On April 28th, 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Carson Wentz with the 2nd overall pick. Wentz, a quarterback from South Dakota State, became the second quarterback in Eagles history to be selected with the #2 overall pick (Donovan McNabb in 1999). Because of the nature of the #2 pick, the Eagles had to trade a bounty of picks to move to this spot. The Eagles dealt two first-round picks, a second-round pick, a third-round pick and a fourth-round pick; in return, the Eagles received the #2 overall pick and a fourth-round selection. After many winning seasons and the Eagles’ first Super Bowl victory, the time has come to discuss Wentz’s future contract. I believe the Eagles should extend Wentz, and despite an injury-riddled past, the dollar amount should still be very high.
Before I discuss dollars and cents, I want to preface this by stating that I don’t think many people should comment on any athlete’s contract situation. I will leave the contract negotiations to the professionals; I don’t like the idea of fans on the outside typing on social media how much someone else is worth. I don’t believe that I have the right to tell an athlete that has sacrificed so much on and off the field how much money they deserve. The idea of suggesting if a player should stay or leave should be discussed, but the financial side should be left to internal negotiations. I will offer my best guess at what the contract should be although I will be happy with whatever it ends up being.
First off, the Eagles will extend Wentz. The “Wentz vs. Foles” debate was an argument that divided some Eagles fans; however, the Eagles let Foles leave, and they put the future in the hands of Wentz. Wentz had been coming off injury, while Foles was leading the team into the playoffs, and some believed that the Eagles would choose Foles long-term, but those ideas are now squashed after Foles signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Eagles are not going to move on from Wentz despite the injuries. Wentz cost a massive haul, and there is no way the Eagles would move off Foles and allow Wentz to leave as well. So, this begs the question, how much will his contract be worth?
This contract situation is tricky for many reasons. Wentz’s payday would be a simple problem if it weren’t for the injuries. Since entering the league, he has suffered a season-ending ACL injury and a season-ending stress fracture in his back. Sadly, Wentz has had two of his three seasons in the NFL cut short due to injury. The quarterback is the most critical piece in football. The quarterback drives the entire offense, and he is the vocal leader in the locker room. The quarterback also has the honor of being the target of many brutal blows from defenders; moreover, the injuries may keep piling up or even compile on past ones. So, should the Eagles abandon hope- I say absolutely not. In fact, I believe Wentz’s best days are yet to come, and he deserves a big paycheck because of it.
Wentz proved that he can and will continue to improve. In his 2016 season, he threw for 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Wentz dramatically improved during the 2017 season; he threw for 33 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions. He more than doubled the number of touchdowns he threw while cutting his interceptions in half. Wentz was also the presumptive MVP for the 2017 season until his season ended early due to his ACL injury. He is also a young player entering just his fourth season; his maturity and leadership, which are already both high, will continue to evolve and grow. I am also high on Wentz due to his ability to handle himself and be a positive influence on the team.
Wentz is a great role model. He works on many different projects to benefit those around him. Driven by his passion to serve and help others, Wentz gives to the community around him in many ways including his AO1 foundation and other events including a charity baseball game at Citizens Bank Park. He is unselfish and dedicated to the team. The team thinks very highly of him as well. When a negative report about Wentz’s leadership and character was released, many Eagles players quickly jumped to his defense and backed up their leader. He is a beloved icon both in Philadelphia and around the world. He continues to inspire countless people, and he is becoming a powerful momentum boost within the Eagles organization.
Life is unpredictable; it’s all about taking risks. Wentz, in some ways, is a risk. The injuries that he has suffered are nasty ones, and they could come back to haunt him someday. The sport of football is dangerous and violent- it’s a tradeoff with the exhilaration and joy of success. Paying a huge salary to Wentz is a risk, however, the Eagles need to exercise that risk. The future is always uncertain- this can be good or bad. The Eagles organization has been heralded over the past few years for their excellent decision making and moves. Would the Eagles really botch their quarterback fiasco that bad? The Eagles clearly took the time to examine both quarterbacks, weigh the long-term ramifications and determine the best course of action (sticking with Wentz). Yes, the injuries scare me, but the Eagles traded a lot to get Wentz. They simply can’t move on this quickly.
Wentz has proven that he can be a dynamic playmaker. He helped lead the Eagles to an 11-2 start in 2017; the Eagles would later go on to win their first ever Super Bowl. He is a mobile quarterback with tremendous arm strength. Wentz is already better than over 50% of NFL quarterbacks, and I don’t even think he has scratched the surface of his ability. The Eagles believe so much in Wentz that they bolstered the offensive line by signing Stefen Wisniewski and drafting Andre Dillard. The Eagles also added two great running backs, Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders, to take pressure off Wentz, and they have placed great weapons around him at the wide receiver position. The Eagles are all in on Wentz; however, what should his next contract look like?
Utilizing this chart, I cut out the quarterbacks earning less than 20 million/ year. I think it is safe to say that Wentz deserves more than that, but how much more exactly? While I don’t believe he should be earning just over 20 million per year, like Tom Brady, I also don’t think he should be the highest paid quarterback either. The magic number I like is 26 million per year. I think that it’s a fair assessment of where he is right now. The number decreased due to the injury risk, but it is also inflated due to high upside and potential. I believe it is a number that doesn’t put the Eagles in too much of a bind, and it fairly compensates Wentz for his past successes and allows him to make much more than he is currently.
Typically, the better you are, the more you make. Salaries aren’t exactly the best indicators of talent, however. For example, would anyone argue that Kirk Cousins is better than Brady? The Eagles next contract for Wentz needs to be in that top tier range because Wentz is a top tier quarterback. I can’t justify making him the highest paid quarterback in the league, simply because of his injuries, but just over that 20 million per year range is insulting. I feel confident placing Wentz at that 26 million per year range; this would put him in the same range as guys like Andrew Luck and Drew Brees. Both Brees and Luck are incredible talents, and the both rival Wentz’s skill and ability.
Wentz is a major part of the Eagles lone Super Bowl victory. Despite never playing in the game, Wentz helped lead the team to a sensational regular season that placed them in the driver’s seat going into the playoffs. He is a leader on and off the field, and he is a vital asset for the Eagles. Wentz deserves a nice payday on his next contract, and this is my best estimate on what they should do going forward. Regardless of the final number, I believe Wentz will be well worth it in the end.
(Chart is from overthecap.com- https://overthecap.com/position/quarterback/)