The Minnesota Vikings already viewed from a distance the arrival of Jared Goff to the NFC North last week. Carson Wentz may be the next newcomer.
As of 30 mins ago the #Bears have the top offer out for Carson Wentz. Unless another team comes over the top Wentz will be headed to Chicago. Bigger offer than most have expected. Bidding war will do that.— Brandon Robinson (@BRobNFL) February 5, 2021
This was the most-engaged tweet to kickstart the Wentz-to-Chicago circus. Other media personalities pounced on it. Some decried the possibility of Chicago beginning the Wentz era while a handful warmed up to the idea.
The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers could be the only teams in the NFC North to enter 2021 will QB1 carryover.
An interesting tidbit on the fresh Wentz Sweepstakes is the price tag. When Matthew Stafford was shipped westward to the Rams last week, his trade restitution reset the market. Stafford was forecasted to fetch perhaps a low 1st-Round pick but more realistically a 2nd-Rounder and other trade sweeteners. Instead, Stafford commanded two 1st-Rounders, a 3rd-Rounder, and a franchise signal-caller in Jared Goff.
Like the worldwide pandemic, trade hauls are contagious. A player like Carson Wentz – who struggled mightily in 2020 – might also retrieve a 1st-Round pick. His performance in 2020,as a standalone timeframe, is wildly incongruent with such a price tag. But the quarterback position is trending toward an inalienable negotiation piece. Even the “bad” quarterbacks are nibbling at 1st-Round restitution.
If Wentz is indeed dealt to Chicago, what does it mean for the Vikings?
Vikings Doing Just Fine Against Wentz So Far
Led by Carson Wentz specifically, the Philadelphia Eagles solved the Vikings just once – five years ago. It was the game that ruined the Vikings perfect 5-0 start in 2016 and exacerbated a season collapse. Minnesota utilizes defensive and special teams touchdowns in 2016 to spearhead the flawless start. When those two groups stopped scoring, so went the Vikings. Minnesota coughed away the early-season momentum and sat at a 6-6 record by the week after Thanksgiving.
Aside from his rookie success versus Minnesota, Wentz has inspired no fear within the Vikings. Kirk Cousins joined the Vikings in 2018 and dueled since Wentz twice. The Eagles are 0-2 against the Vikings with Cousins at the helm, losing in back-to-back seasons, 2018 and 2019.
Wentz has not been horrid versus Minnesota, though. In three games, he’s tossed his way to a 90.1 passer rating on five touchdowns and three interceptions, although some of his production transpired during “garbage time” in 2019 at Minnesota.
All in all, Wentz’s Eagles are 1-2 against the Vikings since his entry into the league.
But is Wentz Eternally Cooked?
Several football heads – Bears brains included – are sour on the Wentz-to-Chicago fodder. The North Dakota State alumnus was outwardly lousy in 2020 for the Eagles. When he was eventually benched, rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts took over and played astutely (for a young quarterback). Therefore, the Philadelphia system can be held accountable to a degree (poor offensive line). But Wentz is not without blame. He just wasn’t very good. Period.
Does that mean Wentz is perpetually doomed? Probably not.
To be sure, most renowned quarterbacks don’t go cliff-diving with their aptitudes at age 28. Most save that for their late-30s or early-40s. Right now, though, is way too soon for Wentz to be ostensibly washed.
It is more likely that Wentz “figures it out” and returns to hisstanding as a fairly good passer than arriving at sharply paced doom. The verdict may be announced in Philadelphia with a new coach, or it could shakedown in the Windy City.
Be guarded in assuming that Wentz’s theoretical addition to the Bears roster is a net negative transaction.
Former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was acquired by Chicago in 2009 after a three-year stint with the Denver Broncos. He led the franchise to an NFC Championship in 2010 but was injured in the contest.
He started that game poorly (6-14, 80 yards, INT), and it was the final playoff game he would ever sniff.
If Wentz joins the Bears, it would have a similar feel to the Cutler era. Cutler was championed for a cannon-like arm and general passing respectability, but he never put the Bears over the hump – even in seasons where Chicago touted its usually ferocious defense. There are not clear parallels in Wentz’s and Cutler’s technique as Wentz is more mobile and Cutler was statuesque. And in life before 2020, Wentz was considered a winner whereas as Cutler was not.
The Vikings should expect perhaps a slight upgrade from Mitchell Trubisky’s four-year tenure in Chicago if the Wentz deal comes to fruition. That’s if Wentz rebounds from his newfound 2020 reputation.
Too, the Bears will be without a high-round draft pick if Wentz becomes QB1.