Who Knows if Carson Wentz will Return, but Challenges Increase if He Does

The Eagles QB could still ask for a trade no matter who becomes the head coach, because fan scrutiny will be greater and the leash shorter
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Two words best describe the Eagles’ search for a head coach: Who knows?

As in who knows who will succeed Doug Pederson, even now, nine days after he was let go on Jan. 11. The answer is still very much a mystery, though there seems to be a frontrunner in Josh McDaniels.

The same two-word question could be asked when it comes to Carson Wentz and his return: Who knows?

There may be more of a breadcrumb trail that leads to the Wentz answer, with the quarterback issue being made a high priority in the hunt for a new head coach.

How Wentz feels about returning is unclear. He never spoke at the end of the season and remains silent even now. Perhaps after the Eagles name a coach he will be heard from.

READ MORE: Silence Speaks Volumes with Carson Wentz - Sports Illustrated

One thing seems clear, whether he speaks or not and that is, no matter who the coach is, Wentz will have a hard time lining up under center if the decision is to go forward with him over Jalen Hurts as the 2021 starter.

External pressures have ramped up this offseason.

There was a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer that indicated Wentz was insubordinate to Pederson, changing the former coach’s play calls at will, and for being uncoachable, doing things his way and not what coaches like his buddy, QB coach, passing game coordinator Press Taylor wanted him to do.

Now, there is the perception that it was Wentz who, in an indirect way, facilitated the end of the Pederson’s era, because the Eagles had to choose between him and their coach in the hope that Wentz will want to return.

He may still not.

Even if Vince Lombardi fell from the sky, Wentz could still request a trade.

It is going to be even more difficult for him now to play in a city filled with some very harsh critics.

He has to understand he will be on a short leash, shorter than he has ever been on before, one that could get yanked well before Week 14 as it was this past season. Whiplash is also a concern, with him looking over his shoulder, maybe even after a bad quarter or bad first half, maybe even one subpar game, to see if Jalen Hurts is warming up.

Wentz will tell you this is what he signed up for when he chose to be a quarterback, scrutiny and pressure.

We shall see.

Or maybe, now that a more visible path has opened, he chooses he wants to explore it.

The Indianapolis Colts are in the market for a quarterback after Philip Rivers announced his retirement on Wednesday morning, and they may even need two with backup Jacoby Brissett scheduled to hit free agency as of now.

Alabama’s Mac Jones and/or Florida’s Kyle Trask could be available to them when they pick 21st overall in this year’s NFL draft or maybe they try to trade up for North Dakota State's Trey Lance.

Deshaun Watson or Sam Darnold could be available in a trade that would require some major draft capital going back to the Texans or Jets, respectively, to make it happen.

Other free-agent quarterbacks could be in the mix for Indy, too, such as Jameis Winston or whatever recycled passer is out there.

Or it could be Wentz, who would be paired again with his former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich. It was Reich who, in conjunction with John DeFilippo, got the most out of Wentz in 2017, which was the best season of Wentz’s five-year career. That is certainly worth exploring if you are Indy GM Chris Ballard, should Reich be interested in a reunion.

Everyone knows the business side of trading Wentz - the dead money hit, the salary cap ramifications, the giving up on a player who not that long ago was considered the franchise quarterback.

As MMQB columnist and host of the Business Side of Sports podcast Andrew Brandt likes to say, “the business side of sports always wins.”

It probably will in this case, too.

Really, though, who knows?

Ed Kracz is the publisher of EagleMaven. Check out anything you may have missed pertaining to the Eagles by going to www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.