Neither of the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff runs were led by Carson Wentz and, with Nick Foles gone, Wentz has to show that he can step up in 2019.
For the past two seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles have had tremendous luck at the backup quarterback position. Not only was Nick Foles able to hold down the fort with Carson Wentz out, but he garnered Philly legend status as the starting quarterback for each of the Eagles’ last two playoff runs. One of them even resulted in a Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots, where Foles would win Super Bowl MVP.
But now, Foles is gone. The former Eagle has moved down to Jacksonville, to the tune of a four-year, $88 million contract with the Jaguars. Whether or not Foles actually works out outside of Eagles head coach Doug Pederson’s system remains to be seen, but one thing we know for certain is that Carson Wentz is now firmly in the limelight in Philadelphia.
To recap, the Eagles traded up with the Cleveland Browns to take Wentz No. 2 overall in 2016. From there, he would show promise in his rookie year, and nearly had an MVP season locked down in his sophomore campaign. Disaster struck, and Wentz tore his ACL in a late-season game against the Los Angeles Rams, derailing his fantastic season.
More from NFL Spin Zone
- New York Jets: 3 Key storylines to follow in 2020 training camp
- Philadelphia Eagles could be making play for Yannick Ngakoue
- 6 NFL players ready to make the leap in their third seasons
- Washington NFL team to change Redskins nickname: Odds for new name
- 2021 NFL Draft: Steelers turn the page at quarterback in first-round mock draft
During his comeback season in 2018, Wentz suffered back spasms which kept him out of the playoffs.
Of course, this was never something in Wentz’s control. But that doesn’t change the fact that 2019 will be the toughest test yet for the North Dakota State product. The NFC East is improving rapidly, as the Washington Redskins are getting universal praise for their draft. The Dallas Cowboys are always going to play the Eagles tough as one of their arch-rivals.
Beyond just getting back into the playoffs again, Wentz’s contract is coming up. With the quarterback market the way it currently is, the Eagles are almost a sure bet to exercise Wentz’s fifth-year option before negotiating a deal with him. His 2019 performance is paramount to his first non-rookie contract, even more so than his fifth year in 2020, while negotiations are probably already ongoing.
With playoff pressure, as well as financial pressure, weighing down on him, Wentz needs to bounce back and have a clean year in 2019. The Eagles can work towards another Super Bowl appearance with a fully healthy, but with backups in the form of Cody Kessler and rookie Clayton Thorson, it’s unlikely that they would be able to produce in the same way Foles once did.
It’s now up to Carson Wentz to recreate his near-MVP performance in 2017 and finish strong in his fourth professional year.