The Philadelphia Eagles will have a new backup quarterback in the season finale as Carson Wentz plans to sit the game out. The former NFL MVP candidate plans to request a trade in the offseason, per ESPN, after the team benched him in favor of Jalen Hurts on Dec. 6.
According to NFL Insider Chris Mortensen, the relationship between Wentz and head coach Doug Pederson is “fractured beyond repair.” The Eagles confirmed to ESPN that they are aware of the 28-year-old’s unhappiness, adding that the asking price for Wentz would be “significant” in any trade scenario. The one-time franchise quarterback threw for 2,620 yards and 16 touchdowns in 12 games this year, along with a league-worst 15 interceptions, 10 fumbles and 50 sacks.
Pederson has continually praised Wentz’s professionalism throughout the benching, calling him another coach on the sideline and a valuable resource running the scout team at practice. Likewise, Hurts was even more complimentary and thanked Wentz for letting him lean on his five years of NFL experience.
“He’s handled it like a pro,” Pederson told reporters on Dec. 11. “He’s gone out to practice, you see him, he’s taking reps obviously with the service team and providing a really good look for our defense and has done a great job in helping Jalen. He’s been involved in the meetings and just what I expected.”
With Wentz reportedly being a healthy scratch for Week 17, Nate Sudfeld would assume the backup quarterback duties. He started the year as the number two guy behind Wentz and hasn’t been active since Week 2. Sudfeld, a sixth-round pick in 2016, has attempted 25 career passes in three NFL games.
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Pederson Planning on Talking to Wentz
Pederson plans to hold exit interviews with all his players on Monday to assess their performance on an individual basis. The Eagles head coach specifically mentioned that he was looking forward to chatting with Wentz and gave no indication of a broken relationship.
“I usually talk with many of the players. I’m sure that Carson and I will visit. I’d like to visit with him,” Pederson told reporters on Jan. 1. “Listen, I’m not going to get into that publicly. I think that is a private conversation that he and I will have. Really all the conversations I have with coaches and players are going to remain private.”
There have been reports brewing of an “unpleasant” dynamic there and Wentz wanting to be traded. ESPN’s Adam Schefter later downplayed Wentz’s unhappiness in the backup role but maybe that was meant to throw people off the scent.
Top Trade Destinations for Eagles QB
The rumor mill has been working overtime since Wentz first took a seat in the third quarter of that Week 13 game against the Green Bay Packers. The Indianapolis Colts — remember, head coach Frank Reich was Wentz’s offensive coordinator in Philly — remain the top landing spot for Wentz. The Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, and Denver Broncos have also been generating buzz.
One other team mentioned in trade packages has been the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick doesn’t seem likely to move forward with Cam Newton as the starter and Jarett Stidham hasn’t inspired an abundance of confidence either. The Patriots could try and land a stud quarterback in the draft or take a flier on a reclamation project like Wentz. Belichick has gushed about Wentz’s abilities in previous years.
“He’s a good quarterback,” Belichick said of Wentz in 2019, via Pats Pulpit. “He can do it all: good arm, athletic, can extend plays, tough kid, can run if he needs to, can make all the throws, get the ball down the field, gets the ball to all his receivers.”
The biggest obstacle in any trade would be Wentz’s enormous contract: roughly four years at $98.4 million or $24.6 million a season. But ESPN reported on Saturday that Wentz would be willing to rework that deal if it gets him out of town.