Carson Wentz deal shows just how well the Lions managed the Matthew Stafford trade

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Jeff Risdon
·2 min read
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The Lions and Rams now have company in the 2021 offseason quarterback trade market. Weeks after the Lions agreed to trade Matthew Stafford to the Rams for Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round selection, the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts have agreed to a trade involving Eagles QB Carson Wentz.

In return for Wentz, the Colts will send the Eagles a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional second-round pick that could bump to a first-rounder if Wentz meets certain incentives. As with the Stafford-Goff deal, the trade cannot be finalized until March 17th.

The Eagles’ relatively meager return for Wentz highlights just how well the new Lions front office, led by rookie GM Brad Holmes, handled the Stafford situation.

Let’s compare…

The Lions got all of this in return for Stafford, who is 33 and has suffered two separate instances of a broken back in the last three years:

  • 2021 third-round pick

  • 2022 first-round pick

  • 2023 first-round pick

  • 2016 No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff

Contrast that with what the Eagles landed for Wentz, 28 and with one broken back injury in the last three years.

  • 2021 third-round pick

  • 2022 second-round pick that becomes a first-rounder if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps for the Colts or leads the team to the postseason.

It shows just how valuable the NFL viewed Stafford despite his relative lack of team success in Detroit. Wentz was a leading MVP candidate in the 2017 season before an injury cut short his amazing year after 13 games; those Eagles proceeded to win the Super Bowl behind backup Nick Foles.

Wentz has not been the same player since returning and also suffering another injury in 2018. He led the NFL in interceptions (15) and sacks (50) in 2020 despite playing in just 12 games. He also led the NFL in fumbles (10) when he was benched for rookie Jalen Hurts.

Initial speculation had the Eagles demanding at least equal compensation for Wentz as what the Lions got in return for Stafford. It wound up not being even close. Detroit picked up an extra first-round pick and a replacement starter, at least temporarily, in Goff.

That highlights the correct decision by Holmes and the Lions to jump in front of the market and deal Stafford ahead of all the other potential QB shuffles. The difference between what the Lions will get for Stafford and the Eagles’ return on Wentz is a clear victory for Detroit.

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What draft lessons can we learn from the new Lions regime's past?