It was one of the descriptors he used for Wentz when asked if the 2016 No. 2 overall pick would remain on the roster in 2021 — Lurie said it wasn’t his decision to make — and it’s how he framed the QB situation when giving an argument for why Philadelphia would be a desirable spot to be a head coach.
“We’ve got two really interesting assets. They are both young. They are both hungry. They are terrific people, very different and terrific people,” Lurie said during a videoconference to discuss the firing of Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson. “A coach is going to have options. A coach is going to have an ability to fix what he feels is necessary in our offense and have a potential star in Carson and a potential star in Jalen. That gives us an asset, also, so that if we end up deciding on one some day, the other is a really good asset.”
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In other words, Lurie seems to imply, once they’re sold on who QB1 is, the other can be dealt for, well, more assets. The “some day” phrasing suggests both will be kept on the roster while the evaluation process plays out, setting up the possibility Wentz and Hurts will be sharing a quarterback room once more in 2021.
Those comments offer a view into how Lurie operates. With quarterback being the most important position in football, his philosophy is to invest because it can yield strong returns, whether it’s a Super Bowl title courtesy of backup Nick Foles or a first-round pick-plus from the Minnesota Vikings for Sam Bradford’s services in 2016.
The decision to move on from Pederson was not tied to Wentz, who planned to ask for a trade in the offseason because his relationship with Pederson was fractured beyond repair, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. But now that Pederson is out, it would benefit the Eagles from an organizational standpoint if the next coach believed in Wentz and connected with him because by keeping Wentz, Lurie would retain the “options” he desires at the position and wouldn’t have to absorb what would be a record-setting dead cap hit by trading Wentz after giving him a four-year, $128 million extension in the summer of 2019.
That makes sense. But choosing a path where both QBs return does not fully account for the human side of this equation. That’s what got the Eagles in trouble in the first place.
When the Eagles drafted Hurts in the second round of April’s draft, the move was guided by core philosophy and done with the belief Wentz and Hurts, both considered good teammates, could coexist. But when there’s two alpha males gunning for one spot, there is going to be friction. They’re going to be standoffish. And when one stumbles, as Wentz did, the other will rally to capture hearts and minds in the name of engineering wins. Next thing you know, allegiances are split, the relationship with the original starter becomes strained, and a quarterback controversy sets in.
Dan Orlovsky says the pressure is on Carson Wentz now that the Eagles have fired Doug Pederson.
Given those dynamics and how last season played out, it will be impossible for Wentz not to look over his shoulder if he and Hurts are on the same team next season, even if he has the full commitment of the coach and is playing lights out. In the Philadelphia media market, it will not take long for a murmur to swell into a roar the moment there is a dip in play.
Would Wentz really sign up for that again?
The Wentz-Foles pairing worked in 2017 because the roles were defined: Wentz was the franchise guy, Foles his support system. Once Foles won the Super Bowl, the lines blurred and the set-up became unsustainable. It’s the same reason why Bradford demanded a trade the moment Wentz was drafted in 2016: there’s only room for one player at the quarterback position.
That’s the flaw in Lurie’s thinking: while the idea of having multiple “assets” at quarterback is enticing, two magnets facing the same way repel each other. Locker rooms function best when there’s one with gravitational pull.
So while it’s nice to have options, the new coach would be best served moving forward quickly with what he views as the best one.