By Dylan MacKinnon
We have looked at WR, OL, CB, and LB. But now we look at a position that many thought was locked up for at least a decade, but is less secure now after a long season of terrible play at the position. QB. As rumors swirl that Wentz wants out, but also that the Eagles want to keep and fix him, no position is more up in the air. There are tons of reports out about him, and they all seem to contradict each other. But could they complicate things even more by taking a QB at 6? What about Jalen Hurts? Lets take a look at if the Eagles have a need at QB.
Poor Play in 2020
There is no denying Wentz had a bad year. He was 34th in QB Rating, had the most interceptions, was sacked the most, and had the second most fumbles. He was also 34th in completion percentage and 33rd in yards per attempt. This is all among the 35 qualified starters. There is a case to be made he was the worst starting Qb in the league this year, but that same case could be made for someone else.
Jalen Hurts didn’t play enough to be a qualified starter, but if he had, his numbers aren’t much better than Wentz. He would be dead last in completion percentage, completing just 52% of his passes. He’d be 20th in YPA, with 7.2. Projected over as many games as Wentz played, Hurts would have 12 interceptions, which would be the 5th most. He would be 32nd in QB rating. He also fumbled 9 times, compared to Wentz’s 10 fumbles, in 8 less starts. Now he was a rookie put in a bad situation with very little help. So it is hard to put his struggles squarely on him. But its important to understand how he performed before making any decisions
Under Wentz they averaged 21.5 pts per game, under Hurts they averaged 20.3 pts per game. Both were about equally bad. You can blame whatever you want for that. You can say its because they had no protection and no playmakers, or bad coaching. But neither QB performed well in 2020. Both show potential to be better than they were, but both have a lot of work to do.
Hard to move contract
Wentz is about to start a 4 year, 128 million dollar contract. But in the NFL the raw numbers of a contract can be deceiving. What’s really important is the dead cap number, because that is what it will cost if the move him. It’s a $59 million cap hit if they cut him, so that’s not an option. If they trade him it will be a dead cap hit of $33.8 million. The largest dead cap hit ever is now on the Rams after they traded Goff, at $22.2 million.
Highest Single-Season Dead Cap Hit Taken On by a Team— Spotrac (@spotrac) January 31, 2021
2021: J. Goff, LAR, $22.2M
2020: B. Cooks, LAR, $21.8M
2019: A. Brown, PIT, $21.2M
2021: M. Stafford, DET, $19M
2010: J. Russell, $18.9M
Could they trade him?
It’s possible. Howie Roseman could make it work cap wise, even with them $70 million over the cap. It would even be a cap savings of $850k in 2021, and it would get him off the books entirely for the following years. It’s just a question of if they would want to dedicate almost 20% of the cap to a guy not on the roster. Jalen Hurts is on a rookie contract as a 2nd round pick. His contract is small enough that there are no barriers to either keeping or trading him.
As for the acquiring team, there would not be a ton of suitors, but there would be some. They could find a trade partner. It won’t be an issue for the team trading for him, it’s a question of if the Eagles are willing to. Former NFL Exec and MMQB Columnist Andrew Brandt says it’s unlikely, but ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter thinks they will trade him.
He is not getting cut, he's not getting traded. You're not taking a 34 million dollar hit. He isn't paying things back. The leaks say he's unhappy, who is happy when they're benched? Plus, he has done it, you try to fix him. - @AndrewBrandt on Wentz— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) January 5, 2021
Say they do trade him, and say they are also out on Jalen Hurts, and want to take a QB at 6. Who could be there to take over as shift manager at the QB Factory? The one we know will not be there is Trevor Lawrence. He is going first overall. After that there are many possibilities. The other first round projected QBs are Justin Fields (Ohio State), Zach Wilson (BYU), Trey Lance (North Dakota State), Kyle Trask (Florida), and Mac Jones (Alabama). We can argue which of these are actually first round worthy, but teams have shown to be willing to reach on a QB. At least one of these will be there at 6, so Eagles will have that option when they are on the board.
It’s not likely the Eagles will be taking a QB. Moving Wentz will be tough, but it is sounding like they may do just that. But its more likely that if they do, the QB next year would be Hurts. But if there is a QB at 6 who they really like, they could always take one. Have to keep the QB Factory operating.
Next week we look at defensive line.
In the original article we shared Andrew Brandt’s belief Eagles would not move Wentz. But recent events seem to have changed that.
Re Carson Wentz and my insistence he would not be traded: yes, it looks like I will be wrong. Very wrong.— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) February 6, 2021
I did not believe the Eagles would debilitate their team ($34M dead money on a $180M Cap) and admit to such a massive mistake.
But they are clearly shopping him. My bad.