PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles are putting out fires on multiple fronts but the biggest one remains the future of quarterback Carson Wentz, who seemingly wants out of the organization that drafted him No. 2 overall back in 2016.
Wentz “politely” declined to talk with reporters Monday during the virtual cleanout day after he finished a disappointing 4-11-1 season as a healthy scratch during a controversial Week 17 loss to the Washington Football Team.
In many ways, the silence spoke volumes as almost a tacit confirmation of the report from ESPN's Chris Mortensen claiming that Wentz's relationship with the Eagles and coach Doug Pederson is "fractured" and the former and maybe future QB1 will request a trade this offseason, a scenario that would be complicated by his massive contract and benching for rookie Jalen Hurts.
The latest news on the Wentz front comes from The Associated Press, which reports, per a source, that Wentz needs time away to think about his future and is hopeful his tenure in Philadelphia will not end in a divorce.
The piece also indicates that the organization and Wentz have not yet talked about the future and will only do so when the time is right. General manager Howie Roseman actually confirmed a cooling-off period when talking with reporters on Monday.
That time is expected to be sometime next week, according to NFL Media. It is expected to be the first of several meetings between the two parties as they try to figure out the direction that will be taken.
"(The season is) so raw," said Roseman. "Incredibly disappointing, even when we thought of how the season would go, I can't tell you there's any situation where we felt like we would be where we are today sitting here.
"We have to come back and look at it with fresh eyes. We are going to spend the week evaluating our players, with our coaches, with our personnel staff, with our front office. We do that in every level like we talk to the trainers about how they are interacting, our strength coaches, our performance coaches, our PR, security, everywhere, and we just have to do a deep dive on every position."
With Wentz, Roseman cited the commitment the Eagles made to QB and noted it isn't easy to walk away from that.
"In terms of Carson, I don't think it's a secret that we moved up for him (in the 2016 draft) because of what we thought about him as a person, as a player," he said. "We gave him that extension (in 2019) because of the same things. And so, when you have players like that, they are like fingers on your hand. You can't even imagine that they are not part of you; that they are not here.
"That's how we feel about Carson."
All options remain in play moving forward, especially if Jeffrey Lurie approves of the nearly $34 million dead-money hit the Eagles will endure no matter what happens as far as contract tweaks with a potential new team for Wentz.
What Wentz could do is help the salary-cap implications for the Eagles in an effort to make it a little easier for both sides to turn the page.
Pederson, meanwhile, has insisted that the relationship can be repaired
"I'm not going to speak for Carson, obviously but I can speak for myself and say that, yeah, the relationship is good," Pederson said. "It's fine. It's something that we're going to continue to build upon, and listen, I know Carson's disappointed. It's not the season that he had anticipated. It's not the season I had anticipated as the head coach.
"... I've been challenged as the head coach; personally challenged myself to get things right, to get him right, and to make sure that as we move forward that we're doing everything in the best interests of the team."
Wentz had his worst season as a pro in 2020, finishing with career lows in completion percentage (57.4), yards (2,620), and passer rating (72.8) before being benched in favor of Hurts in the second half of the Dec. 6 game against Green Bay.
Hurts finished the season 1-3 with a 77.5 passer rating but did give the offense a bit of a spark with his running ability. The rookie's play tailed off down the stretch, however, and finished with a 7-of-20 performance against the Washington Football Team before being replaced by Nate Sudfeld.
Goal No. 1 seems to be building back up Wentz's value, something needed whether he stays or goes.
“We are talking about a guy that’s immensely talented, has a great work ethic," Roseman said. "(The goal) is doing whatever we can to put him in the best possible situation to be successful."
The one thing that is clear is that Wentz has no interest in being a backup.
"No one wants to be a backup anything in this league," said Zach Ertz. "I do not want to be a backup tight end. Carson Wentz doesn’t want to be a backup quarterback."
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Tuesday and Thursday on "The Middle" with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, and Barrett Brooks on SportsMap Radio and PhillyVoice.com. He’s also the host of Extending the Play on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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