Carson Wentz has one more shot to prove himself in 2020 before it is time to send him to the bench.
The Philadelphia Eagles being in first place in the NFC East is more of a punchline than something to celebrate. The team is 3-6-1 after a sloppy loss to the Cleveland Browns and is somehow still a half-game ahead of the three other teams in the division.
While the entire roster has struggled, Carson Wentz is the supposed face of the franchise, and he’s turned in a career-worst performance through 10 games. Now he is not just fighting for a playoff berth. He is fighting for his job.
Carson Wentz needs a sudden turnaround Monday
This season, Wentz has thrown 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The last time he threw 14 interceptions was during his rookie season of 2016 when he did so in 16 games. He’ll shatter that mark.
Another low comes with his completion percentage. That mark is at 58.4 percent, which would be the first time he ever finished below 60 percent in a season.
On Monday night, the Seattle Seahawks are coming to town. A loss drops the Eagles to 3-7-1 with matchups against the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, and Arizona Cardinals ahead on the schedule. At that point the Eagles would be more likely to get a top-five pick instead of planning for the playoffs.
Wentz needs to lead the Eagles to a win if he wants to remain under center. His contract already dictates he’s in that role considering the money going forward, but Doug Pederson isn’t going to put his own job on the line because of a player’s deal.
The former No. 2 overall pick signed a four-year, $128 million in the summer of 2019. His dead cap value of over $59 million in 2021 means he isn’t going anywhere before the end of next season. The potential out for the team comes in 2022 with a dead cap value of $24.5 million. That is a huge hit, but may become necessary if he continues to decline.
Sunday’s game against the Browns was a perfect example of Wentz no longer looking like the guy in Philadelphia. He threw two interceptions and the second came on a ball he essentially just lobbed in the air for Denzel Ward to intercept. Ward was also involved in the first interception that saw Wentz forget his pocket presence, take a shot from the blitzing Ward, and throw a pick-six to Sione Takitaki.
The box score shows two touchdowns, but one was in garbage time as the Browns were content to just let time come off the clock.
A week prior against the New York Giants was even worse. Wentz did not throw a touchdown in the 27-17 loss and managed 208 yards on 21-of-37 passing.
Wentz does not have a game this season without double-digit incompletions. This is also an indictment on the lack of weapons at the skill positions around him. Yet once again, he is being paid as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. He is supposed to be able to carry an offense and at this point ranks 19th in passing yards and is also tied for 19th in passing touchdowns.
And all he has behind him is second-round pick Jalen Hurts. Clearly the Eagles wanted a solid backup plan and got one with Hurts at No. 53 overall. So far he has only been used as a gadget quarterback and hasn’t been able to prove himself.
But let’s say Wentz looks terrible against the Seahawks. Why not play Hurts? This does not automatically mean Wentz is the backup in 2021. It gives him a break and some time to figure out what has gone wrong. He also won’t take a beating for a losing team and the front office can begin looking ahead to how to help him in 2021.