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Mike Tannebaum: Carson Wentz Will Be the Worst Quarterback in the AFC South in 2021

Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles officially gave up on Carson Wentz last week, trading him to the Indianapolis Colts for a meager pair of draft picks. The quarterback is now Frank Reich and Indy's problem while the Eagles move forward with Jalen Hurts. The dust has more or less settled from the news and now it's time for the hot takes that will get all football fans through the dog days of the offseason.

Mike Tannebaum got us off to a great start on Monday morning, going on Get Up to declare that Wentz is now the worst quarterback in the division. Worse than Deshaun Watson (who is still a part of the Texans, even if he really doesn't want to be), worse than Ryan Tannehill, and even worse than expected incoming rookie Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville.

It is, of course, indisputable that Wentz is worse than Watson. Nobody, including the man himself, knows if Watson will be on Houston's roster come September and who might replace him if he isn't, so that claim will remain true until Watson is gone. The Tannehill angle is a little closer; at his best, Wentz is much better than Tannehill, but he hasn't played at that level since 2017 and last year he was demonstrably worse than most starting QBs in the league. Tannehill hovers around league-average and as we've seen that's enough to get the job done in Tennessee.

Tannebaum's belief that Lawrence will walk in the door of the Jaguars facilities a better quarterback than Wentz is more interesting. Lawrence certainly looks talented enough to do just that after three dominant years at Clemson. Rookie signal-callers often take time to adjust, but many years there's a guy like Justin Herbert in 2020 who steps onto the field and dices up opposing defenses.

The real issue with the idea of Lawrence doing that is that this Jaguars roster is not particularly well constructed for a young quarterback to win immediately. The offensive line needs a complete overhaul other than at right tackle. James Robinson is a solid running back, which will be helpful, and D.J. Chark is a quality receiver to throw to. But the skill positions are rather thin after that, and Lawrence won't be winning games at any consistent rate until the defense gets nine or 10 new starters. There's also the fact that nobody has any real idea of how this Urban Meyer experiment is going to work out, arguably a more risky endeavor than the Wentz reclamation project.

Lawrence has the arm talent and smarts to do Herbert did, but Herbert was throwing to one of the NFL's most talented receiving corps. Unless the Jaguars draft and buy their way into a top-tier receiving core over the next few months, Lawrence won't have the same benefit. It's unreasonable to expect Wentz catapult back into the same stratosphere as he was when he last worked with Reich, but he'll probably be a bit better. Lawrence would have to be above-average in general, not just for a rookie QB, to be considered definitively better than Wentz, which will be tough with all the new pieces coming in this summer and general work needed on the roster.

It's not out of the realm of possibility. Not by any means. Which speaks to both the astronomical expectations waiting for Lawrence in the pros and how far Wentz' star has fallen in the last 12 months.