Sports can sometimes seem like love, occasionally capricious, often fickle. Take for example, the case of Carson Wentz, the quarterback who went from beloved in Philadelphia to discarded like an old flame.
The Eagles’ scouting department fell head over heels in love with Wentz when he played his college ball at North Dakota State University and led the school to multiple NCAA FCS championships.
He had can’t miss credentials, so impressive that the Eagles traded up not once but twice to secure the second choice in the 2016 NFL Draft. The price was high – three of the first 100 picks in 2016, a first round pick in 2017 and a second round pick in 2018. Wentz was their guy and they got him. He had been a backup for two years at North Dakota State but then flourished and the Eagles were convinced he would be their quarterback for a generation.
It turned out to be a short generation.
Signed to a fancy $26.67 million dollar four-year contract, he looked like the real deal in a so-so 7-9 Eagles season. He set a rookie record with 379 completions for 3,782 yards. A year later, he had the Eagles rolling when in Week 14, he tore an ACL in his knee finishing him for the year. Philadelphia shrugged off the injury, plugged in backup Nick Foles at quarterback and went on to win the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.
Wentz returned in 2019 and completed 388 passes for 4,039 yards, the first Eagles quarterback to ever pass for more than 4,000 yards in a season. The Eagles were impressed enough to exercise their contract option and sign Wentz to a $128 million extension with $107 million guaranteed.
But storm clouds were forming in the quarterback’s relationship with coach Doug Pederson. They stopped talking and the coach, angered by mounting interceptions and fumbles, ran out of patience and benched Wentz in the season’s 13th week, turning the quarterback job over to rookie Jalen Harris.
With the bloom off the rose, the Eagles traded Wentz to Indianapolis for a pair a draft picks, a package not nearly as glitzy as the one Philadelphia had assembled to draft Wentz five years earlier. The Eagles were grateful to rid themselves of that huge contract extension and absorbed a $33.8 million cap hit with the deal.
The love affair with the quarterback was officially over and, by the way, so was the one with the coach. Pederson was fired in the weeks before the trade was completed.