The Eagles went all-in on Carson Wentz in 2016. They traded much of their future draft capital to select the quarterback from North Dakota State at No. 2 overall. It was the going rate for the right to select a franchise quarterback. Four years later, it’s not obvious it was worth it.
Reports have indicated Wentz could seek a trade in the offseason. Philadelphia benched him in 2020 Week 13 for Jalen Hurts, a rookie second-round pick from Oklahoma. Instead of the face of the franchise, Wentz at least temporarily became a backup, and he might never live up to his potential with the Eagles.
We’ve taken a look back at the two trades that Philadelphia used to move up in 2016 to see just how it’s all shaken out four years after the Eagles decided Wentz was their guy.
MORE: What happened to Carson Wentz?
Carson Wentz draft trade details
The Eagles actually had to make two deals in the lead-up to the 2016 NFL Draft to get to the No. 2 spot and take Wentz after the Rams took Jared Goff with the first selection.
First trade: Eagles and Dolphins
Second trade: Eagles and Browns
Was the Carson Wentz trade worth it for Eagles?
The Browns kept on trading after the deal, so it makes the trade math a little bit harder. But the best we can do is look who was picked with the trades the Eagles gave up to Cleveland to move up and take Wentz.
Rather than looking at who the Browns picked themselves, this is a list of the players taken with the five picks that went to Cleveland for Wentz:
And the pick that was traded to the Dolphins to acquire No. 8 in the first deal included:
The obvious name that stands out there is Watson. It would’ve been interesting to see what Philadelphia did if it didn’t move up and pick Wentz in 2016. The Eagles may have still chosen to take a QB in 2017, and Watson would’ve been there at the No. 12 spot after Mitchell Trubisky went second and Patrick Mahomes went 10th. At this point, it looks like the Eagles would be better off with Watson over Wentz.
Cleveland went on to trade that No. 12 pick to Houston for the No. 25 pick in 2017 and a 2018 first-rounder. The Browns got Jabril Peppers and Denzel Ward from that deal. Cleveland didn’t get anyone notable from the other picks that remained from Philadelphia.
It’s easy enough to see how trading five draft picks to move up six spots could have consequences. If the Eagles swung right in future maneuvering, they could’ve ended up with a good tackle in Conklin and a good QB in Watson, or two solid young defenders in Peppers and Ward. Of course, if Philadelphia held those picks it may have picked different players, anyway.
But for a year or two, there was no questioning whether getting Wentz was the right move. Quarterback is the most valuable position in the NFL, and Wentz looked like a decade-long starter in the making for the Eagles. If he indeed lived up to that No. 2 overall selection, there’s almost no other side to that trade that would’ve been regarded as a winner. Both sides could’ve won, sure, but the Eagles would’ve had the face of their franchise, and that’d be worth it.
But with Wentz’s Philly days looking numbered, that trade no longer looks a slam dunk. Instead, it’s at best a wash, and mostly because the picks sent away mostly weren’t used well. The principle of the trade was right for Philadelphia. But 20/20 hindsight leaves it up for debate.
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