Carson Wentz to Colts: Here’s what trade means for Eagles and Jalen Hurts in 2021 and beyond

Carson Wentz is no longer with the Philadelphia Eagles, ending a once-promising career with the franchise that drafted him No. 2 overall. Wentz played a major role in the Eagles winning their first Super Bowl title — though he was sidelined due to injury when Nick Foles took the playoff reins — but everything for him and the organization went downhill after that magical 2017 season. 

The Eagles traded Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 second-round pick, which will become a first-round pick if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps in 2021 or if he plays 70% of the snaps and the Colts make the playoffs. So where do the Eagles go from here? 

Philadelphia is set to embark on the next chapter of the franchise, with a new head coach in Nick Sirianni who can start fresh and rebuild this organization in the proper way. The Eagles are starting from scratch with Wentz no longer the franchise quarterback, having plenty of issues to correct the remainder of this offseason. 

Here’s exactly what the Wentz trade means for the Eagles — a look at the multiple moves that are now in play: 

The Eagles used a 2020 second-round pick on Hurts — and ended up starting him in the final four games of last season once they benched Wentz. Philadelphia must see something in Hurts that allowed them to move on from Wentz and absorb a $33.8 million dead cap hit (an NFL record). There has been only one quarterback since 1950 to throw for over 800 yards and rush for over 200 yards in his first three starts combined, and that’s Hurts — so the rookie quarterback has shown he can succeed in the NFL

How this translates to a 16-game season is another story. The Eagles do plan on bringing in competition for Hurts (per ESPN’s Adam Schefter), but whether that is a veteran quarterback in free agency or drafting a quarterback is to be determined. Hurts embraces competition, so that won’t be an issue with the second-year signal caller. 

Hurts certainly has his issues he needs to work on — fumbles and making just one read of the defense among them — but a team rebuilding in 2021 can afford to see what this quarterback can do in a full season before making a final decision on him. The Eagles have nothing to lose by giving Hurts a shot at the permanent starting quarterback job. 

Drafting a QB at No. 6 overall

This will be an unpopular possibility amongst a portion of the Eagles fan base, but a franchise needs a good quarterback to win in the NFL. Having that franchise signal caller on your roster is paramount toward the success of your organization, which the Eagles thought they had with Wentz just three years ago. 

Trevor Lawrence will be off the table at No. 1 overall, but there could be an opportunity for the Eagles to select Justin Fields or Zach Wilson with the sixth-overall pick. The Jets (No. 2) may be selecting a quarterback. The Dolphins (No. 3) drafted Tua Tagovailoa in the first round last year, while the Falcons (No. 4) have Matt Ryan but could select one. The Bengals (No. 5) have their franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow. That means — barring another team moving up in a trade — one or two more quarterbacks could go off the board before the Eagles pick, but it’s also possible Lawrence could be the only one.

New head coaches typically pick their own quarterbacks to steer the ship of their franchise. Andy Reid did it with Donovan McNabb in 1999 and Doug Pederson did the same with Wentz in 2016. Sirianni can do it if there’s a quarterback in this draft he really likes that’s worth taking at No. 6. Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles take one. 

Creating cap space 

The Eagles have to shed some salary and get under the salary cap, a major fault of general manager Howie Roseman over the last few seasons. Even with the minimum salary cap set at $180 million, the Eagles are still a projected $47.4 million over the salary cap (per Over The Cap). They need to get some significant contracts off the books.

Zach Ertz and DeSean Jackson are likely on their way out, which will take approximately $9.5 million off the books. Marquise Goodwin (remember him) also is due around $4.3 million next season with no cap penalties if released. There is also $10 million due with Derek Barnett’s fifth-year option — with no cap penalty if the Eagles decide not to pick it up. That’s a potential $23.8 million cleared in salary for a team that needs to get under the cap (the NFL hasn’t announced what the final salary cap number will be). The Eagles also restructured the contracts of Malik Jackson and Alshon Jeffery that opened up some cap relief in 2021 and allowed them a clearer path toward moving on from the two veterans. 

Philadelphia will be moving on from a few mainstays on its roster as a result of Wentz getting traded, as the rebuild is officially under way. One of the oldest rosters in the NFL could be one of the youngest come September. 

Howie Roseman’s rebuild

There are plenty of opinions regarding the Eagles general manager, who has had an up-and-down tenure with the franchise. While Roseman is responsible for retooling the Eagles into Super Bowl champions, he also burned down the building as quickly as he built it — using “win-now” moves that ended up haunting this franchise for the 2021 season and beyond (the Eagles will have some cap space available for 2022). 

The 2021 season is likely a lost one thanks to the Doug Pederson firing, the Carson Wentz trade (and the drama that came before it), the astonishing salary cap number the Eagles are way over, and the youth movement that is coming as a result of an aging roster with bloated contracts. 

Like it or not, Roseman is the general manager in charge of the mess he created. He’s tasked with fixing it and allowing Sirianni to develop his quarterback (whoever that is) and making this team competitive again. The Eagles will have a shot in the terrible NFC East, but this franchise needs to be thinking long past 2021 — and even 2022. 

The Eagles won’t be good for a few years, as Roseman will be in charge of the rebuild. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is tasking Roseman to hit on draft picks, clear cap space, and make this roster a Super Bowl contender in a process that’s going to take three-to-five years. The worst is yet to come before this franchise sees its glory days again — and Roseman is driving the bus. 

Complaining isn’t going to get Roseman fired — and Lurie isn’t going to move on from him after everything that happened last season (and the last few years). Eagles fans will just have to deal with Roseman in charge — for better or worse. 

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