Entering his fourth season out of North Dakota State University, Carson Wentz has made his way toward the top echelon of the NFL quarterback fraternity.
There’s no doubting his talent, of which he put on full display in his 2016 rookie year, giving Eagles fans hope for the future while being named a Rookie of the Year finalist.
Entering the 2019 season, Wentz is a 9-1 favorite to win the 2019 NFL MVP award, according to BetOnline.ag. He’s tied with both Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck for second behind Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.
There’s also no question that Wentz is one of the league’s better rising star quarterbacks. However, as injuries ended each of his last two seasons, the biggest question is whether or not he can stay healthy. To put Wentz – who’s played all 16 games just once in his young career thus far – as the second favorite over someone also on a meteoric rise like Baker Mayfield (12/1), or even over Tom Brady (14/1), is definitely debatable, to say the least.
Mayfield has every weapon a quarterback could want in Cleveland to put up video game-like numbers in 2019, and Brady is… well, Tom Brady.
To his credit, Wentz isn’t exactly a one-hit wonder. He played a huge role in guiding the Eagles towards the playoffs in 2017 before Nick Foles came on in relief after Wentz tore his knee at the L.A. Rams in Week 14. Wentz was on pace for a career year and would’ve come close to or went just over 4,000 yards passing and had a legit shot at 40 touchdowns had he stayed healthy for the final three games of the season. He finished 2017 with 3,296 yards passing and 33 touchdowns in 13 games.
Last season, coming off of the torn knee, he regressed and only played in 11 games, again, ending his season due to injury. He went 5-6 as a starter and barely passed the 3,000-yard passing mark while just throwing 21 touchdowns, a steep decline pace-wise compared to his MVP-type 2017 campaign.
In 2019, not only did he and the Eagles lose the safety net of Foles, he signed a four-year, $128 million contract extension, adding even more pressure to the 26-year-old signal-caller.
The Eagles addressed several needs on the offensive side of the ball to keep Wentz upright, comfortable, and most importantly healthy. They addressed needs on the offensive line and signed Jordan Howard, one of the best pass protectors out of the backfield. They even picked up some new weapons in rookies Miles Sanders and JJ Arcega-Whiteside, along with bringing back wideout DeSean Jackson in hopes that Wentz, again, if he can stay healthy, can repeat or even exceed his 2017 breakout performance.
And that’s the biggest question: can Wentz stay healthy for an entire season again?
He has the arm and ability to be one of the great NFL quarterbacks of this generation and definitely one of the best the Eagles have ever had. But for a quarterback that’s been hurt the last two years, that also struggled out of the gate the first time coming off of an injury, health is a big question for Wentz entering 2019.
Instead of MVP odds on Wentz, there should be odds on whether or not he finishes through a 16-game season in 2019. It would only be just the second time he does so in his young career, but his health alone would then help his MVP cause, and solidify his odds.