The True Cost of Acquiring Carson Wentz

Patrick Causey, on Twitter @pcausey3

Now that the regular season has ended, we have a better understanding of just how much the Eagles traded to acquire Carson Wentz when we factor in their subsequent trade of Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings. Indeed, the latter trade was made as a result of the former, and will forever be linked in determining the foreseeable future of this franchise. Here is a breakdown of the picks the Eagles sent out and received as a result of both trades:

Year Traded Received
2016 1st (8)

3rd (77)

4th (100)

1st (2)
2017 1st (12) 1st (14)


2018 2nd 4th

If we look at this from a pure draft pick perspective, the Eagles only traded Sam Bradford, a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round pick in exchange for Carson Wentz and 4th round pick.

Seems like a no brainer — right?

But the Eagles got an even better ROI once we consider the actual value of each pick involved in the trade. According to the draft value chart, the number 2 overall pick the Eagles used to draft Wentz is worth 2,600 points. The number 8 overall pick they traded to acquire him was worth 1,400 points. That’s a net difference of 1,200 points.

Meanwhile, the Eagles first round pick this year that is heading to Cleveland is #12 overall, and is worth 1,200 points, while the pick they acquired from the Vikings for the Bradford trade, #14 overall, is worth 1,100 points. Meaning they lost 100 points in draft value.

Subtract that 100 points in lost value from the 1,200 in points gained as a result of moving up from 8 to 2, and the Eagles had a total net gain of 1,100 points. That is the functional equivalent of the #14 overall pick in the draft.

I might have lost some of you there with the math, so let me make this simple. The Eagles essentially traded Sam Bradford, a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd in exchange for Carson Wentz, the #14 overall pick and a 4th round pick.

The math will change slightly as we learn the value of the other picks involved in this trade, but overall, that is unbelievable value, especially if Carson Wentz ends up being as good as we think he can be.

UPDATE: Dave Mangel of Bleeding Green Nation pointed out that we should also factor in that the Eagles traded Kiko Alonso, Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray. This is true, although we also need to consider what the Eagles received in return for moving these players. And that is where we start to open the Pandora’s Box a little bit.

The Eagles were able to move up from 13 to 8 thanks to trading Alonso and Maxwell, which is worth the 4th pick in the 3rd round, according to the Draft Value Chart. The Eagles also moved up to the top of the 4th round thanks to the pick swap involved in the Murray trade. Both picks were included in the Wentz deal, so both trades should be considered. Of course, we should also consider that the Birds received significant cap space as a result of all of the trades. Maxwell still had approximately  $55 million remaining on his contract, $13 million of which was guaranteed. Murray had  $9 million remaining in guaranteed money on the $42 million contract he signed. And trading Bradford removed his $18 million in salary that he was owed in 2017 (although $5.5 million in guaranteed salary from 2016 carries over to the 2017 cap). Parsing through the exact relief is a little bit tricky, but suffice it to say, the newfound cap space helped the Eagles retain Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox and Zach Ertz, and freed up cap space to address holes on the Eagles roster in the next two seasons (as opposed to paying Bradford, Murray, and Maxwell).

I think we are extending this analysis too far, but I won’t argue if you want to take this analysis as far back as you can go. If we did that, the end result looks something like this: Bradford, #13 overall, Murray, Maxwell, Alonso, a 2nd and a 3rd for Wentz, the #14 overall pick, a high 3rd, a 4th and approximately $35 million in cap space that helped retain Cox, Johnson and Ertz. 

Bottom line: the Eagles were able to minimize the cost of acquiring their franchise quarterback of the future thanks to a series of smart trades by Howie Roseman. That the Eagles traded players they had no intentions of keeping on their roster long term is just icing on the proverbial cake.