M
2) Ben Roethlisberger: $34M
3) Aaron Rodgers: $33.5M
4) Matt Ryan: $30M
5) Kirk Cousins: $28M
6) Jimmy Garoppolo: $27.5M
7) Matt Stafford: $27M
8) Carson Wentz: $25.6M

  1. The Vikings got fleeced.

Now, this is taking into account the money that has been announced, not how the contract has been laid out (unknown). But if we are to forecast Goff, Prescott, Watson, Winston, and maybe even Carr or Mariota receiving new deals before Wentz’s expires, then it’s safe to assume that Carson Wentz will be making top-10 QB money, likely playing to a level of a top-5 quarterback.

Regardless of your opinion on Carson Wentz, the financial situation is what matters here. Football is a business and this was a business investment. The Eagles know exactly how scary Carson Wentz is when playing healthy and there is nothing to say he won’t blow the league out of the water as he did in 2017. Striking while the Iron is hot is always a positive, but doing it before that Iron rips through your salary cap is always a good idea.

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