Carson Wentz

Chiefs Pursued QB Carson Wentz In 2023

It became well known the Chiefs wanted JuJu Smith-Schuster in 2021. The veteran wide receiver said the Chiefs finished second to a Steelers return, but the AFC West power kept him on the radar and made the signing a year later. Kansas City appears to have executed a similar strategy at quarterback.

Carson Wentz spent an unexpectedly long period in free agency last year, not joining a team until the Rams added him as Matthew Stafford insurance in November. The Chiefs, it turns out, talked to the former No. 2 overall pick early in free agency. Wentz’s approach at the time led the team to move on, with Blaine Gabbert instead joining the club (and collecting a second Super Bowl ring).

We talked to him last year when we were talking to Blaine and [Wentz] was holding off for an opportunity possibly to start,” Andy Reid said this week. “But it was good to get him in this position and if he has an opportunity to play, he has an opportunity to play. But he’s really handled it well since he’s been here. He’s a good football player.”

Wentz, 31, is now on his fifth team in five years. The Eagles and Colts traded the ex-North Dakota State standout, and the Commanders — after benching their preferred starter for a stretch — released him in late February 2023. No Wentz connections to any team emerged until he is believed to have reached out to the Jets following Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear, but it is certainly possible — given the resumes — the Chiefs wanted Wentz over Gabbert.

Gabbert ended up signing with the Chiefs for barely the veteran minimum. The Chiefs used Gabbert as their starter in a meaningless Week 18 game; Wentz received the call for the Rams, who rested starters in the regular-season finale, in a game that doubled as a free agency audition.

Gabbert is going into his age-35 season; Wentz will turn 32 in December. The Chiefs have the latter on a one-year deal worth $3.33MM ($2.2MM guaranteed). Wentz has only started one game against the Chiefs — a 27-20 Eagles loss in October 2017, Alex Smith‘s final year as Kansas City’s starter — but certainly has extensive starting experience. Patrick Mahomes‘ new backup has made 93 career starts.

The Rams turned to Jimmy Garoppolo to take Wentz’s old job, continuing a run of reclamation efforts behind Stafford. Wentz becomes the Chiefs’ third QB2 in three seasons, with Gabbert having succeeded four-year backup Chad Henne. Mahomes has missed some memorable stretches, leaving a 2020 divisional-round game due to a concussion and then missing a short span during a 2022 second-round matchup. The two-time MVP missed two games during the 2019 season as well. Wentz is now the next in line should Kansas City’s seventh-year starter miss time.

QB Carson Wentz Addresses Chiefs Deal

After spending much of the 2023 season without a deal, Carson Wentz secured his next pact much earlier with respect to the 2024 campaign. The former No. 2 pick joined the Chiefs on a one-year deal, one which came about after discussions with a former teammate familiar with coaches Andy Reid and Matt Nagy.

Wentz decided to sign with Kansas City in part due to the strong reference Reid and Nagy received from Nick Foles. Wentz explained in the wake of his deal becoming official that Foles spoke well of the coaching pair due to his time spent with them as an Eagles and Chiefs signal-caller.

“I remember all the good things [Foles] had to say about his time here,” Wentz said, via ESPN’s Adam Teicher“He absolutely loved it. He loved working with those guys, and those things he said to me back then definitely still rang true in my head as I was making this decision… Those things were definitely a factor and gave me a little more peace and comfort in knowing what I was getting into.”

The 31-year-old held a number of starting positions as he bounced around the league in recent years. After putting up underwhelming totals with the Colts and Commanders in 2021 and ’22, though, Wentz did not land a deal this past season until joining the Rams in November. Los Angeles elected to bring in Jimmy Garoppolo to serve as Matthew Stafford‘s backup, leaving Wentz in need of a new team.

By heading to Kansas City, he will earn $2.2MM guaranteed while backing up Patrick Mahomes. Wentz could earn another $1.1MM via incentives, and his success (should he see the field during the 2024 season) will of course depend in large part on his ability to mesh well within Reid and Nagy’s scheme. In the event that were to take place, Foles’ recommendation would prove to be an effective one and Wentz could play his way into an extended stay in Kansas City.

Chiefs Sign QB Carson Wentz

APRIL 6: Wentz’s one-year deal has a base value of $3.325MM, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The deal includes $2.2MM in guaranteed money, and Wentz can earn another $1.1MM via per-game active roster bonuses.

This is a solid improvement on the one-year, $1.3MM deal that Wentz signed with the Rams in November. Of course, it’s also a massive drop from the four-year, $128MM deal he signed with the Eagles in 2019.

APRIL 1: Patrick Mahomes has a new backup. The Chiefs have signed veteran Carson Wentz, according to Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz. The veteran QB got a one-year deal from Kansas City.

The former second-overall pick spent the 2023 campaign as Matthew Stafford‘s backup on the Rams. Wentz ended up getting into two games, including a start against the 49ers in the regular season finale. The 31-year-old completed 17 of his 24 pass attempts in that game, throwing for 163 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in an eventual Rams victory. Wentz was also active on the ground in that game, compiling 56 yards and a touchdown on 17 rushes.

The Rams ended up pivoting in a different direction at QB2 this offseason, signing Jimmy Garoppolo despite the veteran’s impending suspension. That move all but ended Wentz’s chances of re-signing in Los Angeles, but he’s apparently landed on his feet with the defending Super Bowl champs.

Chad Henne served as Mahomes’ backup for a few years before Blaine Gabbert took on the QB2 role in 2023. Gabbert ended up getting into a pair of games for Kansas City (including one start), tossing three interceptions. The former first-round pick hit free agency after the season, leaving the Chiefs with only Chris Oladokun and Ian Book as the backup quarterbacks.

Wentz will surely slide into that primary backup role, with the veteran bringing 93 games of starting experience to Kansas City. He got his last extended look as a starter with Washington in 2022. In seven starts (eight appearances) that season, Wentz completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 1,755 yards, 11 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Wentz was briefly demoted to QB2 after returning from a fractured finger, but he regained the starting gig down the stretch of that season.

Of course, the Chiefs are hoping Wentz will barely see the field in 2024. Mahomes has been incredibly healthy in his six years as a full-time starter, only missing four regular season games.

Rams To Start Carson Wentz In Week 18

The Rams have clinched a playoff berth, doing so after a lower-key offseason pointed the team toward a retooling year. But Los Angeles is not locked into a seed just yet. Nevertheless, the team will rest its starting quarterback in Week 18.

Matthew Stafford will take a seat for the Rams’ regular-season finale, per’s Mike Garafolo, with Carson Wentz taking the reins for the first time since his November arrival. The Rams added Wentz after Brett Rypien struggled in relief of Stafford in Green Bay.

Los Angeles’ loss in Green Bay is suddenly relevant. If the Packers beat the Bears and the Rams lose to what will likely be a cast of 49ers second-stringers, Green Bay becomes the NFC’s No. 6 seed and Los Angeles drops to the No. 7 spot. The Cowboys and Lions, respectively, are the likely Nos. 2 and 3 seeds in the NFC. This could conceivably derail a Stafford return to Detroit in Round 1, though the 49ers will not be at full strength after having clinched home-field advantage in the NFC bracket.

Wentz signed a one-year deal worth $733K with the Rams on Nov. 7 and immediately became Stafford’s backup. The Rams have seen their starter return to form this season, operating as one of the NFC’s best quarterbacks after multiple injuries nagged him in 2022. Wentz, 31, has now had nearly two months to learn Sean McVay‘s playbook. This represents an audition opportunity for the scrutinized passer, who was not closely linked to a team before the Rams agreement came to pass.

The Eagles, Colts and Commanders have respectively moved on from Wentz over the past three offseasons. After he produced a solid TD-INT ratio in Indianapolis (27 TDs, seven picks), Wentz finished poorly and saw Jim Irsay effectively order him to be dealt. The Commanders traded two third-round picks for the former No. 2 overall choice, but after a season in which Wentz did not get his job back for several weeks after returning from a hand injury, Washington released him to create considerable cap space. Last season, Wentz threw 11 touchdown passes and nine INTs — three of the picks coming in a Week 17 start against the Browns. The Commanders benched him for Sam Howell in Week 18 of last season.

Baker Mayfield‘s signs of life in McVay’s offense helped land him a starting job this season, but Wentz will obviously have a smaller window to showcase his form. But the former Eagles extension recipient will have a chance to play before likely returning to free agency in March.

Rams QB Matthew Stafford Expected Back In Week 11

NOVEMBER 16: Stafford returned to practice in full on Wednesday, and he said (via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic) he expects to do the same during the rest of the week. The veteran added he originally thought his thumb injury was worse than it was, but a strong next few days will pave the way for his return. That will be a welcomed development for a Rams team looking to improve on its 3-6 start.

NOVEMBER 13: Matthew Stafford is expected to be back under center for the Rams in Week 11. Coach Sean McVay told reporters that his starting QB should be good to go for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks (via ESPN’s Sarah Barshop).

“He’s making great progress, and so we’re operating with the anticipation and expectation that he is going to be good to go,” McVay said. “He’ll be pushing through, but we expect him to be able to start and play and do his thing and lead the way this week.”

Stafford injured the UCL in his thumb back in Week 8. The Rams went with Brett Rypien in Week 9, and the organization ended up moving on from the backup following that loss to the Packers. Barring an unexpected setback, newly-signed Carson Wentz will be the Rams QB2 moving forward. McVay spoke on the Rams’ QB switch, noting that the front office viewed the move as a clear upgrade.

“[We] feel good about Matthew returning, and obviously when he’s out there, you feel great about the leadership and everything that he provides, but god forbid if something were to happen where he weren’t available, felt like this would offer an opportunity for somebody that’s played a lot of high level football to get him in here [and] get him kind of familiar with some of the things that we’re doing,” McVay said.

Thanks to the Rams’ Week 10 bye, Stafford has had two weeks to recover from his thumb injury. While the veteran’s completion percentage and TD percentage are among the lowest of his career, the Rams offense will surely welcome back their starter.

Rams QB Matthew Stafford Still Not Contemplating Retirement

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is 35 years old, has a Super Bowl ring, and has earned over $320MM from his playing career. He is also in the midst of his second consecutive subpar season and is currently dealing with a UCL sprain after having suffered through elbow troubles and a spinal contusion in 2022. Add it all up, and it stands to reason that there would be some retirement speculation surrounding the No. 1 overall pick of the 2009 draft, just as there was around this time last year.

Stafford, however, is having none of it. On a recent episode of The Pat McAfee Show, the Georgia product made it clear that he is still not contemplating retirement (video link).
“I love playing this game, I love competing,” Stafford said (h/t Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk). “I love being in the locker room. I’ll never get that again, so I get as many opportunities to do that as I can. I love this team, I love the city, it’s been a blast. Obviously had a lot of success in our first year and trying to duplicate that this year, next year, whenever it is. I enjoy playing too much to hang it up.”
Stafford did concede, when asked if he plans to keep playing “until the wheels fall off,” that his wheels are “wobbling a little bit right now as we speak,” and that he will likely not play “until the wheels completely fall off.” Nonetheless, it seems certain that he will return in 2024.
From a purely financial perspective, there is no reason for Stafford not to suit up next season. On the third day of the 2023 league year in March, the Rams picked up the veteran passer’s 2023 option bonus and his 2024 salary, and he is therefore due a fully-guaranteed $31MM next season. Los Angeles may or may not have attempted to trade Stafford prior to incurring those costs, but after a mediocre and injury-marred 2022, it was never likely that another team would subject itself to the same financial burden by acquiring Stafford. And unless Stafford dramatically improves on his 2023 performance to date — in eight games this season, he has completed less than 60% of his passes for eight touchdowns and seven interceptions — GM Les Snead should not expect to receive any trade inquiries when the 2024 league year begins.
As such, the Rams and Stafford appear to be heading for at least one more year together (he is under club control through 2026). But since Stafford’s 2024 cap hit checks in at a whopping $49.5MM, Snead may at least approach his signal-caller about some sort of restructure, or even a pay cut.
In related news, the Rams did reach out to newly-acquired QB2 Carson Wentz earlier this season, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes in a subscribers-only piece. However, Los Angeles did not circle back to Wentz until after the since-waived Brett Rypien disappointed in the club’s Week 9 loss to the Packers on Sunday, and Fowler reports that the Rams’ contract offer represented the first “tangible opportunity” Wentz received since he was released by Washington in February. Wentz may therefore be in for another lengthy stay on the free agent market in 2024, though it is conceivable that he impresses the Rams’ staff enough to return as Stafford’s backup next season.

Rams To Sign QB Carson Wentz

NOVEMBER 9: Wentz will receive a $150K signing bonus as part of the deal, along with a prorated portion of the veteran’s minimum, per ESPN’s Field Yates. The veteran will therefore earn $733K over the course of the next few months in his new home. QB2 duties await Wentz when Stafford is healthy, but any playing opportunities afforded to him will give the former a chance to earn a free agent deal much sooner in 2024 than this 2023 contract.

NOVEMBER 7: After struggling without Matthew Stafford in Week 9, the Rams will make a big move at quarterback. They have agreed to terms with Carson Wentz, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson reports, ending a lengthy free agency stay for the former No. 2 overall pick by placing him on their practice squad.

While Wentz has not been closely connected to a team since his Commanders release, the longtime Eagles starter was mentioned as an option for a few after injuries struck. With Stafford loosely on track to return after a thumb injury sidelined him in Week 9, it will be the Rams who make the move. The Rams will release QB Dresser Winn from their practice squad in a corresponding move.

The Rams attempted to reacquire John Wolford last week, but the Buccaneers promoted him to their 53-man roster to nix that effort. Brett Rypien, who signed with the team after the draft, started in place of Stafford and struggled in Green Bay. It is uncertain if Wentz will be viewed as ready to replace Stafford if needed in Week 11, but he would have a longer onramp compared to Baker Mayfield. The Rams have experience in readying a QB to make an immediate cameo, turning to Mayfield two days after claiming him. Los Angeles’ bye also arrives in Week 10, giving Wentz some time to begin learning Sean McVay‘s offense.

McVay said he expects Stafford to be ready following the Rams’ bye week, but the team has higher-profile insurance in Wentz. Stafford, 35, has seen his run of durability halt in L.A. After a nagging elbow injury affected his 2022 offseason, the Super Bowl-winning QB missed a chunk of last season due to a spinal contusion. Stafford made the first eight starts for the Rams this season; the thumb issue intervened to provide another pause for the 15th-year passer.

Wentz and the Rams had been working on a deal Monday night, per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue. This will be Wentz’s fourth team (and fourth in four seasons). After the one-time MVP frontrunner’s 2021 Eagles split, the Colts dumped him in March 2022. Requiring higher-end trade compensation to move to both Indianapolis and Washington, Wentz was simply released this year. The 30-year-old passer trained for months with an eye on a 2023 re-emergence and reached out to the Jets about an opportunity following Aaron Rodgers‘ Week 1 Achilles tear. Gang Green stuck with Zach Wilson, and Wentz ended up waiting until midseason to reenter the league.

It is safe to say Wentz’s stock has tanked since it once required a first-round pick to acquire him in 2021. Jim Irsay insisted the Colts trade Wentz following the 2021 season — a 27-touchdown, seven-interception slate that ended ignominiously, with the unvaccinated QB missing practice time due to a COVID-19 contraction and the Colts losing their final two games to squander a playoff opportunity — and the Commanders benched a player they surrendered two third-rounders for midway through last season. Wentz suffered a fractured finger in October 2022, but after Taylor Heinicke helped the Commanders resurface in the wild-card race, Ron Rivera kept Wentz on the bench. Washington gave Wentz a start in Week 17; he threw three interceptions to dash any Commanders hopes of a last-ditch playoff rally.

The Rams did not make a notable attempt to keep Mayfield, letting him sign with the Bucs on a one-year, $4MM deal. They moved to Rypien, whose backup role became solidified after fifth-round pick Stetson Bennett landed on the reserve/NFI list in September. The two-time national champion remains on L.A.’s NFI list. While Rypien remains on the team’s 53-man roster — after the Jets showed interest in poaching him earlier this season — Wentz will move into position to become Stafford’s backup.

While Wentz has his share of critics, he obviously has enjoyed periods of NFL success. He was all but certain to claim MVP honors in 2017, but a December ACL tear scuttled that path. Nick Foles both replaced Wentz and piloted the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title, from the No. 1 seed Wentz led the Eagles to clinch, and then ignited Philadelphia’s 2018 squad after the starter sustained another season-ending injury. Wentz did lead a receiver-thin Eagles team to the playoffs in 2019, but he struggled in 2020, leading he and Doug Pederson out the door. Last season, Wentz threw 11 touchdown passes and nine interceptions, averaging just 6.4 yards per attempt. He went 2-5 as a Commanders starter.

The Rams had the opportunity to draft Wentz seven years ago, but their trade-up maneuver — which occurred before the Eagles’ climb — was for Jared Goff. Wentz’s 2019 Eagles extension also framed the Rams’ ensuing Goff re-up. The Rams have Stafford tied to a four-year, $160MM extension that runs through 2026. The team is believed to have dangled the veteran starter in trades, though scant interest emerged after an injury-plagued 2022. Wentz will at least represent better depth for the Rams, who enter their bye week at 3-6.

Jets Not Aiming To Add Another Veteran QB

The Jets will head into a third straight game with a Zach WilsonTim Boyle QB depth chart, with practice squad addition Trevor Siemian not on track to be elevated in time for New York’s matchup against Kansas City. For the foreseeable future, Siemian looks to be it regarding Jets QB additions.

Although Siemian does not profile as a player who will be an open-and-shut upgrade on Wilson, he represents the organization’s move. In the wake of Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear, the Jets did not want to bring in a starter-caliber quarterback like Carson Wentz or Matt Ryan due to the quarterback controversy such a move would have incited, per the New York Post’s Brian Costello. Instead, the Jets wanted to give Wilson the best chance to succeed. Robert Saleh‘s endorsements are in line with that plan.

[RELATED: Rodgers Not Ruling Out Return This Season]

So far, Wilson has not shown notable improvement, despite the Jets’ party line depicting offseason progress from the former No. 2 overall pick. The Jets’ inaction regarding a surefire upgrade effort also stems from finances, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, who said during an appearance on Fox Sports’ Undisputed the team already devoting a substantial amount of cash to its QB spot — via the Rodgers trade — has impacted its willingness to chase another passer. Both Wentz and Ryan reached out to the team, with Costello adding Ryan indeed did so (despite the ex-Falcons and Colts starter denying he wants to step away from his CBS announcing gig).

Only the Browns and Ravens have outspent the Jets in terms of 2023 cash, with Gang Green at nearly $277MM. In terms of cap space, the Jets hold just more than $8MM, which ranks 11th in the NFL. The directive aimed at instructing the Jets to make do with that they have at quarterback came from the top down, Anderson adds.

While Woody Johnson confirmed a willingness to spend for a veteran upgrade this offseason, it looks like — for the time being, at least — the Jets will not double down on the position after acquiring Rodgers. The Jets prefer to use their practice squad as the gateway to a QB addition, Anderson notes. This would mean a Siemian elevation or eventual promotion to the active roster.

Names like Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill have circulated as potential Jets options. Cousins, who would cost the Vikings $10MM in dead money to move, has a no-trade clause. The Titans did not touch Tannehill’s base salary this offseason. With that number sitting at $27MM, the Jets would need to make considerable cap adjustments or push the Titans to eat a portion of his contract. Wentz remains unattached. Despite coming into the league via an Eagles trade-up to No. 2 overall, a move Philadelphia made when current Jets GM Joe Douglas was part of its front office, no traction has emerged regarding the now-well-traveled QB being signed.

Siemian spoke with the Jets shortly after Rodgers went down, and while the team opted to stand pat at quarterback through Week 3, Costello adds Siemian reached out again this week to see if they were still interested. The former seventh-round pick, who went into the 2019 season as Sam Darnold‘s Jets backup, is now 31 and has been with seven teams — if his Cincinnati offseason stay is counted. Siemian has made 30 career starts but has been a backup since the Broncos traded him to the Vikings in 2018.

Siemian joined Chad Henne, Colt McCoy and Brett Rypien as players the Jets contacted. Interest was not mutual regarding some of the players the Jets contacted, Anderson adds. The Jets inquired about signing Rypien off the Rams’ practice squad, a move that would have vaulted the ex-Broncos backup to the Jets’ active roster for at least three weeks, but Los Angeles instead promoted him to its 53-man unit.

With Wilson-driven locker-room frustration again surfacing, it will be interesting to see if the Jets change their low-cost approach to QB staffing in this emergency circumstance. The team had mostly relied on rookie-contract QBs since the Brett Favre move 15 years ago, prompting the Rodgers swing. With Wilson’s QBR ahead of only Justin Fields‘ number, the Jets are paying for not acquiring a veteran backup and instead keeping Wilson in that role this offseason. The team’s Week 7 bye might be the point a reassessment occurs.

QBs Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan Reached Out To Jets

SEPTEMBER 25: In an interview with colleague Brandon Baylor, Ryan shot down speculation he has discussed a Jets deal (video link). Citing an enjoyment of the early days of his broadcasting career, Ryan added he has “no interest in doing that right now” with respect to taking on a mid-season New York starting gig. Jets head coach Robert Saleh has repeated his confidence in Wilson anyway, so a return to the playing field for Ryan remains unlikely at this point.

SEPTEMBER 24: The Jets have yet to make an addition at the quarterback position in response to Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear, with Zach Wilson in place to serve as the team’s starter in his absence. New York has received interest from a pair of notable free agent veterans, though.

Jay Glazer reported on Fox Sports’ pregame show that Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan have reached out to the Jets about a potential deal. Notably, though, he adds the team has not shared their interest in working out an agreement. Both veterans are among the experienced signal-callers available to the Jets, a team which has held talks with free agent passers but has yet to add an outside option.

Ryan was released from the Colts after his one-season Indianapolis tenure proved to be a disappointment. The former MVP has taken a broadcasting gig with CBS, but he has made it clear on multiple occasions he would be interested in another playing opportunity if one presented itself. Ryan’s name has been floated as a potential option for the Jets, but it has not been expected the 38-year-old would find himself in New York’s plans.

Wentz likely represents the top signal-caller still unsigned at the moment, but he has burned through multiple starting opportunities in recent years. After leading the league in interceptions in 2020, the season in which he lost the Eagles No. 1 role to Jalen Hurts, Wentz followed that up with a one-and-done campaign with the Colts. He spent last year with the Commanders, and his Washington release came as no surprise with the decision to move on to Sam Howell in the nation’s capital.

The Jets have been adamant about keeping Wilson atop the depth chart, citing confidence in the former No. 2 pick’s growth this past offseason under Rodgers’ tutelage. Only Tim Boyle remains in place as a backup for the time being, but the team has been linked to the likes of Brett RypienColt McCoy and Chad Henne regarding potential free agent additions. Only the latter two have been contacted by the team so far, but other options are willing to explore a deal if the Jets wish to expand their pool of targets.

Eagles Were Split On Jalen Hurts’ Trajectory During 2020 Draft

The Eagles’ 2020 first-round decision generated some intrigue, especially as Justin Jefferson made a quick ascent to the All-Pro level and put together the most prolific three-year receiving stretch to start a career in NFL history. The Eagles were split on Jefferson and Jalen Reagor, going with the latter, who was preferred by Howie Roseman and the team’s coaching staff.

That call obviously proved incorrect, with Reagor now one of Jefferson’s sidekicks in Minnesota after an August 2022 trade. But the Eagles made a better choice, albeit an unexpected one, a round later. An extensive research effort into Jalen Hurts, which had begun during his senior year at Oklahoma, led Philly to pull the trigger on the ex-Sooners quarterback in Round 2. The move came despite the organization having extended Carson Wentz less than a year prior.

The Eagles decided on Hurts over safety Jeremy Chinn, with some in the organization preferring to add the Southern Illinois product — who later went to the Panthers at the end of Round 2 — instead of taking a quarterback so early. Again, the Roseman-Doug Pederson preference won out.

Coach Pederson and myself liked Jeremy Chinn, but our job is to determine the vision and then make sure it’s executed,” Roseman said, via The Athletic’s Dan Pompei (subscription required). “So when we were on the clock and having those conversations, it really came down to the quarterback versus safety. The quarterback we like. The safety we like. We’re going with the quarterback.”

Hurts as a second-round option came about partially because the organization did not want a repeat of 2012, when it intended to take Russell Wilson in the third round before seeing the Seahawks swoop and taking the future Pro Bowl mainstay at No. 75. With no pro days in 2020 — due to the COVID-19 pandemic — the Eagles did not have a good idea how other teams valued Hurts, with Pompei adding the team believed it was possible the ex-Oklahoma and Alabama passer fell into Round 3. But the Wilson experience helped lead to the Eagles ruling out the prospect of waiting until Round 3 for Hurts.

Philly made that pivotal pick at No. 51 overall, leading to outside skepticism due to Wentz’s presence. Some inside the Eagles’ building were not entirely sold on Hurts as well.

[Hurts] was a polarizing figure in the sense that some people liked him, some saw him as a developmental quarterback and some thought he was a backup,” former Eagles exec Ian Cunningham, now the Bears’ assistant GM, said (via Pompei). “I thought he was a developmental quarterback that had upside.”

At the time, the team based the move on wanting a better backup option behind Wentz. Teams do not exactly make a habit of choosing backup QBs in Round 2, but the Eagles have needed a number of QB2 contributions this century. Donovan McNabb went down with a broken ankle during the 2002 season, leading to A.J. Feeley and Koy Detmer seeing extensive time for an Eagles team that earned the NFC’s top seed. McNabb was lost for the year late in the 2006 season, moving UFA addition Jeff Garcia into the fray. The organization’s controversial decision to sign Michael Vick after his prison term in 2009 led to him replacing McNabb in 2010, and 2012 third-rounder Nick Foles eventually usurped Vick three years later. Foles delivered one of the NFL’s most famous fill-in performances in 2017, taking over for an injured Wentz to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl title. The Eagles, however, soon made bigger plans for Hurts.

The Eagles cleared the Hurts move with Wentz, with Pederson calling his then-starter to inform him of the pick. But the five-year Eagle struggled in 2020, leading to a late-season benching. The Eagles soon traded Wentz to the Colts, and Jeffrey Lurie angled for the organization not to bring in a starter-caliber QB in 2021. That led to Hurts being given a legitimate opportunity. Lurie was believed to be behind Hurts, even when Roseman had questions about his ceiling, and the Eagles — after showing interest in Wilson and Deshaun Watson — stuck with the former second-rounder last year.

Philly staying with Hurts turned out to be a seminal decision, as the team booked another Super Bowl berth. The Eagles went 16-1 in games Hurts started prior to the Chiefs matchup, with the third-year QB showing significant improvement as a passer. Hurts’ 2022 season earned him a then-record-setting five-year, $255MM extension from the Eagles in April. The Eagles also greenlit their Wentz extension shortly after he became extension-eligible; they will hope the Hurts Year 4 investment turns out better.