By Tom Brennan

The Eagles have been dangling overpaid, underachieving quarterback Carson Wentz for more than a week, and there are crickets from the rest of the league.

The problem for little Howie Roseman, the Eagles GM, is that he set himself up to fail.

First, he puffed up Wentz based on his near-MVP season in 2017, which ended prematurely when he wrecked his knee in Week 11 in LA.

Then, after a so-so 2018, Roseman massively overpaid Wentz, who suffered a back injury which he played through.

Then Wentz endured a brutal hit in a 2019 playoff game that left him with a concussion.

His 2020 season was woeful. He led the league in turnover-worthy plays (24) despite only playing in 12 games.

His overall PFF grade was just 65.0, 34th out of 42 qualifiers, sitting just above Drew Lock and Mitchell Trubisky, neither of whom will be wanted as a starter in 2021. But it was Wentz who had the highest rate of negatively graded plays in the league.

It wasn’t all his fault, but Wentz struggled hugely this season, causing major headaches for an Eagles team that has not yet even seen his four-year, $128 million extension kick in.

That MVP-caliber season is the Eagles’ strongest bargaining chip with any potential trade partner.

Teams have no faith that somebody like Trubisky has that ceiling anymore; even though he was also a high draft pick, he hasn’t shown anything resembling that play in the NFL. Wentz, on the other hand, has shown it at the NFL level, and that’s a powerful memory for teams that need a savior at the position.

Carson Wentz: PFF grades and rank since 2016 (regular season only)
Season No. of dropbacks PFF grade Rank
2016 662 69.9 22 of 39
2017 502 84.9 6 of 42
2018 448 79.4 14 of 39
2019 679 76.5 14 of 39
2020 509 65.0 34 of 42

If the belief is that Wentz can be pieced back together and emerge as an MVP straight from the shadows of 2017, it’s worth taking a look at that season with fresh eyes.

Wentz was genuinely fantastic that year. He earned an overall PFF grade of 84.9 — 20 grading points higher than his grade this past year — and ranked just behind New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Time and time again, he made huge plays on critical downs and in important situations to extend drives and score points. His grade on third and fourth down that season was 91.9 — he recorded a passer rating of 125.0 to go with 9.3 yards per attempt and 16 touchdowns in those scenarios.

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