The Philadelphia Eagles are throwing in the towel on Carson Wentz, at least in the short term. After struggling throughout the entirety of 2020, the team has transitioned to second-round rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts. This leaves Wentz in an interesting situation, as the right team could probably swing a trade for the former second-overall pick. However, that team should not be the New England Patriots. No matter how you look at it, the Patriots are better off without Carson Wentz in the future.
New England Patriots Should Not Pursue Carson Wentz
Cam Newton Is Better
Quarterback is the most important position in football, and upgrading the position should be the top priority on every teams’ list. Cam Newton might not be the perfect quarterback, but he’s still better than Carson Wentz.
So far this year, Newton ranks 21st in PFF grade, 25th in EPA+CPOE composite, 24th in EPA/play, and 26th in ESPN’s QBR. These ranks obviously aren’t anything special, but it’s worth noting that all of Newton’s numbers have increased since Week 8. From that point forward, Newton is 15th in EPA+CPOE and 16th in EPA/play.
Wentz, meanwhile, has been an outright disaster. Over the course of the season, the former MVP candidate ranks 31st in PFF grade, 29th in EPA+CPOE composite, 30th in EPA/play, and 28th in ESPN’s QBR. Wentz supporters will point out that the quarterback hasn’t worked in favorable positions, and that is true to an extent.
However, that’s also true for Newton. New England’s coaching staff is better than Philadelphia’s, but Dallas Goedert, Jalen Reagor, and Travis Fulgham are a lot better than Ryan Izzo, Jakobi Meyers, and Damiere Byrd. For all intents and purposes, let’s call the supporting casts a wash. Both quarterbacks have had poor supporting casts, but Newton has been able to make more out of it than Wentz.
Carson Wentz Is Overrated
Of course, there is a pretty good chance that Wentz will bounce back from this terrible season. The quarterback has been a starter in this league for five years, and he’s never been this bad.
Positive regression could be on the way, but Wentz has never truly been as good as his hype. Since 2016, Wentz ranks near the bottom in quarterback efficiency among passers with 1,500 plays. This might be surprising for some, considering how great he was during his 2017 campaign. However, even that season wasn’t as good as you may remember.
In 2017, Wentz has a pretty unremarkable quarterback on 1st and 2nd down. Overall, he ranked 27th in EPA+CPOE out of 43 quarterbacks with 100 or more early-down plays. He made up for this by being the best quarterback in the league on third down, and by quite a large margin. Unfortunately, third down success (especially to that extent) is highly unstable and isn’t likely to repeat on a year-to-year basis. We’ve seen this play out over the past three seasons, as Wentz has never truly been anything more than a league-average passer since 2018.
Even during his pseudo-MVP year, he wasn't anything special on 1st and 2nd downs. He was ridiculously good on 3rd down, but we know that 3rd down performance isn't that stable on a year-to-year basis pic.twitter.com/sSgDDkRaJP
— Dave Latham, Lifelong Bucs Fan (@DLPatsThoughts) December 10, 2020
Cam Newton is a better option than Carson Wentz, and it will be easier for the Patriots to keep him around. While Newton is scheduled to hit free agency, the Patriots can simply use the franchise tag to keep him around for another season at a projected $23.5 million cap hit. Should New England deem that too expensive, they could probably sign Newton to a three-year deal at roughly $15-20 million per year.
Wentz, meanwhile, is currently under contract at a massive rate. While the Eagles would take some of the financial burden in a potential deal, the Patriots would still have to pay him an average of $24.6 million over the next four years. This is likely more than Newton would cost, and the Patriots would have to give up draft capital to do it.
According to Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com, the Eagles believe they could get a first-round pick in exchange for Wentz’ services. For the first time in a long time, the Patriots will likely have a top-15 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Trading away the best draft capital they’ve had since 2008 in exchange for a more expensive, worse quarterback is terrible business. Instead of trading for Wentz, New England should use that pick to bolster their offensive weaponry and work on surrounding Cam Newton with more talent.
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