The Eagles didn’t have any choice but to pay Carson Wentz a ton of money, but they’re paying the franchise quarterback like he’s never been hurt.
There was never really any doubt that the Eagles were going to commit to Carson Wentz in a big way this offseason. The minute the franchise chose to let Nick Foles go it was obvious they were all-in on Wentz. The only real question was how much money they’d end up giving the fourth-year quarterback.
The answer to that question turned out to be quite a lot. The Eagles agreed to give Wentz a four-year contract extension that will pay him an additional $128 million. On the surface, that’s not an outrageous price tag for a player who can perform like one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL when he’s healthy.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, the phrase “when he’s healthy” takes on a lot of importance when it comes to their franchise quarterback. Wentz has failed to finish the last two seasons due to injury. A torn ACL cost him the finish of his 2017 campaign. Perhaps even more troubling is the back fracture that ended his 2018 season. Wentz has only just now been cleared for full action by Philadelphia’s medical staff.
The Eagles front office clearly chose to ignore their quarterback’s injury history when they negotiated this contract. The $37 million he’s slated to make per season projects him to be the highest paid signal caller in the game. It’s unlikely that number will hold up by the time Wentz’s extension kicks in, but it still illustrates the fact that the Eagles got no discount for their quarterback’s checkered injury history.
In fairness to the Eagles front office, they didn’t have any real leverage to work with. They might have asked Wentz and his representatives for a little salary relief, but they couldn’t afford to push too hard. The last thing Philadelphia needs is to poison the positive relationship they have with their young quarterback.
The contract still represents a major risk for the Eagles. No NFL team can thrive if a quarterback they commit so much money to can’t stay healthy. The salary cap simply won’t allow a team in Philadelphia’s position to pay a backup capable of leading the team to a high level of success. That’s exactly why they were forced to let Foles head to Jacksonville.
Wentz’s new contract is a cost the Eagles had to pay, but now it’s time for them to force their franchise quarterback to take less physical risks out on the field. That’s the only concession left for Philadelphia to win in these negotiations. The simple truth is that the franchise can no longer afford to lose Wentz for any significant period of time. The Eagles have made a massive bet on Wentz to turn his injury history into a distant memory over the life of his new contract.