By Max Harper
If you’re still on the fence about Carson Wentz, the former Eagles quarterback whose fall from credible MVP candidate in 2017 to total washout in 2023, check out what NBC Sports Peter King says:
Question is, how much will Wentz allow himself to be humbled? Will he be a backup that helps the starter? Will he be a selfless teammate? The tables have turned for him, radically.
I went down the Wentz rabbit hole after the following ignominious tweet from the Commanders last week:
Wentz, before injuring his knee in December 2017 in the Eagles’ Super Bowl season, was a strong contender to win MVP. Today he’s on the street at 30, and no team would consider him as a potential starter in 2023. His seven-year history, by the numbers:
Philadelphia paid him $79.1 million for five seasons. That included nine postseason snaps.
Indianapolis paid him $21.3 million for one season. He missed practice time in week 17 after testing positive for Covid as an unvaccinated player; with the Colts needing one win in the last two games to make the playoffs, Wentz played poorly in losses to the Raiders and Jags to end the season.
Washington paid him $28.3 million for half a season of uninjured play. Wentz was booed off the field in week 17 when, with the Commanders needing a win for Washington to stay in the playoff hunt, Wentz threw three interceptions in losing to Cleveland.
Money earned: $128.7 million.
Overall record: 46-46-1.
Playoff wins: 0.
Including what Philadelphia paid to move up just six slots in the draft in the 2016 first round, here is what the Eagles, Colts and Commanders traded to acquire Carson Wentz:
First-round picks: 3.
Second-round picks: 1.
Third-round picks: 4.
Fourth-round picks: 1.
Altogether: 9 picks, all in the top 100 of drafts, including the eighth, 12th and 17th overall picks in three different drafts.
What was lost
The trades don’t match exactly to make the comparison; for instance, Indy traded Wentz plus a two and a seven to Washington for a two, a three and a three, so I simply eliminated the second- and seventh-round picks from trade comparison. But I figured out the overall pick for each of the nine draft slots traded for Wentz, and I figured out a player drafted in each slot, to see the players Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Washington bypassed to employ Wentz. They are:
Teams bypassed five first- or second-team all-pros for a player on the street at 30, when Wentz should be in his prime.
Moral of the story
Even though Wentz was on his way to a great season before injuring his knee in 2017, he could never repeat it and in fact regressed. I’d argue that no player in NFL history has cost so much and delivered so little.