I still expect Carson Wentz to be a great player.
Let's just get that out there to start this off.
I saw him play at an MVP level last season and I can understand why he wasn't able to quite get back to that level this season as he recovers from a torn ACL and LCL. No excuses, but it's a serious injury and we were all probably a little foolish to expect him to come back and just be the MVP again immediately.
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It's just that I'm a little concerned. Because now he has back soreness that might reportedly keep him out for the rest of the 2018 season (see story). That means that two of his first three seasons would end with an injury and there are some legitimate concerns about his durability.
Let's take a look at his recent injury history:
2015: Broken wrist in college
2016: Cracked ribs in the preseason
2017: Torn ACL and LCL on Dec. 10
2018: Back soreness
It's important to note that despite the rib fracture in the 2016 preseason, Wentz was able to play all 16 games as a rookie. But we're still talking about injuries in his last four seasons.
I'm not ready to use the injury prone label. The broken wrist at NDSU was kind of a freak thing; his hand hit a helmet. The ripped up knee was unfortunate, but it happens. And it seems very possible that returning from the knee injury could have brought about the back issue, but that's conjecture.
If the Eagles do shut down Wentz for the rest of this season, it would probably show the team exercising some caution with their franchise quarterback. The problem here is that after this season, Wentz will be eligible for a new contract for the first time in his career. And we're talking about back-up-the-Brinks-truck money.
The durability concerns have to come into play, don't they?
And I'm not sure what that means for Wentz's future contract or how much that will muddy up those contract negotiations.
Because it would make sense for both sides to want to get a deal done sooner rather than later. Wentz can provide his family long-term stability and the Eagles might be able to save a little bit of money by getting the deal done a year or two early.
But remember, Wentz will enter the final year of his contract next season, but the Eagles really have his rights for one year after that if they excercize that fifth-year option for first-round picks. So the Eagles have that to fall back on, but they'd probably find it more ideal to lock up a guy they have never wavered from calling their franchise quarterback.
Even though Wentz wasn't an MVP in the 11 games he played this season, he was still pretty good, at least statistically. He competed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 3,074 yards, with 21 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Good numbers, but even he would probably admit this season has been a disappointment.
I still expect Wentz will become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but I'd be lying if I said there was no reason to worry about his durability. There's even more reason to worry about that durability as we talk about the mega contract he might be signing soon enough.
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