Carson Wentz will be the starter of the Philadelphia Eagles as soon as he is healthy enough to play. The rookie, picked second overall in the 2016 Draft, was slated to become the quarterback of the future once Sam Bradford was gone.
Sam Bradford is gone. The future is now.
“It’s hard to figure out what your emotions are,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman told reporters on Saturday. “It’s hard to trade your starting quarterback the week before the season. That’s a hard thing to do.”
Roseman says the Eagles had no intention of trading Bradford this week, and repeatedly said the team made no calls to deal him. But when Teddy Bridgewater got hurt, the Minnesota Vikings went searching for a replacement for this season, and Roseman negotiated a deal that was impossible to refuse.
The Eagles traded Bradford for a 2017 first round pick and a fourth round pick in 2018. It’s an amazing deal for the Eagles given the perceived value Bradford had earlier this off-season. Whether it was planned all along or just the Eagles being in the right place at the right time, getting this deal done at this time is incredible. And, depending on how Bradford does in Minnesota, it could get better.
With Bradford gone, Wentz is now the man. Roseman stressed that both he and the staff talked with veteran players to get a sense of whether they thought the rookie was ready to play. That, in addition to the on-field assessment of the coaches, made Roseman comfortable enough to make the move.
“We’re just trying to put together, and have a process, where we can become a great team again,” Roseman said. “That’s a process; it doesn’t happen overnight. We’re going to take it one day at a time and one transaction at a time.”
Many expected the transition from Bradford to Wentz to happen later this season, or even at the start of season, especially Bradford re-signed this off-season.
Many also expected the team to announce Chase Daniel was the Eagles starter until further notice, especially with Wentz missing most of the pre-season with a broken rib. Even Daniel, himself, thought as much on Saturday morning.
Alas, Wentz, not Daniel is the guy; which we all expected at some point in 2016, but nobody thought it would happen with a week to go before the season opener.
So…how did the Eagles get here? To figure that out, we need to go back to 2014.
March 28, 2014: The Eagles — then led by Chip Kelly — signed free agent Mark Sanchez to a one-year deal. Sanchez joined Nick Foles and Matt Barkley as the Eagles quarterbacks.
Foles was the presumed starter after a successful 2013 campaign in which he started 10 games for the Eagles — Mike Vick started the other six — and finished the year with an 8-2 record. But Kelly brought in Sanchez as competition at the position in 2014. Sanchez ended up starting half the season, with Foles starting the other half. The Eagles finished 10-6, but missed the playoffs.
March 10, 2015: Eagles traded Foles to the St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford. The Eagles also shipped a 2015 fourth-round pick and a 2016 second-round pick in exchange for Bradford and a 2015 fifth-rounder.
(Foles was released earlier this pre-season by the now Los Angeles Rams. He was signed last month by Kansas City, and Andy Reid, to be the team’s back-up quarterback, ostensibly replacing Daniel.)
Bradford hadn’t played in basically two years when the Eagles traded for him. Despite missing much of camp, Bradford started 14 games last season, with Sanchez, who re-signed with the team, starting two.
December 29, 2015: Kelly was fired with a game to go in the season, and the Eagles were beginning the process to move on at quarterback. Or they weren’t.
January 18, 2016: The Eagles hired former quarterback Doug Pederson as head coach. Surely he was going to want his own guy at his old position. Or he wasn’t. (Or…he was.)
March 1, 2016: Rather than place the franchise tag on him, the Eagles resigned Sam Bradford to a two-year deal worth $36 million, with $26 million guaranteed. This was a clear sign the Eagles were invested in Bradford beyond just the Kelly era. Bradford was their guy.
March 9, 2016: The Eagles signed Chase Daniel to be the team’s backup to Bradford. Daniel signed a three-year deal worth $21 million, including $12 million guaranteed. That’s a crazy amount of money for a backup, especially with a veteran quarterback as the starter.
March 9, 2016: The Eagles traded Chip Kelly acquisitions Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell, along with the 13th overall pick in the 2016 draft to Miami for the 8th overall pick in the draft.
March 11, 2016: The Eagles traded Mark Sanchez to the suddenly quarterback-strapped Denver Broncos. Philly got a conditional seventh-round pick from the Broncos if Sanchez made their roster.
April 20, 2016: The Eagles traded up to the second pick in the draft, a clear indication they were going to take a quarterback. “We are going to invest in the quarterback position,” Pederson said at the time. With the money and picks they gave up this off-season, that was clear.
The Eagles traded the eighth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the 77th overall pick (third round), the 100th overall pick (fourth round) and their 2017 first round pick to move up to No. 2.
April 25, 2016: Sam Bradford requested a trade. The Eagles said they were “blindsided” by the request, staying with the notion that Bradford was their starter this season.
April 28, 2016: The Eagles drafted Carson Wentz with the second overall pick in the draft.
Early May, 2016: Bradford was pilloried on local talk radio for not wanting to compete for the starting job. The city had begun to turn on him for wanting to leave.
May 11, 2016: Bradford’s agent Tom Condon tried to explain the decision to hold Sam out from voluntary workouts. Bradford reported to the team after a lot of bluster, and things seemed back to normal as Pederson’s first camp began.
August 13, 2016: After a preseason with little drama at the quarterback position, Wentz was hit in the Eagles’ first preseason game and cracked two ribs. He did not play the rest of the preseason, though did practice sparingly.
August 30, 2016: Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a dislocated knee and torn ACL at practice. He was sent by ambulance to the hospital and rumors swirled that the Vikings would be looking for a quarterback. Daniel’s name came up, often.
The Eagles all but guaranteed Wentz will be the starter when he’s healthy.
September 3, 2016: The Denver Broncos released Mark Sanchez, meaning the Eagles get nothing in the trade. Sanchez immediately signed with the Dallas Cowboys.