Carson Wentz Era Flames out with Diminishing Returns

The former franchise quarterback's era in Philadelphia is a complicated one
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PHILADELPHIA - Flags fly forever.

In the end, the Carson Wentz era in Philadelphia ended in disappointment but it also helped bring the Eagles the first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history and that's a complicated legacy that is sure to regain at least some of its luster as the years pass.

To the critics, however, the micro-view is far uglier and centers on a privileged quarterback handed the world and tapping out the minute adversity struck.

The actual end game of Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick that could turn into a first if one of two conditions is met: either the quarterback plays 75 percent of the Colts' snaps next season or 70 percent coupled with a playoff berth, pales in comparison to the assets Philadelphia poured into Wentz over the years, namely the five draft picks to move up in 2016 to get him and then the record-breaking, four-year $128 million extension 20 months ago.

When it became clear that the relationship with Wentz was not salvageable even with a coaching change, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie approved a precedent-shattering $33.8M in dead money, ensuring the ultimate outcome.

From there, GM Howie Roseman had to settle for pennies on the dollar when he couldn't conjure up a market out of thin air.

READ MORE: Eagles Trade Carson Wentz to Colts - Sports Illustrated ...

The haul also looks even more underwhelming when compared with Roseman's pie-in-the-sky starting point, the so-called Matthew Stafford-like pull of two first-round picks which was never realistic.

It turns out there was virtually no interest in Wentz from those in the quarterback market outside of Indianapolis for two reasons: the QB's poor play in 2020 and the correct assumption Wentz's goal was to try to fix things in Indy with Frank Reich.

Carolina and Denver were never in play for Wentz and the attempt to play the Colts off of Chicago was a dud.

If anything Roseman's counterpart in Indianapolis, the shrewd Chris Ballard, took mercy by not playing hardball, willing to offer fair compensation if Wentz is indeed able to turn his career around with the Colts.

A first-round pick in the 20s will happily be handed over by Indianapolis if Wentz performs to the level that puts the Colts back into the postseason.

Sources tell SI.com's Eagle Maven that there was technically not even one other suitor for Wentz.

The Bears were interested and likely could have been convinced to hand over the 20th overall pick in the 2021 draft if Wentz was willing to play ball but the QB wanted to play in Indianapolis with a coach he trusts and used what leverage he did have to make that happen.

From Wentz's standpoint, the Colts are the far more stable option than Chicago with both Reich and Press Taylor as coaches, a more-than-sold offensive line, and better skill-position talent than Wentz was afforded in Philadelphia.

In return, the Eagles at least get him out of the conference and pick up additional draft capital for a potential move up in the 2021 draft if they decide Justin Fields or Zach Wilson are potential superstars.

For now, Jalen Hurts is the QB1 for the Eagles and the second-year pro has already started acting like the guy, inviting the team's young receivers to work out together in Houston during the offseason.

Meanwhile, the Wentz era in Philadelphia will remain a complicated one, a shooting star that burned brightly before flaming out quickly.

That 2017-18 championship banner will continue to fly in perpetuity, however, and Wentz's 11-2 start that season before a torn ACL and LCL kickstarted the ugly descent contributed mightily.

-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Friday on SIRIUSXM’s Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes, and every Tuesday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SBNation Radio. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.