PHILADELPHIA — When the Philadelphia Eagles selected quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, Carson Wentz leaned on his faith in the organization and faith in his own judgment to come to terms with the decision.
“If I were to start questioning [general manager] Howie [Roseman] and the management now, I’d really be questioning myself,” Wentz said at the time, “because when I signed the deal I did, it was my way of showing I trust and believe in what we’re doing in Philly and they trust and believe in me.”
For Wentz, that four-year, $128 million extension he signed in the summer of 2019 was not just about financial security but also an affirmation of the commitment made between team and player when the Eagles drafted him No. 2 overall in 2016. It was a step toward the desired goal of playing his entire pro career in Philly.
Roseman noted that by trading up twice to draft Wentz and then handing him that massive extension, they proved through their actions how they felt about him. Drafting Hurts was more about staying true to a primary organizational philosophy.
“For better or worse, we are quarterback developers. We want to be a quarterback factory,” Roseman said.
“Nobody is going to be looking at a rookie quarterback as somebody who’s going to be taking over a Pro Bowl quarterback, a guy who’s been on the cusp of winning an MVP.”
Wentz received the same assurances privately that he would not have to look over his shoulder.
Yet Hurts drew ever closer in the rearview mirror as this season went along and has since raced out in front of him. Hurts is expected to remain the starter for the Eagles’ final two games and potentially beyond.
From that perspective, it’s easier to understand how Wentz could view what has transpired as a breach of trust.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that Wentz is not pleased with the way events have unfolded within the organization and wants to move on from the Eagles if the current situation continues with him as Hurts’ backup.
Jalen Hurts continues to put up fantasy numbers making him a viable option in the playoffs.
“Carson has done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s a pro. He’s engaging, he’s helping Jalen,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “I get it and I understand it’s a frustrating situation for him, but at the same time, I see him helping Jalen and helping our offense.”
Wentz helped create this new reality, of course. The QB change was more than justified given Wentz’s deep struggles over the first 12 weeks of the season. If the NFL is a meritocracy, Hurts deserves to not just be under center for the rest of the season but a chance to earn that post in 2021 as well. Perhaps full recognition of Wentz’s role in all of this will eventually soften his own stance.
It still will be difficult to chart a favorable path forward for Wentz in Philadelphia now that the toothpaste is all the way out of the tube. Every Wentz stumble from here forward will come with amplified noise and speculation about whether he’ll be benched in favor of Hurts or whomever QB2 is — chatter that can build tsunami-like strength in the social media age and in a market such as Philadelphia. With his standing as the clear-cut quarterback compromised, the chances of having split allegiances in the Eagles’ locker room have grown exponentially.
Maybe Wentz could handle it if his relationship with the team’s decision-makers were as solid as oak, if he knew they’d continue to charge forward with him even in the face of gale-force winds. But that’s not where we are.
It took a leap of faith for him to believe that was the case in April — that drafting Hurts was not against his best interests even though he had just clawed his way out of Nick Foles‘ shadow and into the center of the circle after a long fight.
Eight months later, and it has all gone to hell. Wentz is in an even deeper hole.
He owns responsibility for a lot of that. So, too, does the organization for not considering thoughtfully enough how the drafting of Hurts ran the risk of torpedoing their relationship with Wentz if conditions during the 2020 season were worse than forecasted.
Given Wentz’s abilities, the quality of character of both quarterbacks and the resources in the building, the Eagles can build out a plan aimed at stabilizing the situation and getting Wentz back toward being that franchise QB this offseason.
But at this point, it feels unrealistic to think Wentz would trust it.
Source : ESPN