After a month of endless rumors, it finally happened. Eagles QB Carson Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in a deal that was certainly surprising. Here is everything you need to know about the trade and how impacts the team moving forward.
The Draft compensation
Howie Roseman was unable to package another player in the deal for Carson Wentz, or attain one in the process of moving him. The Eagles accepted an offer from the Colts consisting of a 2021 third-rounder and a 2022 second-rounder that can become a first-round pick if Wentz plays 75%+ of snaps or 70%+ and the Colts make the playoffs.
On one hand, it’s easy to say that this is logically a first-round pick. If Wentz gets back to being the quarterback we all know he can be, then the Colts shouldn’t have too much of a problem making the playoffs. Even if he doesn’t, it’s not like their division (outside of Tennessee) is going to put up much of a fight in 2021.
The Colts are probably early divisional favorites right now. If you are bettor, the idea of Wentz joining the Colts may be enough to tempt you into going heavy on Indy winning the AFC South this season. You can find a list of codes here.
If Wentz plays the entire season and the Colts do miss the playoffs, the Eagles get a first-rounder anyway.
The worrying part is ‘if’. That first-round pick is likely going to be in the 25-32 range anyway barring a real shock, but it depends on both the durability and overall ability of Wentz.
Wentz somehow survived being absolutely destroyed on a game-by-game basis last year and was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL despite being benched in week 14. The injury-prone label is one that makes little sense, but it’s something that will now carry more weight than ever.
Getting a first-round pick for Wentz was a lofty goal by the Eagles front office and this realistically was the only way it was ever going to happen. But with a third-round pick acting as the immediate asset acquired, it’s hard not to be a little underwhelmed.
The Salary Cap
Howie Roseman has officially taken on the largest dead-cap hit in NFL history…so there’s that.
In moving Wentz, the Eagles clear over $850K of cap space for 2021. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but the big thing here is that they avoid paying a $10M 2021 roster bonus and a guaranteed 2022 salary of $15M. The urgency to move Wentz to avoid this may well have factored into the price.
This was much more about freeing up long-term cap room as opposed to finding some short-term relief. We know the Eagles are up against it when it comes to cap space. Without Carson Wentz, they’re now $41M over the cap this offseason, but actually jump to ranking 13th overall for 2022, knowing that a hefty $15M is off the books.
Pressed to move on from Wentz before those numbers chained them down, the Eagles were probably right to settle for less if it meant being able to actually trade him.
A new Eagles QB1…and 2..and 3?
The next big question is one that sits on the shoulders of Jalen Hurts. Is he ready to be the face of the franchise?
It’s something that will be debated deep into the depths of the offseason, but the Eagles don’t have time on their side. If they view any of the quarterbacks likely available at six higher than they do Hurts, they may well end up taking another swing and igniting yet more controversy.
Whether this is the right or wrong decision is going to fuel conversation for months. Should the Eagles take a premier receiving target, the best player available, or shoot for yet another quarterback since doing this last year worked out so well?
Regardless of what happens, the Eagles also need a veteran backup. I don’t think Nate Sudfeld (free agent) is going to be coming back, so we can add a QB3 to their shopping list too.
The end of an era for the Eagles
However you may feel about this move, the one thing that cannot be argued is that it brings with it the end of an era. The coaching staff and franchise QB partnered together in 2016 who went on to end one of the most notable championship droughts in history are no more. It shouldn’t have gotten to this point…but Nick Sirianni and the new coaching team will be able to walk into the NovaCare Complex without any remnants of last years’ chaos.
It’s a clean slate for Sirianni and whoever his starting QB may be and quite frankly it’s something that was absolutely vital if the decision to move on from Pederson was ever going to work.
Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire