Quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were selected first and second overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Both players were pinpointed as the prospective cornerstones of their respective franchises for the next decade plus. Five years later, Goff has left the Los Angeles Rams, while Wentz is battling for his future at the Philadelphia Eagles. So what has gone wrong with the two quarterbacks, and can their careers be salvaged?
Goff endured a tough start to his NFL career as he was thrown straight into the deep end at the Rams with an under-fire coach in Jeff Fisher. Fisher did not last the quarterback’s rookie season and was replaced by Sean McVay in 2017.
Under the tenure of McVay, Goff enjoyed a transformation, leading the franchise to the Super Bowl in the 2018 season. However, he made key mistakes under pressure against the New England Patriots, putting only three points on the board. Goff continued to underwhelm in the 2019 and 2020 campaigns, which put a strain on his relationship with McVay.
Despite signing the quarterback to a long-term extension in 2019, the Rams opted to trade away the 26-year-old along with multiple draft picks to acquire Matthew Stafford in a deal with the Detroit Lions. You can see how each team’s Super Bowl odds have changed since the trade – one that favors the Rams initially.
Goff now finds himself on a rebuilding team under a first-year head coach in Dan Campbell, who has raised eyebrows with his interesting introductory press conference. The quarterback now has to prove his quality on his own merit without the safety net of McVay. One of the criticisms that has been levied at the 26-year-old is his inability to rise to the occasion without the direct planning of his former head coach, failing to make key throws in clutch moments. Goff now has the opportunity to showcase his talent, although the odds are stacked against him in Detroit.
Wentz was benched last season in Philadelphia after his struggles from the 2019 season carried over into 2020. It has all gone downhill for Wentz since suffering a torn ACL against Goff and the Rams in the 2017 season. He was forced to watch Nick Foles take over his position and put himself in Philadelphia folklore by leading the franchise to victory in Super Bowl LII.
Head coach Doug Pederson kept faith with Wentz following his recovery from injury, but he was once again on the sidelines in another post-season in 2018, although it ended in disappointment for the franchise.
Despite his injury problems, the Eagles penned the quarterback to a contract extension worth $128m over four years. Although Wentz led his team into the post-season once more – he endured yet another unfortunate injury, suffering a concussion in the first quarter of his side’s defeat to the Seattle Seahawks.
Wentz lacked talent around him in all areas of the Eagles’ offense in the 2020 campaign. His offensive line failed to provide protection, while his receiving corps lacked consistency. The quarterback was unable to elevate the form of the players around him and consequently struggled.
The Eagles were underwhelming throughout the term and finished with a 4-11-1- record, which saw Wentz pulled from the starting line-up and replaced by rookie Jalen Hurts. Pederson paid the price for their poor campaign as the franchise’s hierarchy appeared to side with Wentz over their Super Bowl-winning coach. Nick Sirianni was hired as his replacement and may move forward with Wentz, but the leash will be short for the 28-year-old even if he does start the 2021 season.
Teams may believe that their futures are in a good place with quarterbacks that initially impress. However, the NFL is a cruel mistress and fortunes can turn in a single play.