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Four Takeaways From the Carson Wentz Trade

After what can only be described as an unfortunate and confusing five seasons in Philadelphia for Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles, the 28-year-old quarterback has finally been traded.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Eagles have agreed to send Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick. The second-round pick reportedly would become a first-rounder for the Colts if Wentz plays 75 percent of the team’s snaps, or 70 percent and the Colts make the playoffs.

The trade comes on the heels of a season in which Wentz was benched for Jalen Hurts during a week 13 loss to the Packers. Hurts was named the starter following that week, and Wentz’s departure became an inevitability. 

Wentz now travels to Indianapolis, who just saw their 2020 starter Philip Rivers retire. Wentz is likely to start for them next season, playing under head coach Frank Reich, who was the offensive coordinator for the Eagles during Wentz’s MVP caliber season in 2017.

The Eagles got more back for their former first-round pick than some would have thought, but to say who won this trade will take some time. For now we can see what impact the trade will have on the rosters of these two teams and on the offseasons of every franchise looking for a quarterback. So here are a few things to take away from this mid-february deal.

  1. Colts Are All In On Winning Now

At first glance it doesn’t seem that the Colts gave up that much in this trade, especially if Carson Wentz reverts to anything near his 2017 season. However, that conditional second-round pick, barring a Wentz injury, is likely to convey to a first rounder for the Eagles. This would leave Indianapolis without a first-round pick in 2022.

Wentz also brings in a hefty cap-hit to the Colts, making $25 Million including bonuses this year. Luckily the Colts are in a fortunate cap situation for this offseason, with plenty of cap room to re-sign key contributors like Malik Hooker and T.Y. Hilton. However, the team has a slew of Pro Bowl level players set to be free agents in the next two years. Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith, and Darius Leonard all have contracts that expire at the end of next year. 

Taking on Wentz’s deal is a considerable risk for the Colts’ future to bring in a QB that is far from a sure thing. If any team was going to get the most out though, it makes sense for it to be Indianapolis. Wentz’s MVP caliber season was under Frank Reich, and the two seem to be a perfect fit for each other.

Wentz shouldn’t have to bear the burden of carrying the whole offense like he seemingly had to do in Philadelphia. Indianapolis has an established running attack with a powerful offensive line, and has a crop of young, promising skill position players along with T.Y. Hilton. If Wentz can be accurate on short to medium throws and limit mistakes, even without pushing the ball down the field that much, the Colts can have an efficient offense. If Wentz fails to improve from his 2020 performance though, this trade will haunt them for the foreseeable future.

  1. Eagles Committed to Jalen Hurts 

This is likely the most obvious takeaway from the deal, but is certainly a momentous one for the city of Philadelphia. The franchise held out on Wentz for longer than many would have hoped, but his play on the field this year forced the team’s hand. Drafting Hurts was an indicator that they had their concerns with their former first-rounder. Despite the criticisms of Hurts game coming out of Oklahoma, he performed very well in the four games he started considering the team around him. He did have his rookie moments, and the numbers don’t jump off the page, but it is clear the Eagles are ready to build around him

Philadelphia will likely endure at least one more losing season, but they have the assets to give their young QB pieces to work with. They most likely will have two first-round picks in 2022, and getting Wentz’s contract off the books opens up some opportunities via free agency in the future. For now they need to see if they can dump any of their aging stars on big contracts. 

Brandon Graham and Alshon Jeffery will be free agents next offseason, freeing up $26 Million for the team next summer. Once the Eagles can balance their books they will have an opportunity to be the team to beat in the NFC East, a division that has been lackluster to say the least in recent years.

  1. Trade Value for Watson Remains High

There is no question about who the most coveted player of this offseason is. With Deshaun Watson officially requesting a trade after the Texans dismal season many teams are preparing to make a bid for the 3-time Pro Bowler. 

The Texans have vocalized that they don’t intend to trade Watson, but that hasn’t stopped trade rumors from swirling. If Watson is to be traded this summer, the market value may be higher than it would have been before this offseason. When the Rams used two first-round picks to trade for Matthew Stafford earlier this month the market value for quarterbacks was set very high. Now with Wentz heading to Indianapolis for what is most likely a first and third round pick, the package a team will have to give up to land Watson could be something unprecedented.

The Jets, Dolphins, and Jaguars are the teams with the most draft capital in the near future, with those teams holding the first three picks in this year’s draft and other first rounders this year. This means that the highest bidder will likely at the very least need to give up three first rounders. The Wentz trade did nothing but help cement that.

  1. Patriots Likely to Find QB in Draft or Free Agency 

One of the most heavily watched offseasons in the league is going to be that of the New England Patriots. After a rocky season with Cam Newton, the team is reportedly parting ways with the veteran QB, though there are some rumors that he could return. 

The Patriots had several options entering this season as to how they could get a new quarterback. However, with the elevated market for QBs this year, and with Stafford and Wentz off the block, it seems more and more likely that Bill Belichick won’t find a trade package that he likes. This limits his options to the draft and free agency.

A few of the top players in the draft that have been linked to the Patriots are Mac Jones, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance. The options are limited in free agency, with the most popular scenario being one in which the Cowboys don’t re-sign Dak Prescott and the Patriots pick him up, assuming he is ready for the beginning of the season. Either way it is clear that the Wentz trade has affected any team trying to make a deal for a QB.

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