The Carson Wentz saga is over. It’s time to move on.
The Philadelphia Eagles-Carson Wentz divorce became finalized Thursday, when the Birds traded him to the Indianapolis Colts for a third-round pick in 2021 and a conditional second-rounder in 2022.
If Carson Wentz’s playtime is at or above 75% next season, the conditional 2022 second-round pick would become a first-round pick, per sources. The second-round pick also.could become a first if Wentz plays at least 70 percent of the plays and the Colts go to the playoffs.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 18, 2021
This gives Philadelphia a gracious exit from Wentz and gives Indy a hedge against Wentz flopping.
But what impact will this move have on he Eagles odds heading into the 2021 NFL regular season?
Quiet reaction from NJ sportsbooks
There was a flicker, rather than a tremor across the major sportsbooks after the trade because it did not involve a big name.
But the deal at least caused some movement.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Eagles remained +6600 to win Super Bowl 56, +2800 to win the NFC. They did move from +350 to +400 to win the NFC East.
Interestingly, one could call the New York Giants, Washington Football Team and the Eagles Route 66. All are +6600 to win the big game. How close to the bottom rung are all these teams? The J-E-T-S are +8000.
With the trade, the Colts advanced to + 2200, a reasonable projection for a team that made the playoffs and nearly won its first game before losing to the Buffalo Bills 27-24. The Colts had nearly 500 yards of offense.
The Colts move from +2500 to +2200 to win the Super Bowl. pic.twitter.com/jzFVjH56bt
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) February 18, 2021
Wentz advanced from + 4000 to +3000 to take the MVP. Jalen Hurts, the Eagles’ official No.1 quarterback, for now, went from +10000 to +8000.
Translation: The Colts are a little better with Wentz than with nobody, in the wake of Phillip Rivers’ retirement.
Big Picture for Eagles and Carson Wentz
Like most failed marriages, this wasn’t a matter of who won or lost. It was a relief for both parties, Wentz and the Eagles, to simply get out. More time together would have been mutually destructive.
The Wentz-Hurts quarterback controversy, along with the Eagles’ 1-7 home-stretch sputter, already cost Doug Pederson his coaching job.
Would next year be spoiled too? A fresh start was needed.
Colts waited the Eagles out
The Wentz negotiations became a poker game when reports surfaced of an imminent trade over the last couple of weeks. Even the books chimed in, placing the Chicago Bears as the top choice and Indianapolis a strong second. No other team was considered serious.
Indianapolis wisely avoided public comment when the Eagles sought a first-round draft pick for Wentz, much like ignoring a Texas Hold ‘Em player trying to buy the pot with pair of 3s.
The Colts had a better hand and quietly played this out to a fair conclusion. Wentz had a league-high 15 interceptions last year and a $10 million salary bonus due him in March. The Colts also figured the other possible suitor, the Bears, would drop out. And they did.
Eagles and Colts get something
This trade created peace on one team, the Eagles, and enabled the Colts to take a shot on a one-time gem.
For Indy, the roll of the dice is getting Wentz back to his 2017 form, when he looked like an MVP.
That was before his spate of injuries from which he hasn’t recovered. Wentz has also been snakebit, suffering an injury against the Seattle Seahawks early in the 2020 playoff game.
Wentz is a shell of his top form now, but his dramatic 2020 regression can also be traced to a weak offensive line. If he responds to Indy head coach Frank Reich’s run-oriented structure that protects pocket passers, the trade could blossom for Indianapolis.
If it doesn’t, well, the Colts need a quarterback anyway because of Rivers’ retirement. They gambled on the retread they know rather than the NFL Draft class they don’t.
Rivers, like Wentz, had declined, but Reich coached a respectable season from him. And Wentz is much younger.
Another potential upside for Indy centers around the psyche of Wentz. He went from imminent MVP in 2017 to losing the job to Hurts late in the 2020 season. He can’t accept backup status. The change of scenery benefits him.
Moving forward without Carson Wentz
The Eagles will have to take the hit and move on from the league-record dead-cap hit of $33.8 million. There’s a lesson for the Eagles about over paying in long-term contracts.
The Eagles have a record $33.8 million in dead cap space after the Wentz deal.
Here are some other things they could get for that money. pic.twitter.com/5pENK98RG7
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) February 18, 2021
Will they even learn it? Rumors have already surfaced that they may use the No. 6 overall draft pick to obtain another quarterback, as they lick their wounds from this fiasco.
Beefing up the offensive line is paramount, especially because the Eagles can’t protect who’s back there now.
Note that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers protected Tom Brady by selecting offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs as the 13th overall pick. The Bucs just won the Super Bowl.
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow, but he didn’t have enough line help and was lost for the season with a mid-season injury after a sack.
The lack of line support jeopardized all the money paid to the rookie quarterback.
If the Eagles don’t learn from the Wentz saga, you’ll be hearing about the Justin Fields, Mac Jones, and Zach Wilson possibilities. Jones threw 5 touchdowns to lead Alabama over Fields’ Ohio State team in the national championship game.
Fields is a product of one great game, the championship semifinal against Clemson. He also resembles Hurts stylistically.
But if the New York Jets don’t take him with the second pick … you can hear those talk shows now. Remember, Fields took a big hit to the ribs in that Clemson game and was ineffective in the championship-game loss.
Will the Eagles chase a QB or protect what they have?
We can’t post odds on that, but stay tuned.
The next chapter for the Eagles begins now.
AP Photo/Derik Hamilton