SF 49ers must avoid trade for Eagles QB Carson Wentz

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) meets with San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) meets with San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

There’s buzz the SF 49ers could be interested in trading for quarterback Carson Wentz, but all the evidence suggests it would be a bad idea.

The SF 49ers aren’t the only team dealing with a quarterback controversy to close out the 2020 regular season.

If anything, the Niners could argue their quarterback situation is much less volatile than the one the Philadelphia Eagles are going through with their former starter, Carson Wentz, and the currently starting rookie, Jalen Hurts.

Hurts getting the nod over the scuffling Wentz has led many to believe Philly will want to move on from its top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, most likely via a trade to at least recoup some sort of value for the 27-year-old one-time Pro Bowler.

And since San Francisco is facing an uncertain future with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, it’s natural there’s speculation for a Wentz-to-SF 49ers move this offseason.

At least according to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell (h/t Niners Nation):

"I wrote recently about how the 49ers are in difficult cap straits next year, which makes the possibility of fitting Wentz into their lineup a near impossibility. Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman said this week that he expects to leave the 49ers after the season as a result of their cap concerns, and he’s not the only player who will be on the way out.If the Niners want to make a change at quarterback, though, they have the flexibility to create significant short-term cap space by cutting Jimmy Garoppolo. Releasing the oft-injured Garoppolo would free up $23.6 million in cap space in 2021, a close match for the $25.4 million cap figure Wentz would occupy after being traded. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said in October that it was only a matter of time before Wentz turned things around; maybe he meant a matter of a move instead."

No. No chance.

True, Wentz could use a change of scenery. And the thought of head coach Kyle Shanahan possibly wanting an upgrade over Garoppolo hasn’t gone away despite the latter being injured for much of 2020.

Yet there are two reasons why Wentz doesn’t make sense for the Niners.

SF 49ers don’t help their cap situation by trading for Carson Wentz

San Francisco has a total of 40 pending free agents this offseason. While most could easily be gone, considering the SF 49ers have just over $22 million in cap space for 2021, per Over the Cap, re-signing players like offensive tackle Trent Williams and fullback Kyle Juszczyk have to be considered top priorities.

Those two alone could easily eat up the $22 million in space next season, and the Niners would need to have at least $8 million to $10 million set aside for next year’s NFL Draft class.

Cutting or trading Garoppolo would free up that $24.1 million, yes, making the prospects of re-signing Williams and Juszczyk much easier, and it also affords the team more resources to make a much-needed extension for linebacker Fred Warner.

As Barnwell points out, Wentz’s post-trade salary would be higher than that saved by parting ways with Garoppolo, thereby putting the cap-pressed Niners into a situation no better than the one they’re already in with Jimmy G under contract next year.

Carson Wentz is on the regression path anyway

This isn’t a situation where the Eagles have two high-caliber quarterbacks on their roster and need to offload one of them.

No, Wentz is in full regression mode. While his 2019 touchdown-to-interception ratio of 27-to-7 looked good enough, his 93.1 passer rating marked a downgrade from his previous 2017 and 2018 campaigns, although one can safely point out a lack of legitimate pass-catching weapons.

But 2020 has revealed a complete fall-off in terms of Wentz’s production. Just check out where his rankings are this season out of 35 qualifiers:

  • Completion percentage: 57.4 (34th)
  • Touchdown percentage: 3.7 (27th)
  • Interceptions: 15 (35th)
  • Interception percentage: 3.4 (T 32nd)
  • Passer rating: 72.8 (34th)

That’s the definition of a reclamation project, and that’s not what San Francisco needs in the wake of a would-be Garoppolo departure.

Instead, the SF 49ers should save whatever compensation they would give up for Wentz for reconstructing the roster while also using a high-profile pick in the draft on a promising quarterback who could be molded into the kind of signal-caller Shanahan would need to engineer his offense.

Next. 6 quarterbacks 49ers can look at in draft who aren't Zach Wilson. dark

Not a player who is showing all the signs of being on the decline.