Inside The Birds: Future First For Wentz?
While much of the Delaware Valley continues to dissect the steps that have lead to an inevitable divorce between the Eagles and their franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz is just one of several quarterbacks who could be on the move.
In the latest Inside The Birds podcast, Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan dish the latest on Carson Wentz, delve into the quarterback market, and provide an overview of the Eagles' tight end group.
Carson Wentz update
Adam Caplan: “This situation is interesting in that, we’re talking about a quarterback who people believe – at least believed -- was a special quarterback; the Eagles obviously did, that’s why they traded up. I asked a couple personnel guys from teams that looked at Wentz here, and I said, ‘Where are you at with [Wentz]?’ They said, ‘Look, can’t get in the guy’s head – but he was really bad last season,’ and I was like, ‘Do you think he could be better? Do you think with better coaching, a better situation?’ One guy said to me, ‘Absolutely; obviously there was something wrong with that situation. It can’t just all be the quarterback.’”
Geoff Mosher: “I recently was talking with a very high-ranking team source; not an Eagles source, not a Colts source. Very high personnel source who knows both of these teams, too. What he told me was that his understanding was the Eagles were first asking for two first-round picks. Now, that’s been out there – that’s the whole Matthew Stafford-type of compensation, minus the extra quarterback. Obviously, that didn’t happen. This source told me that the Colts are adamant about not over-paying, to the point that even a first and a second-round pick were discussed between the Eagles and Colts. And that kind of deal has not happened. So, it leads me to believe – I think it was Ron Jaworski last week who said he’d heard that compensation would probably be a couple second-round picks, maybe a conditional pick. That conversation that I had with a very high-ranking league source tells me in my gut that the Eagles and Colts will eventually make a trade, but I have real skepticism of them being able to get a  first-round pick now.
"In a separate discussion with another source, I got the sense that a player could be involved here in the trade to make the trade work for both sides.”
Caplan: “This is really from two teams, and they seem to agree on this -- if the Eagles are going to get a [first-round pick], it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be in 2021. Obviously, that’s what they want; there might one coming in 2022, but what that winds up looking like, I couldn’t tell ya. This very high-ranking source whose team is looking for a quarterback and is looking at the landscape said, ‘I’m telling ya, the Eagles want a first-round pick.’ On Tuesday, this guy goes, ‘I don’t think they’re getting one in 2021. If they get one in 2022, remember, that’s not as valuable as a one this year.’”
Caplan: “Derek Carr, the Raiders are not shopping him, I’m told. At all. Marcus Mariota is completely available, by the way. Multiple sources told me, including an NFL [general manager], that he’s absolutely available. He goes, ‘Listen, I’m telling ya, someone’s gonna get him, and I don’t know that he’s gonna come in and start, but he’s gonna be competing for a starting job elsewhere.’”
Caplan: “Sam Darnold is available, it’s just a matter of what does Joe Douglas want to do, their GM? Remember, Douglas inherited Darnold, he didn’t draft him, there’s no allegiance to the player. He did not have a good year, let’s call it like it is. I would say that the belief, for Jets fans listening, there’s very mixed reviews on Darnold. Probably more negative than positives based on this season. You love his grit and his toughness; he’s a gamer. But accuracy, processing, he’s just not a guy that a lot of people are in love with right now. I suspect, it would not surprise me in the least, if Darnold stays, if [the Jets] add another quarterback that may push Darnold.
"There’s gonna be some interest in him, but beauty is in the eyes of the beholder with Sam Darnold.”
Mosher: “How do you compare Darnold to Wentz? It’s very difficult. Why would Wentz be the first domino to fall and not Darnold? My personal feeling is that, if you’re looking for the safe route – you would go Darnold because there’s some upside there, you might get him out of that Jets environment – if you’re a team like the Steelers or even the Colts – you might get what you’re supposed to get out of Sam Darnold. But, I still think Carson Wentz, if repaired correctly, has a higher upside.”
Caplan: "Russell Wilson, OK here’s the story; the Seahawks aren’t trading him. They’re not. Pretty strong sourcing on this one. Not this year, though.
"They do a structure completely different from the Eagles. They do a signing bonus and one-year fully guaranteed money. They do pay-as-you-go. They do the first year fully guaranteed because they’re not cutting the guy. So, they do what are called rolling guarantees, so what happened was, Russell Wilson’s base salary of $19 million became fully guaranteed five days after the Super Bowl. They’re not going to take on $39 million of dead money.
"I had a pretty good personnel source with another team who thinks that after the season it’s a little more palatable to move [Wilson]. Obviously, there'll be some dead money – $26 million after this season – but he goes, ‘You get that $19 million off, you’ll only have two years left.’ You also have a decision to make on Russell Wilson in 2022, the fifth day of free agency; he’s got a roster bonus due of $5 million.”
Caplan: “One team that absolutely is infatuated with Watson tells me that every time they ask about Watson, [Nick] Caserio the GM either says we’re not talking about him or he ignores it and changes the subject. So, he’s definitely not available; they’re not shopping him. But again, folks, it’s February. If Watson and his agent, David Mulugheta, want to take this long – they want to take it past the draft, and they want to take it to August-September, then we’re gonna know how serious he is.”
Mosher: “The advantage that quarterbacks have, compared to other people who want out, is that they get so much upfront money, that if it means sitting out a year – shoot for a guy like Deshaun Watson, who’s taken probably more hits than any quarterback in the league over the past four years, I don’t think any GM from a different team is going to be like, ‘Eh, he’s been off for a year,’. In fact, they may see that as a benefit that he hasn’t taken another year’s worth of hits.”
Eagles TE outlook
Caplan: “I’ve asked some people, ‘Hey, where are you at with Ertz?’ Tape wasn’t great before Zach got hurt, let’s be honest here. You do have to wonder where Zach is in his career year. He’s clearly on the back nine – does he have two good years left in him? Four? Three? Can’t answer that.”
Mosher: "Zach Ertz’s skill set has never been defined by tremendous athleticism. He’s always been a very good route-runner, and he’s always been a fairly sure-handed – he’ll drop a ball here or there – but for the most part, he’s gonna catch passes. When you look at tight ends who are good at that throughout league history, those guys can play into their mid-30s maybe even late-30s.”
Caplan: “To me, [Dallas Goedert] is a 70-plus catch-a-season guy. I think the tight ends will be featured here, this is gonna be more of a West Coast offense – just doing a little digging since [Nick] Sirianni got hired. Talking to people who know Nick and these coaches and they think it will be a little bit more West Coast-based in terms of structure. Less vertical – not that verticals won’t be in it – but Goedert will be a prominent part of this passing game; I strongly believe that.
Mosher: “This will be Dallas Goedert’s time to shine. More explosive of an athlete than Ertz. We’ve seen the ability to break tackles, we’ve seen the ability to create yards after the catch, to turn up the field, and run upon catch as well. He’s a better blocker, so he’s going to be an in-line tight end in the running game. So, he’ll be making an impact for the team even if he isn’t prominently featured in the passing game.”
– Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.