Have Eagles crafted one of the best QB contracts in NFL history?


Carson Wentz is officially a $107M dollar man, at least, that’s how much of his $128M extension is guaranteed. But without the finer details, it was hard to get a gauge on how the contract would look. ESPN’s Field Yates dropped the basic spinal cord of the contract on Wednesday morning, giving us plenty to dive into. 

Now we could take these numbers as a loose indicator of how things will look, but that’s no fun…and this is Howie Roseman after all. So here’s a deep dive into the contract of Carson Wentz and what all those numbers really mean. 

 There are a few big things to note here. 

Firstly: Roster bonuses. These are usually paid out in their respected season as guaranteed money but can be spread out in a very Howie like fashion. That level of detail isn’t available yet, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll assume they are paid in full, yearly. So if we take the base salary and the roster bonus, we end up with our first building block.

Next up: signing bonus:

Signing bonuses are fully guaranteed and can be paid out over the course of a contract. The limit, however, is five years, and this deal is technically a six. So by using basic arithmetic, we divide the bonus (16) by 5 (years on contract) to give us $3.2M. If we add that number to the base numbers supplied by Field Yates, that’s a firm indicator as to how things will pan out.

Next up: the incentive-based clauses:

Carson Wentz has $16M available in incentives, but again, we don’t know what they are or when they’re triggered. It’s safe to assume there could be snap-count based incentives, ones for certain individual and team milestones, but we can’t really assume when, where, or how much they’ll cost. We’ll leave them untouched for now…almost as a ‘bonus’…which is what they are.

Then, the dreaded 2020 option:

This is causing a LOT of confusion. As things stand, Wentz is set to cost the Eagles around 9.3M in 2020, but the team have a $30M option. Unlike the Nick Foles team option, this has been done for cap purposes. Fletcher Cox has a similar layout, with the team having $16M option in 2021. This means that between March 3rd/22nd, the Eagles can choose to pick it up and spread it out, or have it all poured into the current year. Ouch. Of course, cutting Cox, which nobody wants to do and shouldn’t be a possibility anyway, would leave $24.5M in dead cap space which is no good to anybody, but picking up the option allows what would be a mega year, to then be spread out like a signing bonus.

Imagine you have self-storage and just bought 182 boxes of new Jordan’s to try and sell and make some cash. You can’t keep them at your house, so you store them in a container until you have some buyers. In a worst case scenario, you get no buyers and you’re gonna have to take the L and make the wife unhappy by storing them all in the bedroom, using them as Cereal Bowls etc. Best case scenario? You begin shipping them out to your friends over the next few months, clearing that room of space.

Cox has a $5.2M signing bonus for each of the first five years and after that, this option can be worked into the deal, divided by the years left, further giving the Eagles leverage when it comes to cap space. They never have to swallow that massive $16M, just keep it in a storage container and filter it in over the next few years.

Let’s apply the same logic to Wentz. $30M (total for the option) divided by years left = 6. That’s an extra $6M per season. And now we have a much clearer idea of how Wentz’s contract will look.

That average people were estimating before? Around $25.6M over six years. But with our new Jordan Cereal Bowl informed mind, we can dig deeper. Here’s how Wentz’s cap hit looks in each year (without incentives and if all of our foreshadowing is accurate)

2019: $3.9M
2020: $18.5M
2021: $23.1M
2022: $27.7M
2023: $32.2M
2024: $32M

Total: $137M. + $16M of incentives = $153M. Okay, I’ve lost $1M somewhere, but that’s not the point.

Estimated average over six years: $22.9M.

Why is this important?

There are currently 17 QB’s under contract for 2022, with 9 of those being on their rookie deals. If we’re looking at 2022 specifically, Wentz is costing around 27M, 10M less than Wilson and Rodgers, for instance. He’s making an almost identical number to Jimmy G, whose contract is very similarly laid out. If we’re to assume the numbers will keep rising, the likes of Mayfield, Watson, Mahomes, all sign deals that exceed Wentz’s, the Eagles QB will be then still inside the top 10 QB in terms of money, sitting him where the likes of Matt Stafford currently are. If he can stay healthy and continues to evolve, playing at the level we all know he can, this may very well be one of the most beautifully crafted quarterback contracts of all time.

Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports