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Eagles dance around $128 million Carson Wentz question

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Carson Wentz’s future with the Philadelphia Eagles remains murky after he didn’t even dress for Sunday night’s season-ending debacle of a loss to the Washington Football Team.

Regardless of the tanking allegations directed at the Eagles for pulling rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts for third-stringer Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter, the organization must now decide what to do with the benched Wentz, whose four-year, $128 million contract extension (with a $34.7 million salary-cap hit) kicks in next season.

Wentz reportedly plans to ask for a trade this offseason because his relationship with head coach Doug Pederson is “fractured beyond repair,” according to ESPN.

“That is not anything we’re talking about right now,” GM Howie Roseman said Monday, the morning after the Eagles finished the season with a 4-11-1 record. “We’re talking about a guy that’s immensely talented and has a great work ethic, and doing whatever we can to put him in the best possible situation to be successful.

“This has been a disappointing, embarrassing, frustrating season. Obviously when you win four games, that’s on all of us, that’s on me. We have really good people here, and we have to figure out how to fix this and get this back on the right path.”

Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz
Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz
Getty Images

Roseman added that he will keep any conversations with Wentz — who was replaced by Hurts in the Eagles’ Dec. 6 loss to Green Bay — about his future private.

“In terms of Carson, I don’t think it’s a secret that we moved up for him [in the 2016 draft] because of what we thought of him as a person, as a player. We gave him that extension because of the same things,” Roseman said. “When you have players like that, they’re like fingers on your hands. You can’t even imagine that they’re not part of you, that they’re not here. And that’s how we feel about Carson.”

Soon after the Eagles drafted Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma, Roseman had said the organization wanted to be considered a “quarterback factory” with great depth at the position. The Eagles won the Super Bowl after the 2017 season with since-departed backup Nick Foles replacing an injured Wentz.

“I think anyone who knows Carson knows how strong of a person he is and knows how much he believes in his own abilities,” Roseman said. “In terms of why we didn’t have a good season, it’s not just on one player. When you look at it, the team as a whole didn’t perform up to expectations. The moves that we made it didn’t perform up to expectations. To put it on Carson isn’t fair.”

Still, Wentz finished the season tied with Denver’s Drew Lock for the NFL lead with 15 interceptions in just 12 games. He also had the 34th highest passer rating in the league (72.8), ahead of only the Jets’ Sam Darnold (72.7) among qualifying quarterbacks.

“I’m not going to speak for Carson, obviously, but speaking for myself…the relationship is good, it’s fine” Pederson said Monday. “It’s something we’re going to continue to build upon.

“I know Carson’s disappointed. It’s not the season he or I anticipated. There were a lot of moving parts, but it’s not about one guy here. It takes all of us. I’ve also been hired as the head coach and I’ve been challenged…to get things right, to get him right, and make sure we’re doing everything in the best interest of the team.”

Pederson also unsurprisingly stuck with the spiel that he was “trying to win” Sunday night’s game against Washington. He drew strong criticisms from the Giants – who would have won the NFC East with an Eagles victory – and others across the NFL landscape after he pulled Hurts in favor of Sudfeld in the fourth quarter.

With Sunday’s loss, the Eagles moved up from the ninth position in the 2021 NFL Draft to the sixth spot.

“I’ve thought about that quite a bit, and quite frankly I look at the entire body of work and the entire season,” Pederson said. “In that game, we were in a situation we failed to score as an offense, we failed to score at the end of the third quarter, we were struggling to move the ball.

“My plan was to get Nate in the game. Nate’s a guy who’s very capable of running our system and executing and had an opportunity to pull that game out.” 

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