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Carson Wentz's new contract is a risk, reward for him and the Philadelphia Eagles


Carson Wentz and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie explain why the team signed Wentz to a contract extension. Martin Frank, The News Journal

PHILADELPHIA – There was never a doubt that the Eagles wanted to sign Carson Wentz to a contract extension, or that Wentz wanted to sign one with the Eagles.

It was just all about the timing.

So it was hardly a surprise when the move was announced last Thursday night and made official Monday evening with Wentz signing the four-year, $128 million deal, with $107.9 million guaranteed.

Eagles, Carson Wentz agree to contract extension, reportedly worth record guaranteed money

The deal runs through the 2024 season.

"It was something both sides wanted to get done," Wentz said. "I knew I wanted this to be home for a long time. Ever since being drafted, it’s felt like home. As soon as we found something that was a win-win, that was a fair opportunity, I jumped at it because I love this place, I want to be here for a while."

Wentz's guaranteed money is the largest for a quarterback in the NFL, surpassing the $107 million that Seattle's Russell Wilson got in April.

But Wentz knows that his record won't last very long.

Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles smiles as he walks off the field after the game at Lincoln Financial Field on December 03, 2018 in Philadelphia. Philadelphia defeated Washington 28-13. (Photo: Elsa, Getty Images)

After all, Wentz was taken No. 2 overall in the 2016 draft, behind Jared Goff, who just led the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl, and is also in line for an extension either this year or next. Dallas' Dak Prescott can become a free agent after this season.

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There are also young quarterbacks like Houston's Deshaun Watson and Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes, who will likely sign big second contracts in the coming seasons as the NFL's salary cap is expected to keep rising. 

So Wentz was asked if he would be OK knowing that in three to five years, his contract might be considered below market.

"I’m happy to be in this city long term," he said. "You can play the ‘what if’ game a million different ways, and I don’t get too caught up in that. We talked through it. We thought through it. We wanted to reach something that was fair both for me and my family, but also for this team and this organization for the future. I don’t think I’ll have any regrets."

Wentz could have conceivably waited until after this season and gotten more money, especially if he returns to the MVP-caliber form he displayed in the 2017 season before tearing his ACL and LCL. At that point, he had led the Eagles to an 11-2 mark.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz talks about his NFL football contract extension with the media in Philadelphia on Monday, June 10, 2019. (Photo: Steven M. Falk/AP)

The Eagles could have waited, too, and made sure Wentz made it through a season without suffering another injury.

Wentz missed the final three games and the Eagles' Super Bowl run in 2017 while rehabbing from the knee surgery. Wentz wasn't cleared to return until Week 3 last season. And while Wentz set a team record with a 69.6 completion percentage, he clearly wasn't as mobile as he was the year before.

Then in December, he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back that didn't heal until last month.

"We went through all of those scenarios," Eagles executive vice president for football operations Howie Roseman said. "And for us, we know that we believe in this player. For us, we knew this was something we were going to do at some point. The earlier we did it, the better chance we had of keeping the rest of the team together to the extent that we can. We want to keep as many good players here as possible. Carson understands that.

"We’ll have different challenges, no doubt about it, because this (contract) will take something up (in salary cap space). But by doing it two years early, and taking some of that on the chin this year and next year, so that when we go in those (later) years, it won’t hurt as much."

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Wentz said he didn't have a deadline for getting the deal done. And he let his agents handle the back-and-forth negotiations.

"I just knew this was where I wanted to be," he said. "And once we found a common ground that we were all pretty excited about, we made it happen."

Of course, Wentz doesn't have the pressure about the injuries anymore. Nick Foles, who replaced Wentz the last two seasons, leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl in the 2017 seasons and the playoffs last season, became a free agent and went to Jacksonville.

Wentz has, by all accounts, been playing well during the organized team activities over the past three weeks. The Eagles will conclude the spring practices this week with their mandatory minicamp. At this point last season, Wentz was still rehabbing from his knee surgery and didn't take part in the spring practices.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach Press Taylor speaks with members of the media at the NFL football team's practice facility in Philadelphia, Monday, June 10. (Photo: Matt Rourke, AP)

Eagles quarterbacks coach Press Taylor said he can see a difference, beginning with the fact that Wentz isn't using the knee brace that he had to wear all last season.

"You just see now he’s another year removed from the surgery, and there’s just the comfort and the speed that he’s moving with is great," Taylor said. "It’s what we expected to see with him. He’s doing a great job."

The Eagles were convinced long before that. Wentz's play during the spring practices reinforced it. The Eagles didn't want to wait anymore. Neither did Wentz.

"I think, for us, we had those moments … where you see him on the field and you get excited," Roseman said. "The guy is different – athletically, physically, and then his work ethic and demeanor.

"That consistency, from a leadership position, is huge. But there have definitely been times throughout the offseason, where I felt a little kick in my ass to get it going a little more because he made a great play."

The Eagles are expecting him to make even more of them.

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Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins (27) signs autographs for fans after practice in August 2018 at Lincoln Financial Field. (Photo: Jerry Habraken, The News Journal)

Report: Jenkins present at minicamp

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins reportedly informed the Eagles that he will take part in the mandatory minicamp this week. Jenkins had skipped the first three weeks of OTAs, which are voluntary.

It's believed that Jenkins wants his contract redone.

The news of Jenkins' arrival was reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Eagles safety coach Tim Hauck said Jenkins being away gave the younger players more opportunities at safety, but that his leadership was still missed. Hauck said he didn't know about the report, and couldn't confirm the news.

Philadelphia Eagles safeties coach Tim Hauck speaks with members of the media at the NFL football team's practice facility in Philadelphia, Monday, June 10. (Photo: Matt Rourke, AP)

"We’re not worried about Malcolm," Hauck said. "He’s a good player. He’s going to know the defense. It was probably a benefit for those younger guys that they had to go out and communicate, and kind of figure things out on their own without him guiding them every step of the way, or giving them the right answer to every question."

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

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