Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson signed a four-year, $140 million contract last week that made him the NFL’s highest-paid player.
At $35 million per year, that’s right in the ballpark with the megadeal Millville’s Mike Trout signed with the Los Angeles Angels last month. Trout’s 12-year, $430 million contract works out to $35.8 million per season.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, one of Trout’s hunting buddies, could break those records soon. The Eagles already have indicated they intend to give Wentz enough money to buy North Dakota — and maybe even South Dakota if he’s interested — before his rookie contract expires at the end of the 2020 season.
“We want Carson on this team long-term,” Eagles Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman said Tuesday during his predraft news conference.
The Eagles should wait before offering him that large contract, however.
It makes no sense to sign him to a huge extension until he proves he can stay healthy enough to warrant it.
As everyone knows, he’s missed part of the last two seasons with two torn knee ligaments and a broken bone in his back. He revealed this past week the back injury has not yet fully healed, generating more concern about his durability.
When the injury was announced Dec. 12, coach Doug Pederson indicated there was a three-month recovery period. It’s now four months in, and Wentz is still not 100 percent.
“It’s still getting there, it’s still getting there,” Wentz told NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com. “Some of this stuff just takes time, but that’s not really the main concern. It’s just kind of how I feel. I feel pretty good with where I’m at.”
Wentz played a full season as a rookie in 2016 but missed most of the preseason with a broken rib. He also missed most of his senior season at North Dakota State with a broken wrist, so he hasn’t had a fully healthy season since his junior year of 2014.
Contrast that with Wilson, who joined Seattle as a third-round draft pick in 2012.
At 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, Wilson is 6 inches shorter and approximately 15 pounds lighter than Wentz. Yet, despite his aggressive playing style, Wilson has yet to miss a game in his NFL career, having played in 124 consecutive regular-season and playoff games in his six seasons with the Seahawks.
The Rams’ Jared Goff, who was drafted No. 1 overall in front of Wentz in 2016, has started 42 of a possible 43 games in the last three seasons, having sat out the 2017 regular-season finale to rest for the playoffs.
Wentz, meanwhile, watched Nick Foles lead the Eagles in the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, including a victory in Super Bowl LII in 2017 in which he was the game’s MVP.
“I get it, I get it,” Wentz said of the durability concerns. “I’m looking forward to putting the (questions) behind me. I understand that (injuries) are part of this league. It’s a physical league, and things happen. But it’s one of those things that’s out of my control.”
It’s not out of the Eagles’ control, however.
They apparently still think Wentz is an elite player. Otherwise, they would have exercised their option on Foles instead of letting him sign with Jacksonville, then drafted one of the hot quarterbacks — Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon’s Justin Herbert — that are likely to be available in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.
But just in case, they issued a second-round tender worth more than $3 million to keep Nate Sudfeld as Wentz’s primary backup this year. They may also take a quarterback in the coming week’s draft, though it’s difficult to fathom them taking one in the top three rounds.
It’s much too early to panic with Wentz. He’ll likely be ready for the start of Organized Team Activities next month and barring a setback will certainly be cleared when training camp opens in late July.
Ideally, he’ll stay healthy throughout the 2019 season, led the team to the playoffs and perhaps even contend for the NFL MVP award.
But until he does it, the only big bucks he should be seeing are the ones he encounters on his hunting trips with Trout.
David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press.