The Eagles have a quarterback problem. Again.
It is no secret at this point in the 2020 NFL season, the Eagles have a quarterback controversy on their hands. Carson Wentz’s backup and Eagles rookie, Jalen Hurts, came in to start last Sunday evening and defeated the top seed in the NFC, the New Orleans Saints, 24-21. He did well enough to earn an encore and will start this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, per head coach Doug Pederson.
Nick Foles—excuse me, Jalen Hurts—gave a decent argument for why he should start. It is not a situation the Eagles organization, nor its fanbase, wanted to be in at this stage of Wentz's career. Ultimately a decision needs to be made, and it won't be an easy one.
Making Wentz the backup is not an option. In 2019 Wentz signed a four year, $128 million contract, and that sort of money simply can’t sit on the bench, even if Hurts leads the team to success. Moving on from him altogether proves even more difficult, as the Eagles would be hit with a dead pay charge of over $59 million for doing so.
It should be understood that Hurts has only started one game, and despite looking smart and versatile in the win, one game is rarely an indication of a career. So there is no guarantee Hurts can consistently play like this. However, if he were to continue to do so, trading Wentz is an option for the Eagles. The number of suitors for Wentz's contract is unknown, but it can't be zero.
The Indianapolis Colts have been mentioned. Frank Reich, the former Eagles' offensive coordinator who mentored Wentz, is Indy's head coach, and Phillip Rivers, the Colts' current QB, is on an expiring contract. However, chances are slim that the Eagles' asking price and the Colts' willingness to pay actually align.
The upside of trading Wentz is clarity. The Eagles get a lot cheaper at the position without a huge downgrade in performance. The downside is cost; they would still owe their ex-QB $34 million if they trade him, the biggest potential dead cap hit in NFL history.
What's most likely is that Wentz remains on the team in 2021 and battles with Hurts for the starting job. If he were to lose that joust, the Eagles would have one of the most expensive backup QBs in history—and no easy fix for the finances.