On Sunday afternoon, the Philadelphia Eagles arguably hit their lowest point so far this season. In a 22-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Carson Wentz managed to throw 2 interceptions, one being a pick six for the game’s first score. Wentz also was sacked 5 times, including a safety deep in Eagles territory. This is nothing new for Carson Wentz this season; entering Week 11 he ranked 32nd in completion percentage, and 31st in yards per attempt. He also led the league in interceptions with 12, and has been sacked the most times. Being sacked a lot is a sign of a bad offensive line, and while the Eagles have had their fair share of injuries to the O line, a good percentage of Wentz’ sacks come down to him holding the ball too long. This has been a critique of him his entire career, and that along with his other issues have come to fruition this season.
While the Eagles have had good reason to bench Wentz , Doug Pederson’s recent comments confirm that it won’t be happening in the foreseeable future. “When times get tough, sometimes that might be the easy thing to do,” Pederson said of pulling the quarterback. “This sport is bigger than one guy. We all have a hand in it and we all have to fix it.” It’s been a tough year for the Eagles, but even after this loss, the team is still in first place in the NFC East. Currently all 4 teams have 3 wins, but the Eagles remain in first because of the decision to go for the tie against Cincinnati in Week 3.
The Eagles have decided to stay “firmly committed” to Wentz and for good reason. Last summer, he signed a four year 128 million dollar extension that runs through 2024 and pays an annual 32 million. Even with his struggles this season, it wouldn’t be a good message to him or the fans to sit him down. The reason most Eagles fans want to see the change happen is because the team decided to use their second round draft pick on QB Jalen Hurts in this past draft. The decision at the time was questionable, and left fans confused and disappointed that they didn’t try to strengthen another part of the team. Almost 7 months later there isn’t more clarity on why the Eagles decided to draft a backup after paying Wentz. Looking at how the draft has played out, it’s pretty fair to say the Eagles definitely could have used that pick elsewhere.
Having a backup plan for Wentz makes sense because of his injury history and their prior experience with backup quarterbacks. But spending a second round draft pick on one probably isn’t the move most fans had in mind. One possible reason that the Eagles decided to draft Hurts could’ve been to light a fire under Wentz and get him motivated for this year. Well it’s obvious that hasn’t worked, and has actually had an opposite effect on him. If the time to start Hurts isn’t now when will it be? What’s really the best case scenario for how Hurts’ career plays out in Philadelphia? Is it if Carson gets injured and Hurts comes in and looks explosive and effective and takes the job away from Wentz? Then you’re paying Carson Wentz 32 million dollars a year to be a backup. I’m sure there are teams that would take Wentz off the Eagles hands if that were to happen. But another injury and his play this season might make that a lot more complicated than it seems. Will Hurts just continue to be Wentz’ backup regardless of how Carson plays? If that’s the case, the noise from fans to put Hurts in will only get louder if Wentz continues playing like he is now.
Say the Eagles decide to bench Wentz strictly because of his play, and Hurts comes in and doesn’t show anything special and possibly is worse than the way Wentz was playing. Then you’re really in a bad situation, as you’ve completely damaged your relationship with the franchise quarterback while simultaneously hurting Hurts’ trade value. All around, it doesn’t seem like there are many roads that lead to Jalen Hurts being a good draft pick for the Eagles. There’s always the chance Hurts waits out Wentz’ contract, and in 2024 the Eagles decide to move off of him and transition to Hurts. From what Jalen Hurts showed at Oklahoma, it’s clear he’s a dynamic playmaker who wins games and can be successful in the right situation. That’s why the intrigue in Hurts from fans makes sense. Unless there is an injury to Carson Wentz, it doesn’t seem like there will ever be a better time to see what Hurts has. If the time isn’t now, why did the Eagles draft him in the first place?