On Sunday, my biggest nightmare came to fruition. Philadelphia’s baby and MVP candidate Carson Wentz tore his ACL.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the thought that even if Wentz does sustain a season-ending injury (expecting it to be down the road) we still have our franchise cornerstone laid out for the next decade plus. I thought of it in the framework of Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending shoulder injury in 2013 and Tom Brady’s season-ending ACL tear in 2008. Although both Rodgers and Brady were well-known entities at the time of their respective season-ending injury’s, both returned to elite form.
I still subscribed to this line of thinking while mourning Wentz’s anterior cruciate ligament through Monday afternoon until I read Bill Barnwell’s piece “The big questions (and answers) after Carson Wentz’s injury”.
Think of Dan Marino, who set NFL records during an MVP campaign in his second season on a 14–2 Dolphins team. The Dolphins lost in the Super Bowl, but with Marino and Don Shula, we would have figured Marino & Co. to make multiple deep postseason runs. Instead, Marino went 7–9 in the playoffs the rest of the way, and the Dolphins failed to make another Super Bowl during the rest of their star quarterback’s career. Even for wildly talented quarterbacks, just about everything has to go right for teams to advance to the Super Bowl. Even though Philadelphia won Sunday, we might look back on it as a day when things stopped going right for the Eagles and their superstar quarterback.
Couldn’t have said it better myself Michael Scarn. Even if Wentz does continue to return to form post-ACL tear (I think he will) Barnwell is spot on in saying that virtually everything has to go right for a team to win the Super Bowl.
Most importantly, losing a season where Wentz is still on a rookie contract is devastating. Come 2020, or most likely prior to then, the Eagles are going to have to sign Wentz to a long-term contract where the average annual value of his deal will be well north of $30 million. While that’s money very well spent, it limits salary cap flexibility. With Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, and Alshon Jeffery still likely on the books, Howie will have to do some James Nash-level cap economics to keep the Birds under the salary cap.
And then Schefter dropped this on us around dinner-time:
Shout out to ESPN for making me realize that there’s only one theory I should subscribe to at this point.