Five days ago, the Philadelphia Eagles sent Carson Wentz packing to the Indianapolis Colts for a pair of second-round draft picks. It ended one of the most bizarre and insanely mysterious trades in NFL history. There was a lack of closure, too many faceless “reports.”
And now there is another one seeking to clear the air on how it all went down. NFL insider Albert Breer tried to take readers inside the “Eagles-Colts stalemate” during his weekly MMQB column for Sports Illustrated. His reporting indicates a tangled web of deep mistrust, fractured relationships, and hurt feelings.
Breer confirms the theory that the Eagles coddled Wentz’s fragile ego, specifically in regard to the way they hired and fired coaches. For example, Mike Groh was one guy who clashed strongly with Wentz. He also paints the picture of a quarterback who saw Jalen Hurts as a threat and never understood why the Eagles needed him to run the same zone-read concepts he had run early in his career.
I do think Wentz is better suited with the Colts. Familiarity with coaching staff and a fan base more suited for his sensitive ego.
— Jason Dumas (@JDumasReports) February 18, 2021
Finally, Wentz was allowed to pursue a trade (via his agent’s request) to reunite with Frank Reich in Indianapolis. The story jives with many previous reports out there, although the part about Wentz’s relationship with some teammates is new. Per Breer, it stood in stark contrast to the way Nick Foles ran the locker room.
In the locker room, Wentz struggled to connect with some teammates. It wasn’t that Wentz was a bad guy (in fact, he’s commonly seen as a really good-hearted guy off the field). As I’ve heard it, it was more that he just couldn’t relate with every corner of the locker room. And Foles’s place as a pied piper among the players — a guy who could build strong relationships with everyone — only highlighted the issue.
Wentz’s Type A personality was part of the equation too. If teammates weren’t working to his standard, that could be an issue. He wanted the why from coaches when they were telling him what to do. And he could be stubborn.
Takeaways on @cj_wentz the @HoustonTexans, Darnold, free agency, etc.; GREAT convo with @scottpioli51 on a different offseason (i.e. cap, @deshaunwatson, etc.); @Michael_Fabiano‘s @DraftKings segment; the #6pack; MORE!
Download AND subscribe:https://t.co/XTPRECbNel pic.twitter.com/RQC2mvUCsd
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 17, 2021
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Wentz Drama Already Unfolding in Indianapolis
Wentz has worn No. 11 throughout his football career, including his college years at North Dakota State and five professional seasons in Philly. The common assumption was he would continue to don it in Indianapolis. Not so fast.
According to TMZ Sports, Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman isn’t going to give up the No. 11 jersey to Wentz — and, in a shocking twist, the former Eagles quarterback is being cool about it.
“Yeah, so I spoke to [Carson] and he was just seeing how locked in I was to number eleven, and I told him I was locked in,” Pittman told TMZ Sports, “and he was like, ‘That’s cool, bro, because I’m probably gonna switch anyway.’”
Congrats to my new teammate @cj_wentz can’t wait to get to work!
— MPJ (@MikePitt_Jr) February 18, 2021
Meanwhile, Tennessee Titans receiver A.J. Brown (he also wears No. 11) jumped into the Colts’ jersey debate. He declared that Pittman should absolutely give Wentz the number in a now-deleted tweet captured by USA Today’s “For the Win.” Interesting.
Carson Wentz jersey drama!
— Jeff Kerr (@JeffKerrCBS) February 23, 2021
Eagles Likely to Release Malik Jackson
The Eagles are expected to release defensive tackle Malik Jackson by March 18. The move will save the franchise $8 million in salary-cap space, per NBC Sports Philadelphia. This isn’t breaking news as the team reconstructed the contracts for both Jackson and receiver Alshon Jeffery last year to pre-empt this move.
Alshon Jeffery and Malik Jackson restructured their deals earlier this year. It was either a new deal or a release. Eagles save about $23 million with this move due to post June 1 designations.
— Natalie Egenolf (@NatalieEgenolf) February 19, 2021
However, the clever way in which the Eagles manipulated the numbers ensures an additional $2 million in savings by cutting Jackson with a post-June 1 designation.