Now that the NFL’s 2020 is officially over I would expect chatter about player movement to heat up around the league, with the hottest name still being Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
This morning ESPN’s Adam Schefter said he expects Wentz to be traded “relatively soon,” because the Eagles have received enough interest to make it a foregone conclusion. He still has the Bears and the Colts as the two most likely destinations, but said that other teams have checked in as well.
NJ.com’s Mike Kaye is also reporting that the Bears and the Colts are in the “driver’s seat” in any trade for Wentz, but that a “third undisclosed team is said to be in the mix.”
There are been some chatter about the Houston Texans being that third team, but our own Brandon Robinson has heard that the 49ers have checked in with Philly. Robinson also has the Bears and Colts as the top two teams in the running for Wentz, with the Bears still as the frontrunner.
Steven Holder, who covers the Colts for The Athletic, says that the Colts are definitely in the running for Wentz and that the original asking price from the Eagles was two first-round picks. Holder also says that the Colts would never offer that much for Wentz and that the team is confident they can get Wentz back to the level of play he showed before his abysmal 2020 season.
The Chicago Tribune’s Dan Wiederer reports that the Bears and Eagles have talked about Wentz, but he’s unsure how far those talks have gotten.
The Tribune’s Brad Biggs thinks that with the buzz surrounding a Wentz to Chicago deal being so loud that it could mean Eagles GM Howie Roseman is leaking stuff to the media and using the Bears desperation for a quarterback as a way to drive the price up around the league.
That theory was also shared by Kaye in that NJ.com article I linked above. “While there’s a sense that GM Howie Roseman is trying to drive up the market, the person (Kaye’s source) said Colts GM Chris Ballard and Bears GM Ryan Pace have remained “disciplined” during negotiations.”
Leaks don’t usually come from the Pace and the Bears side of deals, so this theory makes sense.
UPDATE: Kaye is now Tweeting that he wouldn’t be surprised if there are multiple players involved in any Wentz trade.
There was previous chatter about the Bears sending Nick Foles and another offensive player to the Eagles, but maybe there will be players that Philly includes as well.
UPDATE: Mike Garafollo was on the NFL Network earlier today and he said he was almost 100% sure that Wentz would be traded, and that the Bears and Colts are in the mix along with some other teams, and he said that the Bears and Colts are monitoring other available quarterbacks as well.
Those other QBs could be Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, or Derek Carr, all three of which have been rumored to be on the trade block, but maybe that also means the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes is still in play for these two teams.
From a Colts perspective, it could also mean Chicago’s Nick Foles, considering he’s been a rumored option to reunite with Indy head coach Frank Reich.
UPDATE: According to Adam Caplan, an NFL Insider for FOX and SiriusXM who also covers the Eagles, the Bears have no intention on trading two first round picks for Wentz.
Here’s what Caplan said via Inside the Birds.
“As I understand it, the Bears are not interested in giving up two first round picks. They gave up two first round picks [in 2018] to get to get Khalil Mack and then some. They don’t want to do that. I kinda of laughed at the poeple who wanted to comapare the [Matthew] Stafford trade. Folks, Matthew Stafford is a proven NFL quarterback who’s never been benched. Carson Wentz may be a very talented quarterback, but he was benched. The Bears want the guy, that’s based on multiple sources. They want the guy, but I can’t see [Bears GM] Ryan Pace caving in here.”
I do wonder if Pace would give up two first round picks for another QB though.
Regarding those last two updates, it would appear that Pace could be leaking some stuff to counteract the stuff Roseman has been leaking. The gamesmanship is fun to watch, I just hope Pace doesn’t ultimately bid against himself in whatever deal he ends up making.
UPDATE: The Eagles appear to be content, for the time being at least, to wait for something closer to what they want in return for Wentz.
Basically 2 or 3 teams in it, but not at Eagle's price point.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) February 8, 2021
Leaks on "compensation" coming from the Philly side, because they're trying to get teams involved and drive the price up.
Couple other teams called to inquire about price, but made no offer. https://t.co/N9E7aIFsg1
If the Bears do have the best offer in right now, then it makes sense to try to find another team to drive things closer to those two first round picks that Philadelphia is looking for. This would be the time for Pace to give a take it or leave it ultimatum to the Eagles, because the longer this drags on with no resolution or ultimatum, the more likely it is for the Bears to start to bid against themselves.
Allbright also mentions the Colts and the Bears, but he also mentions the Texans and the 49ers.