Carson Wentz

Eagles Eyeing Quarterbacks In Draft?

During the pre-draft process, the Eagles have been doing some due diligence on a number of quarterbacks expected to be late-round selections in the upcoming draft, according to Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports, and he expects the team to come away with one. Mike Kaye of NJ.com examines four potential fits and what the fallout of their selections could mean for the other backup quarterbacks on the roster like Kyle Lauletta and Nate Sudfeld.

While no Day 3 pick would be expected to compete for the team’s starting job, held by Carson Wentz, his extensive injury history makes questions about the team’s backup a particular concern for the defending NFC East champs. Of course, Philly may be less focused on replacing Lauletta and Sudfeld and more so targeting a raw prospect who can develop next season on the team’s practice squad.

The 26-year old Sudfeld is entering his fourth NFL season but has only thrown 25 career passes. Just a 6th round pick out of Indiana in 2016, Sudfeld at one time, developed a decent reputation with some speculating he could be a starter elsewhere down the road. In fact, the Eagles applied a restricted-free agent tender on him just last offseason. However, this year as an unrestricted free agent his market was not quite as lively and he returned on a one-year, $2MM deal.

Lauletta was selected in the 4th round by the Giants in 2018, but general manager Dave Gettleman and co. waived him after just one season on the roster. The Eagles signed him to their practice squad last season, but their long-term vision for his role remains unknown. With such little proven talent behind the oft injured Wentz it makes sense that the team is looking at bringing in some competition.

Eagles Exercise Options On Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery, Others

The Eagles picked up Zach Ertz‘s 2021 option earlier today, but that wasn’t the front office’s only move. The NFL transactions report shows that the organization exercised the options on quarterback Carson Wentz, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, defensive end Brandon Graham, offensive guard Isaac Seumalo, and defensive lineman Malik Jackson.

As Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com writes, these moves were merely “procedural,” and similar to the Ertz move, they’re not all that surprising.

Jordan Dajani and Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports provide some helpful insight on these moves. For instance, Wentz’s option had to be exercised by today. Otherwise, his 2020 salary was set to jump to more than $30MM, and the remaining four years of his extension would be void. Instead, the quarterback will earn a $1.38MM base salary with a cap hit of $18.65MM.

The Jeffery move is a bit surprising, as the team was reportedly looking to move on from the wideout. On the flip side, the organization would have been hit with more than $16MM in dead cap by making the veteran a post-June 1st cut. Therefore, it’s not shocking to see the organization make a procedural move until they find a potential trade partner.

Per Dajani and Kerr, Graham will earn a $1.36MM base salary with a $6.28MM cap hit in 2020. Seumalo’s option bonus means the 2022-24 portion of his contract kicks in, while Jackson’s $2.4MM option bonus prevented his base salary from jumping to $10MM.

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Eagles Opinions: Jenkins, Backup QB, Ertz, Goedert

The Eagles will pay for deciding to wait on signing defensive back Malcolm Jenkins to an extension last season, according to Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP. Philadelphia declined to restructure Jenkins’ very team-friendly deal last offseason, but now the team faces a cap crunch on the rest of the roster as well. At 32 years old, there is reason to be concerned about giving Jenkins a large contract, but his production over the past few seasons has been on par with some of the best in the league.

Here’s some more commentary on the Eagles offseason:

  • Few teams require a better backup quarterback than the Eagles and Shorr-Parks identifies six plausible targets for Philly. Obviously, starter Carson Wentz has shown he has the potential to be an elite quarterback, but an extensive injury history will always make fans and team officials nervous about the team’s prospects if there is not a strong backup behind him. The Eagles, of course, were eliminated from the playoffs when Josh McCown had to play under center after a series of injuries at quarterback.
  • Zach Ertz expressed some apprehension about his future with the Eagles organization at the end of the season. With two years left on his contract, many were caught off guard by his cautious comments. However, Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer discusses the impact tight end Dallas Goedert could have on the Eagles (and Ertz’s) future. Goedert was selected in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft and has been an effective contributor for the Eagles. McLane points out that 49ers tight end George Kittle is set to reset the tight end market as well. The team’s confidence in Goedert combined with the increasing cost of tight ends could soon lead to Ertz’s departure.

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.

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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.

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