What Joe Banner would do if faced with Carson Wentz-Jalen Hurts dilemma

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Dave Zangaro
·4 min read
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What Joe Banner would do if faced with Wentz-Hurts dilemma originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Former Eagles president Joe Banner spent two decades in the NFL making tough decisions.

He’s happy he doesn’t have to make this one.

“This is why I’m glad I’m sitting here on the couch talking to you,” Banner said to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Michael Barkann this week.

Banner was specifically talking about the Eagles’ future at the quarterback position. Carson Wentz vs. Jalen Hurts.

He thinks the Eagles need to pick one and move on.

Maybe there’s a chance that Wentz and Hurts are both back for the 2021 season and there’s a training camp battle to decide the Eagles’ future starting quarterback. But Banner just can’t see that happening.

“I would be scared to death to make that decision. I really would,” Banner said. “But they don’t really have a choice. I really don’t think they can bring both those guys back together and just have them compete. That’s just not set up well to do that. And at least what I think I know of the personalities, that’s going to be very hard to do. Maybe if there’s a coaching change, you could at least rationalize it. But that’s a tough dynamic.

“You have to almost go, ‘We’re going to bring them both in and the last week of training camp, whichever one wins it, the other one, we’re going to see if we can move.’ Because keeping those guys there together within the team, within the building, frankly, within the media, it’s just going to be so stirred up. And you really want calm as much as you possibly can have it.”

For what it’s worth, Banner said he never would have benched Wentz. He would have simply gone through this season trying to fix the franchise quarterback with an understanding that the season was lost. But the Eagles made the decision to start Hurts for the final four games and he did some nice things.

The problem, according to Banner, was that he hasn’t seen enough of Hurts to really decide whether or not he can be the franchise guy. Banner said he has liked some things that Hurts has done but there have been some less-than-encouraging things too, things that backed up his thoughts about the second-round pick before the draft.

The nightmare scenario in all this would be if the Eagles end up making a decision between these two quarterbacks and get it wrong. If they decide to move on from Wentz and he goes elsewhere to have Pro Bowl seasons, they’d look awful.

But Banner thinks they need to make a decision.

“I don’t know how you figure this out,” Banner said. “Because if you get back to where Wentz was, especially when you figure in the cost of the contract, you’d really love to have that happen. On the other hand, bringing two guys in who are both really confident, really strong-willed, both strong leaders, both will have different allies in the locker room.

“Boy, if I were there, I think I’d be encouraging us to get it right or wrong but let’s make a decision. Let’s just make a decision and trust it and be all in on it.”

Banner said he just can’t envision a real battle in training camp where Wentz and Hurts each get half of the snaps. He said that really wouldn’t be fair to prepare the eventual starter that way and he also brought a good point that these quarterbacks are so different that the offense needs to be different around them. How do you do that in a training camp?

Another point I have brought up before is that Hurts is so dynamic with his legs that he can’t even really showcase all his skills in practices. So how can you pick the better quarterback based on training camp sessions that don’t allow him to use the one quality of his that makes him special?

Banner says that if the Eagles decide to move on from Wentz, that contract is tradable. It would ultimately leave a ton of dead money on the books and Banner doesn’t think the Eagles would get much in the way of a return, but if they decide Wentz isn’t the guy, they’re better off unloading him than keeping him around.

“That’s why I said the hand they’ve been dealt is either keep him and it’s really expensive or they trade him and it’s really expensive,” Banner said. “It’s actually a little less expensive if you trade him than if you keep him. So if he’s going to end up being on the bench or if he’s going to end up being a starter that is not adequate to win, they’re actually better off from a cap perspective to trade him than to keep him.”

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