Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz Expected Healthy For Offseason Program

For the second consecutive season, an injury kept Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz out of the postseason in 2018. Unlike last season, however, the team’s franchise signal-caller is expected to be ready for the team’s offseason program in 2019, ESPN’s Adam Schefter writes

A stress fracture in his back sidelined the third-year quarterback for the final five games of the season. The Eagles once again rallied behind Nick Foles, however, made it to the playoffs and downed the NFC North champion Bears in the Wild Card round.

Though he will be healthy enough to take the field for the program in April, it remains to be seen if the Eagles want to run him back out there.

Schefter notes that some in the organization believe his back injury is related to the knee issues he had in 2017. There is no definitive proof to those theories, however.

With Foles expected to be starting in a new locale in 2019, the Eagles will not have the luxury of having arguably the league’s best backup should Wentz sustain another major injury in 2019.

Wentz looked the part of franchise quarterback when he was healthy in 2018. He finished the campaign with 3,074 yards and 21 touchdowns with a 69.6 completion percentage in 11 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Wentz, Foles, Packers

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz won’t get into details about the stress fracture in his back that has cost him time over the last two seasons. Apparently, GM Howie Roseman isn’t willing to discuss specifics either, as Les Bowen of the Daily News writes.

Carson talked about the injury [Monday] and coach [Doug] Pederson has talked about it, as well. I kind of stand by what they said,” Roseman said this week. “When we talk about injuries, injuries are of a personal nature. I don’t want to get involved in timetables or going backwards about it. We feel very good about where Carson’s going to be and having a full offseason, and we’re excited for him to have that.”

Wentz was on the official injury report with a back problem for two weeks in October. After that, he was off the injury report, until his back problems returned later in the year and ultimately shelved him. Many are left wondering whether the Eagles handled Wentz’s back problems appropriately and wondering if Wentz will be good to go for the 2019 season.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • The Eagles paid quarterback Nick Foles a $1MM signing bonus to account for the incentive he missed out on by just four snaps, Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Foles technically needed to play in 33% of the team’s snaps in order to cash on in the playoff bonus, but the Eagles decided to do right by their Super Bowl hero. Unfortunately for Philly, the good will gesture probably won’t be enough to keep Foles in the fold next year. Several teams are desperate for QB help and free agent riches await the veteran.
  • Matt LaFleur‘s desire to call plays and advance his career led him to leave a comfortable job with the Rams to become the Titans’ offensive coordinator. That initiative impressed GM Brian Gutekunst, which helped LaFleur land the Packers‘ head coaching job earlier this month. “Most of that was just talking to people who had coached with Matt, worked with him,” Gutekunst said (via Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette). “Then his presence in the (interview) room was positive as well. He had the whole offense (while) working for a defensive head coach this past year in Tennessee. Him actively seeking that opportunity and doing that this year made me feel pretty good about it.”

NFC Notes: Peat, Cowboys, Eagles, Crowder

Andrus Peat committed four penalties during the Saints‘ divisional-round win over the Eagles, and part of the reason for his struggles surfaced. The veteran guard suffered a broken hand in Week 17, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. NOLA.com’s Josh Katzenstein notes the Saints’ starting left guard broke his right hand. The injury during New Orleans’ meaningless regular-season finale led to Peat undergoing surgery during the bye week, Schefter adds. Against the Eagles, Peat played through “serious pain.” It is unclear if or how much Peat aggravated his injury on Sunday, and it’s not certain if he will be available to face the Rams. Though, Peat’s postgame comments do not point to him resting against Los Angeles. He played through ankle and quadriceps injuries this season and suffered a concussion. This was also the second straight year the Saints’ playoff opener has involved a Peat injury. The former first-round pick suffered a broken fibula during New Orleans’ wild card-round win last year and missed the Saints’ divisional game in Minnesota.

As the coaching carousel spins, here is the latest from the NFC’s non-coaching news cycle:

  • The Cowboys are among the league leaders in projected cap space, at $54MM-plus, but they are not expecting to be major players in free agency. “It doesn’t mean that we won’t play free agency at all; we just won’t be paying a high-profile free agent, more than likely,” VP Stephen Jones told 105.3 The Fan (via Jon Machota of the Dallas News on Twitter). “Never rule anything out all the way, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s going to be our strategy going into the offseason.” Dallas is likely saving money to pay its glut of extension-eligible young talents. Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Byron Jones and Jaylon Smith are now all eligible for re-ups. With Dallas also making Zack Martin the richest guard in football last year, big outside investments may not be realistic this offseason.
  • Speaking of playing through injury, Eagles wideout Alshon Jeffery played through cracked ribs against the Saints, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. An MRI last week revealed the injury. Jeffery dropped a Nick Foles pass that ricocheted into Marshon Lattimore‘s arms. This setback likely will not be nearly as troublesome for Jeffery to surmount as the one he played through in 2017. Jeffery’s previous shoulder issue caused him to miss all of Philadelphia’s offseason program and sidelined him into the 2018 season.
  • While a scenario may exist involving the Eagles franchise-tagging Foles and attempting to trade him, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (video link) expects the quarterback to hit the free agent market. Foles’ impending exit would further tether the Eagles to Carson Wentz, who has suffered season-ending injuries in back-to-back years. But Wentz said Monday doctors have assured him this back injury is not expected to linger long-term.
  • Elsewhere in the NFC East, the Redskins do not want to let another of their mainstay wide receivers walk as a free agent. Washington allowed both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson to depart in 2017, and while neither 30-something pass-catcher has matched his Washington work since, the Redskins have not been the same at wideout either. Jay Gruden said (via ESPN.com’s John Keim) the team wants to try to re-sign Jamison Crowder “for sure.” Crowder will not be looking at Jarvis Landry money but is a sneaky-interesting name that could be on the market. Although injuries plagued Crowder this season, limiting him to nine games (career-low 388 receiving yards), it will not be especially cheap for Washington to bring him back. “It’s a great time to be a slot receiver,” Crowder said, via Keim.

Latest On QBs Carson Wentz, Nick Foles

If the Eagles make the playoffs, they likely won’t have Carson Wentz under center… and that could mean extra money is coming Nick Foles‘ way. Appearing on Good Morning Football, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport discussed the various incentives in Foles’ contract, and he also touched on the Eagles potential offseason options regarding the veteran (Twitter link).

Rapoport notes that Foles has already earned $2MM in incentives this season, and he’ll earn another $250K if he can help lead the Eagles to the postseason. The veteran can also make $1MM for each playoff victory, providing him with plenty of options to boost his income. The Eagles can make the playoffs with a win today over the Redskins and a Bears victory over the Vikings.

If the Eagles do end up making the playoffs, they’ll likely be going forward without Wentz. The franchise quarterback has been dealing with a back injury for some time, and the organization has already effectively shut him down for the season. However, Rapoport says that Wentz will have a scan on his back at some point next week. The scan is intended to “see if he’s got a shot” to play in the postseason, so there’s apparently some optimism that we may see Wentz at some point during the playoffs.

Either way, the team is prepared to move forward with Wentz, as Rapoport says that “it’s clear” that Foles won’t be back in 2019. The reporter details two potential paths the organization could take with their veteran signal-caller. The front office could choose to pick up Foles’ $20MM mutual option, at which point Foles would be expected to pay $2MM to “buy” his way into free agency. Alternatively, the team could choose to franchise Foles, allowing them to then shop the player to any quarterback-needy teams.

If the Eagles season does end today, we’ll still be hearing plenty about the team’s quarterback situation throughout the offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Manning, Eagles, Foles, Wentz

Toward the beginning of the season, it seemed like a formality that Eli Manning wouldn’t be the Giants’ quarterback next year. The Giants were 1-7 and the season was circling the drain again, with Manning struggling heavily in his first year in Pat Shurmur’s offense. But the Giants then shockingly turned things around. They won four out of five games after that, znd very nearly pulled off a massive upset in Indianapolis this past Sunday.

Manning is suddenly having his best statistical season in many years, and his yards per attempt is the best it’s been since 2011. With all that’ happened, Manning won’t be getting any sort of send off this upcoming week in the Giants’ home finale, and fans shouldn’t write off Manning just yet, writes Ralph Vacchiano at SNY. The team isn’t planning anything special because they don’t view it as Manning’s last game as a Giant, and sources told Vacchiano that “it’s still more likely than not that he’ll be their starting quarterback again in 2019.” It’s a pretty surprising development, and it’ll be an epic comeback for Manning if he manages to hold onto the job for at least another year after his fate appeared all but sealed. With the Giants having won some games they’re no longer in a position to pick at the top of the draft, and the top quarterback or two could be gone by the time they’re up. What the Giants do at quarterback will surely be one of the most talked about storylines this offseason.

Here’s the latest from the NFC East on Christmas morning:

  • Speaking of the Giants, the team will likely be making a “series of roster moves” this week as the season winds down, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Daily News. Schwartz writes that the team isn’t going to officially shut down Odell Beckham Jr. yet and hopes that he can still return for Week 17, but several other players will be placed on IR. That likely means some practice squad call-ups are in order for the Giants’ last hurrah at home against the Cowboys, and a lot of young guys should see some action.
  • Over in Philadelphia, it’s been Deja Vu for the Eagles as Nick Foles has come in cold off the bench to lead them to a couple of crucial wins. Foles has the Eagles on the verge of making the playoffs after they were all but eliminated, and is really helping his future value in the process. With Foles set to be a free agent after the season, Tim McManus of ESPN took a look at Foles’ potential suitors this offseason, and what type of contract he might be looking at. McManus lists the Jaguars, Buccaneers, Dolphins, and Redskins as some of the potential landing spots, and thinks he’ll end up with a deal somewhere in the Case Keenum range of $18MM per year. Foles will have at least one more chance to boost his stock in Week 17 against the Redskins.
  • Speaking of Foles, coach Doug Pederson formally announced earlier this week that he’d start against Washington, but the team still isn’t placing Carson Wentz on injured reserve, according to Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP (Twitter link). Pederson cryptically said Foles would be the starter for “at least this week”, and refused to say whether or not Wentz could or would play if the team makes the playoffs. If Wentz is healthy enough to play and the team makes the playoffs, it would make for a fascinating dilemma.

Extra Points: Wentz, Gurley, Newton, Draft

Cam Newton will not play in the Panthersfinal two games, and Monday night was the tipping point. The eighth-year quarterback complained of shoulder pain in the fourth quarter of recent games, but Albert Breer of SI.com notes Newton was dealing with soreness in the third stanza of Carolina’s 12-9 loss to New Orleans. This, and the short week going into the Panthers’ Sunday game, prompted Ron Rivera and Marty Hurney to bring the idea of shutting the starter down to owner David Tepper. The rookie owner concurred with the coach and GM and then informed Newton of the plan, Breer adds. It’s unclear if Newton is dealing with anything beyond shoulder soreness, but he has not looked the same for weeks. And a national audience observed the former MVP’s throwing issues Monday.

Newton underwent shoulder surgery last year, sidelining him for much of the offseason. Two years remain on the 29-year-old QB’s contract, and how he recovers from this latest shoulder problem may determine the timetable the Panthers set for discussing another extension.

Here’s the latest from around the league going into Week 16:

  • Carson Wentz is set to join Newton in ending his season early, with back trouble shelving the Eagles‘ franchise passer. This, however, is not the first back issue Wentz has dealt with in his career. Wentz discovered a stress fracture in his back during his redshirt year at North Dakota State, Tim McManus of ESPN.com reports. This injury, suffered prior to his North Dakota State tenure, healed fairly soon and is not related to his current setback, per McManus. Still, this may be something for the Eagles to monitor as they determine how to proceed with Nick Foles or a possible replacement backup this coming offseason.
  • On the subject of NFC injuries, Todd Gurley has yet to resume running after he experienced knee inflammation, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com notes. The fourth-year Rams running back returned to Sunday’s game but has not practiced this week. He does not plan to do so the rest of this week but does expect to play against the Cardinals. With the Rams facing two bottom-end teams during the final two weeks of this season (the Cards and 49ers), and being effectively down two games to the Saints in the home-field advantage race, it would not be a surprise if Sean McVay rested Gurley until the playoffs. McVay rested Gurley and other starters in Week 17 of last season, even though the Rams were not locked into a seed. The Rams, who have not held a first-round bye since 2003, are one game up on the Bears for this year’s No. 2 seed.
  • Ohio State running back Mike Weber has taken a backseat to J.K. Dobbins during the past two seasons, but the first of the Buckeyes’ post-Ezekiel Elliott starters will declare for the 2019 draft. A redshirt junior, Weber announced his decision on Twitter. Weber finished his career with 2,580 yards, 5.9 per carry, and 24 rushing touchdowns. He did not make much of an impact in the passing game but may be a mid-round prospect come April.
  • The Lions worked out quarterback Joe Callahan and hosted three CFL tryouts — for wide receivers Bryant Mitchell, D’haquille Williams and Jordan WilliamsLambert — on Thursday, NFL reporter Howard Balzer tweets.
  • With reserve/futures decisions for non-playoff teams due soon (the first day such deals can be agreed to is New Year’s Eve), the Browns also worked out a CFL-to-NFL hopeful. Linebacker Sam Eguavoen auditioned for the Browns on Thursday, per Balzer (on Twitter).

NFC Notes: Eagles, Collins, Gurley, Panthers

Providing an interesting flashback, Nick Foles engineered the Eagles to a big win Sunday night. He is going to be Philadelphia’s starter next week against the Texans, Doug Pederson said Monday. However, unlike last season, Carson Wentz is not headed to IR after what is viewed as a season-ending injury, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The third-year starter is expected to miss the rest of the season because of a back problem, so an IR trip would make sense — unless the Eagles want Wentz around in case he can make a surprise recovery or be an emergency quarterback. Pederson added that the Eagles will not put Wentz in harm’s way. The Eagles remain committed to the former No. 2 overall pick, who is eligible for an extension at season’s end. Foles, though, has started during the team’s biggest wins the past two years and will have another chance to build a unique free agency case. Foles’ contract expires after the season.

The latest from the NFC here, continuing with a key Giants offseason decision:

  • Landon Collins is rehabbing an injury that is expected to impact him well into the offseason. The Giants safety said he risked further damage to his injured shoulder by continuing to play, though he said during an appearance on The Michael Kay Show (via ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan, on Twitter) he would have considered staying on the field if the Giants had beaten the Eagles to stay in a more realistic playoff pursuit at the time. Collins’ contract expires soon, and the Giants are not believed to have engaged in extension talks with him yet. Collins, though, would prefer to stay in New York and is, as of now, expecting to return (Twitter link via Raanan). The franchise tag — expected to be worth approximately $11.2MM for safeties — is likely, Raanan adds.
  • Another high-profile player might not be back with his current employer. Matt Kalil signed a somewhat surprising five-year, $55MM Panthers contract in 2017, and that deal still has guarantees going into 2019. The Panthers would be tagged with $14.7MM in dead-money charges if they released Kalil next year — and such a move would not net Carolina anything in cap savings — but The Athletic’s Joe Person notes (subscription required) the current sense is Kalil will be released. The Panthers have a new owner in David Tepper, and the GM that authorized the Kalil contract, Dave Gettleman, is now with the Giants. So, a cut-your-losses maneuver would add up more compared to if the decision-makers behind the contract were still in place. Kalil has spent all season on IR.
  • Todd Gurley‘s knee injury surely terrified millions of fantasy owners, and it would throw another wrench in a slumping Rams attack. But Sean McVay said Monday (via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry, on Twitter) Gurley is day-to-day with knee inflammation. This does not mean the All-Pro running back is a lock to face the Cardinals on Sunday, but it appears Gurley has dodged a multi-week injury and will be fine for the playoffs at the latest.
  • Greg Olsen underwent foot surgery on Monday, Person tweets. The Panthers’ Pro Bowl tight end said the procedure went well. Olsen is signed through the 2020 season, but the foot trouble that’s plagued him may not make it a lock he returns next year.

Eagles Remain Committed To Carson Wentz; Nick Foles Likely To Hit Free Agency

For the second year in a row, the Eagles will ask Nick Foles to lead them to the promised land after watching starting signal-caller Carson Wentz succumb to a season-ending injury. Foles will have a tall order, as he goes against the Rams in Los Angeles tonight before returning to Philadelphia to take on the Texans. And the Eagles, at 6-7, probably need to win out just to have a shot at defending their title.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com used Foles’ return to the starting lineup as an opportunity to take another look at the reworked contract that Foles and the Eagles agreed to back in April. The deal includes a mutual option for 2019 that allows the Eagles to keep Foles for $20MM if they so choose, or Foles could simply pay back the $2MM signing bonus he received as part of the deal to get out of the option. Given that Wentz is expected to fully recover from the fractured vertebra in his back, the Eagles will almost certainly not pick up Foles’ option, which means that he will hit free agency this offseason (after having the opportunity to add to his bank account thanks to the incentives in the contract).

Speaking of Wentz, Rapoport says it will take the third-year pro three months to make that full recovery, but the Eagles remain fully committed to him as their franchise quarterback (video link). The Eagles have yet to place him on IR, but he has been formally ruled out of tonight’s game against Los Angeles, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter).

Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer says that the team’s medical staff, which was facing mounting criticism anyway, will really come under fire now. Although Wentz should be fully healed in plenty of time for the 2019 offseason program, one does wonder when Wentz suffered the back fracture and how the team’s staff tested and treated it. McLane says it seems likely that Wentz sustained the injury back in October, but it remains unclear how much he knew about it. His experience, when coupled with the “inordinate number of irregularities in recurrence, recovery, and diagnosis” of the injuries the Eagles have suffered as a whole this year, make it fair to criticize the club for unloading its top two doctors and its head trainer after winning the Super Bowl.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles’ Carson Wentz Likely Done For Season

The Eagles will be without Carson Wentz on Sunday and probably won’t have him back at all this season. The team has not formally decided on whether to place him on injured reserve, but it’s likely that we won’t see the quarterback again until 2019, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

As it turns out, Wentz’s back injury is more serious than it initially appeared. After a battery of tests, the team learned that Wentz has a fracture in his back. Now, the Eagles are doing more tests to determine whether playing would put him at further risk (Twitter link). On the plus side, Wentz will not require surgery either way.

With that, the Eagles will head into a crucial Week 15 matchup against the Rams without Wentz. A win keeps them very much alive in the Wild Card chase, but a loss would require two more wins and a whole lot of luck to get them into the playoffs.

On the plus side, the Eagles may have the league’s best contingency plan in quarterback Nick Foles. On Sunday, he’ll make his first start since the Eagles’ Week 2 loss to the Bucs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles’ Carson Wentz To Miss Time

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is not expected to play this week, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Wentz has been dealing with a back issue and, depending on how things go on Sunday against the Rams, he may not play again in 2018. 

The NFC East ship has pretty much sailed, but the defending champs presently have an 18% chance of making the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight.com. A win against the Rams on Sunday night would go a long way towards improving their Wild Card odds, but they’ll be behind the 8-ball if they lose. If they can’t stop Todd Gurley & Co., Wentz will likely be shut down for the rest of the year.

Wentz came back this year from a torn ACL and LCL suffered late in the 2017 season. He hasn’t looked quite the same this year, in part because of his inability to properly plant on his left foot. Between that and the back issue, the Eagles are inclined to play it safe when it comes to their franchise quarterback.

The Eagles would obviously like to have Wentz as they take on one of the league’s most fearsome teams, but they are fortunate to have last year’s Super Bowl hero Nick Foles waiting in the wings. The Rams are also coming off of a tough loss to the Bears, so the absence of Wentz certainly doesn’t rule out an upset. If Foles can guide the Eagles to victory, they could conceivably have Wentz back in time for their Dec. 23 game against the Cardinals, depending on how the QB responds to treatment.

The Eagles are 5-6 in Wentz’s starts this year. He’s completing a career-high 69.6% of his throws, but he has thrown for just 21 touchdowns against seven interceptions. Last year, Wentz finished out with 33 TDs against seven INTs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.