Carson Wentz

QB Notes: Wentz, Rudolph, Darnold, Carr

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz struggled once again in Philadelphia’s 17-9 loss to the Seahawks. Wentz received a x-ray on his right hand during the second half of the game, but would not blame his poor play on the injury, according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. In his postgame press conference, when asked if the injury affected his play, he said, “I don’t think it did.” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson clarified that the x-rays were negative, but Wentz would go through further tests.

Whether the injury played a role or not, Philadelphia needs to find an answer for their offensive woes. Wentz made a number of poor decisions, but two passes to open receivers in the flat that sailed well out of reach were especially emblematic of his problems. The Eagles are now 5-6 on the season, but have a vital stretch of their schedule against Miami, New York, and Washington. It will be crucial for their playoff chances to come out victorious against three of the weakest teams in the league.

Check out some other notes on quarterbacks around the league:

  • After being benched in the Steelers 16-10 win over the Bengals, quarterback Mason Rudolph addressed allegations from Browns defensive end Myles Garrett that Rudolph used a racial slur last week on Thursday Night Football. Rudolph adamantly denied the claims with reporters after the game, writes Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t believe that he would go that route after the fact. But it is what it is and I think I’ve moved on. One day it was tough, but moved on. We’re good to go now.” Rudolph reiterated the claims were “totally untrue” and when asked if he said anything that could have been construed in a racist way he said, ““Absolutely not.’’
  • Young quarterback Sam Darnold was criticized a few weeks ago for talking about the playoffs with half the season remaining, but the young Jets gunslinger is showing progress dealing with the media, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. Darnold mentioned that the playoffs were in the back of his mind after 34-3 blowout win against the Raiders, but quickly made clear that he is taking the season one game at a time. This season has definitely been a roller coaster for Darnold who is still looking to string a few strong games together after missing the start of the season dealing with mononucleosis.
  • Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was benched amidst a blowout loss to the Jets by head coach Jon Gruden. The move is not meant to create any controversy at the position, however. Carr was removed alongside other important players in Oakland’s rotation to protect them from injury down 31 in the third quarter. Still, Gruden acknowledged the difficulty decision talking with reporters after the game, according to Jerry McDonald of The Mercury News. “I didn’t want to take him out, but doing what I think is right and I’m sure I’ll be second-guessed for that but I think I’m doing what’s right for our football team.”

QB Notes: Rudolph, Rosen, Wentz

Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph told reporters he did not say anything that “escalated” the altercation between him and Myles Garrett, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. Garrett, of course, swung a helmet at Rudolph’s bare head and received an indefinite suspension from the league, which he is currently appealing. While Garrett was not the only player suspended, many have criticized the league for handing no suspension to Rudolph for instigating the situation.

At the moment, Rudolph has yet to hear from the league regarding any punishment, per Kaboly. Although everyone believes a fine will be coming his way.

Here’s some more news surrounding quarterbacks around the league:

  • While Dolphins head coach Brian Flores revealed Ryan Fitzpatrick would be the team’s starter this week at quarterback, he left the door open for Josh Rosen to retake the mantle at some point in the near future. Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald speculates that a three-game stretch beginning on December 8th could have massive implications for Miami’s draft position. Giving the reigns back to Rosen could both help the team evaluate his long-term future and improve their draft standing, per Beasley.
  • Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has struggled recently. Even with his poor play of late, Philadelphia’s starting center Jason Kelce said he has “all the faith in the world [in Wentz]” during an interview on 94 WIP. At 5-5, the Eagles have failed to live up to lofty expectations and in last week’s 17-10 loss to the Patriots, Wentz completed just 20 of 40 pass attempts. However, with former backup Nick Foles now in Jacksonville, current backup Josh McCown is not going to push Wentz for playing time anytime soon.

Dak Targeting Russell Wilson’s AAV Mark

Dak Prescott has threatened Antonio Brown‘s grip on NFL news cycles over the past few days, and now that the Raiders receiver’s helmet mania is winding down, the Cowboys quarterback’s contract negotiations may be the NFL’s top mid-August talking point.

Momentum does not appear to be building toward a Prescott extension, and the Monday report of a $40MM-AAV goal may not be too far off. Prescott is targeting Russell Wilson‘s $35MM-per-year deal, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com tweets. While another Monday report indicated Prescott absolutely is not eyeing a market-altering, $40MM-AAV accord, Robinson adds that other teams have heard the $40MM target rumor during this process as well.

While Prescott is aiming higher than 2016 draft classmate Carson Wentz, likely because of the $32MM/year deal Wentz signed, the Cowboys’ negotiations also played into the Eagles’ negotiations. Leery of a monster Prescott deal forcing them to up their Wentz price, the Eagles moved quickly to get their quarterback signed earlier this summer, Robinson reports.

That played a part in getting Carson’s deal done early,” a source told Robinson. “It was a priority [for the Eagles] anyway, but not knowing if Dallas would just completely cave in with Dak and do something stupid definitely entered into the conversation.”

Dallas has not yet caved to Prescott, who is reported to have turned down a $30MM-per-year offer. But talks with Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have not progressed to the point either extension feels imminent. The Eagles acted despite Wentz having two years left on his rookie deal. Landing Prescott in Round 4, the Cowboys do not have that luxury.

The franchise tag may enter the equation, of course, with Amari Cooper, Byron Jones and La’el Collins also in contract years. That would also be a bold choice from Prescott, who will earn barely $2MM this season. But it is fairly clear he does not have a team-friendly deal on his itinerary.

As a former third-round pick, Wilson was in this situation four years ago. The Seahawks quarterback signed what was then the No. 2 quarterback contract ($21.9MM per year). The cap has gone up by more than $30MM since, and the quarterback market has changed dramatically over the past year and change. That’s helped lead to this Prescott-Cowboys standoff, one of the more interesting negotiations in recent memory.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Rumors: Wentz, Eagles, Redskins

More details have emerged on Carson Wentz‘s contract. The deal, which stands to tether the quarterback to the Eagles through 2024, contains a $16.4MM signing bonus and a 2020 team option, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This $30MM option will serve as a bonus and thus be spread in $5MM installments through the duration of the deal (for cap purposes), Joel Corry of CBS Sports notes. But Wentz will receive all of that cash in 2020, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia notes. The Eagles must exercise that option by the 10th day of the 2020 league year, Yates tweets. Interestingly, if the Eagles decline the option, Wentz’s 2020 base salary morphs from $1.383MM to $31.383MM. As could be expected based on the franchise’s sizable commitment to its starting passer, the parties have already agreed that option will be picked up, Zangaro adds. As far as the 26-year-old quarterback’s new base salaries, they are as follows: $720K in 2019, $1.383MM in 2020, $3.9MM (2021), $18.5MM (2022), $18MM (2023) and $21MM (2024), per Yates.

  • Trent Williams remains at odds with the Redskins, with issues related to his contract and the team’s handling of his offseason medical issue coming between the parties. The nine-year veteran tackle underwent another procedure this week. This was, however, believed to be a minor cleanup related to the growth on his head, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • The Redskins’ running back group is deeper than it was last season, with Derrius Guice set to debut and Bryce Love arriving via fourth-round pick. While it’s not certain how much Love will be able to contribute as a rookie, due to his December ACL tear, the new cogs joining Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson may spell trouble for Samaje Perine. The third-year player, though, may have a chance to stick around as a fullback. “We tried him there a couple of times a couple of years ago,” Jay Gruden said, via J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. “I’m sure that he could probably do it. That’s an option, but he’s also a tailback in his mind and he wants the ball. Push comes to shove, if we need to have a fullback and he’s the only one here, then he surely could do it because he’s got the power to do it.” However, Gruden added Elijah Wellman and J.P. Holtz are more natural fits for this job, putting Perine’s roster spot in peril.
  • Washington made some adjustments to its staff this week. Cole Spencer and David Whittington will transition from college scouts to national scouting roles. Spencer previously served as the Redskins’ southeast area scout, which is notable due to the number of Alabama players on this roster. Northeast area scout Matt Evans will take over in Spencer’s former role in the southeast. Spencer has been with the Redskins for 10 years, while Whittington and Evans sport 11 and six years, respectively, with the organization. Additionally, the Redskins plucked a Pro Football Focus staffer, Connor Barringer, to become their football strategy analyst. It appears the team is beefing up its analytics commitment.

Eagles Notes: Jenkins, Wentz, Staff

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins did not report to team OTAs earlier this offseason in the hopes of renegotiating his contract. At the first day of minicamp on Tuesday, the veteran defender opened up about his desire for a new deal and said that both sides are still talking, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane tweets.

Though he wants to rework his current deal, Jenkins said he did not consider skipping minicamp, citing his relationship with owner Jeffrey Lurie and the need to be with his teammates as motivating factors for showing up.

Jenkins is under club control through 2020 thanks to a four-year, $35MM extension he signed three years ago, but after the safety market famously stagnated in 2018, it came back in 2019. Jenkins is now the 10th-highest-paid safety in the NFL in terms of total value, full guarantee, and per-year average.

“I’m happy whenever any other player gets paid,” Jenkins said, as tweeted by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Zach Berman. “You start to look at where you are and evaluate your position, just like anybody in any job. If you feel like you’re the best at what you do and there are other people out there making more than you, you want to renegotiate your contract make sure you’re getting the value you should be. Any business and any businessperson should think like that. I think any player should think like that.

As McLane notes, Jenkins and Lurie have a solid relationship and talks are ongoing, which should signal that a new deal could be in the offing before the start of the season.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • After an injury-plagued 2018 campaign, the Eagles decided to shake up their medical staff in 2019, McLane writes. The team parted way with its head physician and internist, Stephen Stache, and hired Arsh Dhanota to be the chief medical officer. Stache was in the position for just one season and the team saw a 57-percent increase in player injuries from the 2018 campaign.
  • Among the pros of Carson Wentz‘s new deal with the Eagles include the annual cap hit and his future potential, 94WIP’s Eliot Shorr-Parks writes. In his pros-and-cons list, Parks notes that his current average between $26 and 27MM a year would rank ninth among all quarterbacks, a significant value for the potential of the signal-caller, which is a top-five passer. The obvious con is the risk involved with a deal for a player riddled with injuries through his first three seasons in the league.

Reactions, Notes On Carson Wentz’s Extension

Earlier this week, the Eagles and Carson Wentz agreed to a four-year extension that would keep the quarterback in Philly through the 2024 season. The new-money figures include $128MM, with more than $107MM in total guarantees and $66MM guaranteed at signing. The contract can ultimately escalate to $144MM in new money.

Predictably, there have been plenty of notes and reactions pertaining to the extension. We’ve compiled the latest below:

  • While Wentz recently became eligible for an extension, the quarterback could have waited to see if he’d boost his earnings ceiling. However, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets that the 26-year-old was content with the more than $100MM in guaranteed money (along with the injury protections). Furthermore, if Wentz finds that his contract is a bargain in a few years, the quarterback is content knowing that the Eagles will have some extra money to spend elsewhere.
  • The extension locked up Wentz for the foreseeable future, and it also means that Eagles have a lot more clarity going forward. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie echoed this sentiment while talking with Dave Spadaro of the team website (Twitter link). “We found a wonderful quarterback and person a few years ago,” Lurie said (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “He’s everything you want in a franchise quarterback. To be able to plan ahead and know exactly that he’s going to be with us and build the roster in just the way that we want to do it, it means everything. It allows you to make smart decisions. We always wanted a terrific quarterback and a terrific person, and he embodies it in every way.”
  • While Lurie sounds excited about the Wentz extension, the owner is also pleased with the front office’s ability to lock up many of his teammates. “We’ve got a great young core, and we’ve got a great core that we’ve been able to extend,” Lurie said (via Williams). “It gives you the best chance to win. . . .I can’t be more excited about our season. I wish September were here now.”
  • Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that pundits could make an argument that it would have been better for the Eagles to wait a year before extending Wentz. After all, the quarterback has suffered injuries in each of his three NFL seasons. On the flip side, even if Wentz were to suffer another injury, McLane opines that he would have still garnered a lucrative contract. Furthermore, the organization may have saved some dough by extending Wentz ahead of Jared Goff and Dak Prescott.

Poll: Will Eagles Regret Carson Wentz Deal?

On Thursday night, the Eagles and Carson Wentz reached agreement on a massive new contract. The four-year add-on is worth $128MM in total with upwards of $107MM in overall guarantees. Meanwhile, Wentz reportedly gets $66MM guaranteed at signing, a huge haul for a player who has finished the last two seasons on IR.

Wentz nearly captured the league’s MVP trophy in 2017 before a season-ending ACL tear sidelined him and cleared the way for Nick Foles‘ legendary run to the Super Bowl. It was a similar story (albeit with a different ending) in 2018 – Wentz managed to throw for 21 touchdowns against seven interceptions in eleven games last year, but a back injury forced him to cede the starting role to Foles once again.

Wentz’ injury history is cause for concern, but the Eagles have doubled down with this colossal new deal. The club no longer has Foles as a safety net and Wentz, the former No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft, is now the first QB in the NFL signed through the 2024 season.

Of course, the market for top-end quarterbacks advances rapidly, so Wentz’s $32MM average annual value might not seem like a big deal by the time he enters Year Two of the extension. And, if Wentz returns to MVP-level form, it will prove to be a rather reasonable contract for the Eagles.

Ultimately, do you see this deal backfiring for Howie Roseman & Co.? Cast your vote below (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comment section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Wentz

The Cowboys didn’t spend lavishly on the safety position this offseason, but they did consider taking a safety in the second round, according to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star Telegram. Ultimately, they used their second round choice to grab defensive tackle Trysten Hill and did not address safety until the sixth round when they selected Texas A&M’s Donovan Wilson.

Here’s more on the Cowboys’ safety situation and more from the NFC East:

  • Through the first three weeks of OTAs, incumbent Jeff Heath is still ahead of newcomer George Iloka on the Cowboys‘ depth chart, according to Hill. Iloka was brought in to unseat Heath but, so far, that hasn’t happened.
  • For now, Carson Wentz‘s new deal looks to be a win-win for the Eagles and the quarterback, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Wentz netted upwards of $100MM in guarantees in the deal, but given the expected climb in the salary cap, it could quickly prove to be an under-market deal for Philly. At the same time, the new money average of $32MM is pretty high considering that Wentz has suffered season ending injuries in two consecutive Decembers. For reference, under the new money metric, Wentz trails only Russell Wilson ($35MM), Ben Roethlisberger ($34MM), and Aaron Rodgers ($32.5MM).
  • The Wentz deal is an aggressive one for the Eagles, but not a reckless one, Tim McManus of ESPN.com argues. The Eagles believe that they’ll save millions on the back end of the deal if Wentz returns to his MVP-caliber level of performance, though they know that it could backfire miserably if his injury issues creep up again. McManus also notes that Wentz could have been difficult through a long and drawn-out negotiating process, so there was plenty of reason to get a deal done now instead of kicking the can down the road.

Eagles, Carson Wentz Agree To Extension

The Eagles did not waste much time. They have come to terms on a four-year extension with Carson Wentz, the team announcing the deal. Negotiations commenced for at least a few weeks, and the 26-year-old quarterback is now committed to the Eagles through the 2024 season.

Wentz’s new-money figures: four years, $128MM, with more than $107MM in total guarantees and $66MM guaranteed at signing, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The contract can escalate to $144MM in new money, Schefter tweets. Two years remained on Wentz’s rookie deal, so in totality, this is a six-year, $154MM pact. While Wentz did not reach Russell Wilson‘s $35MM-per-year agreement — though, he did eclipse Wilson and all others in total guarantees — he comes in just below Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers in average annual value.

As a 2016 draftee, Wentz only became extension-eligible in January and has dealt with season-ending injuries in each of the past two years. But the Eagles continue to show tremendous faith in their centerpiece player. Wentz no longer has any limitations from the back injury that halted his 2018 season, but a player who also missed much of his senior season at North Dakota State due to injury (broken wrist) obviously brings risk to extend at a top-end price.

Torn knee ligaments ended Wentz’s bid to become the 2017 MVP, and Nick Foles proceeded to play so well in the playoffs a statue of he and Doug Pederson now stands outside of Lincoln Financial Field. Foles, whose late-season work keyed another Philadelphia playoff berth last season, is now in Jacksonville. The Eagles are clearly confident Wentz is their future. He will be 32 when this deal expires.

The Eagles gave the Browns plenty in trading up to the 2016 No. 2 slot to select a Division I-FCS quarterback, but his 2017 revealed immense potential. Wentz threw 33 touchdown passes in 13 games, and his 78.5 Total QBR ranked second that season. Last year, Wentz’s touchdown percentage predictably regressed — going from 7.5 to 5.2 — but his yards-per-attempt and completion percentages figures went up (7.7 yards and 69.6 percent, respectively). He finished an abbreviated 2018 season with 21 touchdown passes and seven interceptions, but the Eagles were just 5-6 in his starts (and 4-1 in Foles regular-season outings).

Howie Roseman has done well to keep the Eagles’ Super Bowl LII core in place long-term, having finalized 2019 deals with Brandon Graham and Jason Kelce as well. Key members of the championship team now signed through at least 2021: Wentz, Graham, Kelce, Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Lane Johnson and Fletcher Cox.

A promising young passer now signed long-term, this agreement will certainly change the quarterback market. It will provide a clearer road map for fellow 2016 draftees Jared Goff and Dak Prescott, the latter being a 2020 free agent, along with Patrick Mahomes when that time comes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Eagles’ Carson Wentz

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is progressing well from his back injury and sources say he has no limitations for on-field drills heading into the start of OTAs, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. The Eagles will be cautious with Wentz when things get underway on Tuesday, but he is expected to be involved in the majority of drills. 

Wentz has been unable to stay healthy the past couple of seasons, but the Eagles are all in-on the young QB after allowing Nick Foles to leave for the Jaguars. The 26-year-old was playing at an elite level in 2017 before tearing his ACL and LCL but was unable to really build off of that thanks to back problems in 2018.

Despite the health complications, the Eagles are already discussing an extension with Wentz that would take him beyond his fifth-year option season in 2020. That’s yet another sign that the Eagles believe in the long-term outlook of their franchise QB.

For his career, Wentz owns a 23-17 record, including an 11-2 mark in the 2017 season. Last year, Wentz completed a career-high 69.6% of his throws and threw for 21 touchdowns against seven interceptions in eleven games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.