What’s Up with Wentz?
Chicago Bears fans have been in a whirlwind of emotions over the last few weeks. It all started when Jimmy Graham caught a walk-off garbage time touchdown from the arm of Mitch Trubisky and walked right into the tunnel of the Superdome back in the Wild Card round. The Bears have been looking for a new quarterback since time expired on yet another first round playoff exit.
It’s no secret, and it’s been pretty transparent how the Bears organization feels about the idea of Trubisky coming back in 2021. Even Chicago insider, David Kaplan has reported, “I have talked to people who are close to Mitchell Trubisky. He has zero interest in coming back here. I’ve also talked to people who are close to Matt Nagy. And they have zero interest in him coming back here,” according to Luis Medina of Bleacher Nation. It’s an ugly breakup between the organization and their now official 2017 2nd overall pick bust. One in which the city of Chicago was split down the middle in half defending Trubisky for years, and the other half advocating for Nick Foles or any other QB that could come in and take over.
The rumors have been flying left and right in Chicago with what seems to be a new name every other day. One name in particular, and a surprising one at that, has remained in the conversation for Chicago’s QB1 in 2021: Carson Wentz.
Wentz has been linked to the Bears for the last couple weeks now, and it seems as though Eagles GM, Howie Roseman has pitted the Bears against the Indianapolis Colts in a bidding war for the five-year veteran signal caller. Brandon Gowton writes for Bleeding Green Nation,
“Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s MMQB was a guest on Colin Cowherd’s The Herd earlier today and he shared plenty of thoughts on the Carson Wentz trade talks with the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts during his brief segment… according to Breer, ‘Chicago is the front runner.’ … Breer again reiterated that ‘the Bears have pushed harder than the Colts,’ and with Chicago offering the best return for the Eagles, it’s up to Philly to convince Wentz to accept playing in the Windy City.”
The obvious move to Indy for Wentz is more ideal for a QB hoping to revert back to his pre-2020 season form. His former offensive coordinator, and who supervised his best season to date, Frank Reich, is the head coach of the Colts. Indianapolis also has a much better and younger offensive line than Chicago. This should be very important to Wentz, who had a 10.3 sack percentage in 2020. Comparatively, Trubisky with Chicago’s O-Line had a 5.7% sack percentage, while Philip Rivers with the Colts was just 3.4%. The instability surrounding the Bears top brass heading into the season is also a cause for concern as well. Why should Wentz actually want to go somewhere where his head coach and general manager may be gone at the end of his first season in Chicago? I can see why Carson would side with Indianapolis over Chicago, and anyone in his position would as well.
From the perspective of Bears fans though, stop saying Carson is the same player as Mitch. I myself have been guilty of it, but after doing actually statistical research, I can’t anymore. Mitch Trubisky has never played a full season in Chicago. He spent significant time in both 2018 and 2019 injured, and was benched in 2020. Carson Wentz has played a full season twice in five years, but the only thing people seem to remember is 2017 when he tore his ACL and missed the playoffs and eventual Super Bowl win. Let’s take a look at 2017 until the present for both players:
|Mitchell Trubisky: Chicago Bears||Carson Wentz: Philadelphia Eagles|
Yes, the two are close in a few categories, but overall, Wentz has been the better player. While the two are separated by one interception, Wentz has thrown almost thirty more touchdowns than Trubisky in the same timeframe. His QBR is much higher, and with a better O-Line, his stats could be even better.
Carson Wentz coming to Chicago would not be a bad thing from an on-the-field perspective, it just may not be the ideal course of action for Ryan Pace to pursue in terms of what we’re giving up. The team is already $6M+ over the cap space for 2021, and adding Wentz’s contract puts even more financial constraints on Chicago’s ability to build a better offense around him. Wentz’s current contract allows him to make well over $134M before he becomes a free agent in 2025. Without restructuring that contract, Chicago would be paying over $30M annually to Wentz, and the front office needs to ask themselves if Wentz is that kind of player. I know his stats have Trubisky beat, but for that kind of money, the Bears should be expecting at least one Super Bowl appearance, let alone a win, from a Wentz-led offense. This all goes in hand with the draft capital Chicago would be giving up. It won’t be as much as the Lions got for Matthew Stafford, but it will still effect Chicago’s draft plans in the future including this April.
Overall, I wouldn’t be against the idea of Carson Wentz becoming a Bear, but I’m also worried about the team putting itself in a financial gridlock. Something they carelessly pursued a year ago when they traded for Nick Foles and his obscure Jaguars contract. Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are making deals for their careers, and I fear they are about to do something out of pure hope that is high risk, but also high reward if Wentz can prove 2020 was a fluke.