Eagles were rewarded for avoiding the sunk cost fallacy with Carson Wentz

It’s hard to quantify how ridiculously horrible it was for the Indianapolis Colts to lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

The stakes for Indy were clear. Jacksonville was 2-14 years old, fired his coach amid a scandal, and their franchise QB which was selected as No. 1 in last year’s draft set up a rookie campaign to forget. The Colts were the road favorites with 14.5 points, and all they had to do was beat a dead Jaguars team and they would clinch a playoff berth.

Of course, this did not happen.

Somehow, Carson Wentz and head coach Frank Reich choked things up with an incomprehensible 26-11 loss. Wentz was downright horrible in the loss, going 17 for 29 with 185 passing yards, one fumble, one interception and one touchdown, with a 74.6 passer rating. He has been sacked six times and, as has become painfully clear over the past two years, his ability to play in the pocket and remain elusive is now elusive to him.

And while the Indianapolis sports fan base is certainly more forgiving than that of Philadelphia, criticism is mounting.

Screen scan in Philadelphia, where the Eagles head to the playoffs as the NFC No.7 seed. They’re 8.5-point underdogs coming into their competition against defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs, and defeating Tom Brady on the road, in a playoff game, is a tall order. But they are there, and regardless of how things go on Sunday afternoon in Florida, the 2021 season is a resounding success.

Over the summer, none of this seemed possible. The team had fired their Super Bowl-winning head coach after a 4-11-1 season and Wentz, their franchise quarterback, had been benched in favor of Jalen Hurts and demanded a trade from Philly. But remember, a trade was never a sure thing.

Most teams don’t trade quarterbacks they gave $ 107 million in guaranteed money the year before. Most teams don’t trade quarterbacks that have a cap of $ 33.8 million for an upcoming season. Most teams choke on their bile, face a potential discontent, and move on regardless.

In fact, no team has ever traded a player who represented so much dead money in NFL history. Never. Not once.

Howie Roseman was faced with a decision. Is he keeping Wentz hoping things will improve and move forward with him in 2021 to avoid that staggering dead money cap? Or does he eat the money, go for his inexpensive second-round pick, trade in his once-franchise quarterback and wash his hands of it all?

The sunk cost fallacy is a tendency that people have in which they follow through on something if they have already invested a lot of time, energy, or money in it, even though the cost-benefit ratio is no longer. in their interest.

There’s a reason most people don’t come out of a horrible movie if they’ve paid a lot of money to see it. There is a reason some people keep putting money into the pot of a big poker hand even though they realize there is a small chance that they will actually win. There’s a reason some people continue to waste dollar after dollar on renovating a home long after the cost of the renovation has exceeded the home’s actual value.

As for Carson Wentz, the Eagles had committed $ 107 million and years of coaching and relationship building with him. It would have been understandable if Roseman had decided to just plug in, even if Wentz’s situation in Philadelphia had become untenable.

Who knows what would have happened if he hadn’t torn up his ACL in 2017? As the league’s likely MVP, he likely would have helped the Eagles win Super Bowl 52, and perhaps the limited player we see now would still be the dynamic, confident, and game-creating stud that he was. five years ago.

But that did not happen. Instead, Roseman realized that it made no sense to keep a player who didn’t want to be there and who wasn’t the player they hoped he would be. Now Roseman has contributed to this misfortune and the financial mess they found themselves in. He decided to pay all that money to Wentz and then, knowing his QB had a fragile ego, drafted a quarterback in the second round of the 2020 draft. The situation was created by Roseman.

However, the fact that Roseman was the one who made these decisions makes it all the more remarkable that he did not become a slave to them.

He did what no one else in NFL history had ever done: pay a player $ 33.8 million to play for someone else. In return, they were given a third round pick in 2021 and a second round pick in ’22 that would become a first round pick if Wentz played at least 75% of his team’s snaps, or 70% if they played the playoffs. Roseman used that third round to move from No.12 in last year’s draft to No.10, where they edged the New York Giants and took on DeVonta Smith, and have three first-round picks in the April Draft. .

Oh, and they made the playoffs as well.

Now. no one is 100% sold on Hurts as a QB franchise, but he was at least as good as Wentz would have been in Philadelphia this year and probably a lot better. Accounting for just over $ 1 million in ceiling space, the former Alabama star led the Eagles to a 9-8 record and a playoff berth.

What happened in Indianapolis is secondary to what Roseman did, but the fact that the Colts missed the playoffs with Wentz playing a full season makes the story a real tragedy for Indianapolis fans. Not only have they lost their first-round pick this year, but they’ve missed out on the playoffs and can’t be totally sure Carson is their QB franchise to move forward.

If Roseman had fallen victim to the sunk cost fallacy the Eagles probably wouldn’t have had as good a season with Wentz as they did with Hurts, they don’t have any extra picks in the first round this year, and they just can’t. – not be Smith.

So what have we learned here? What can other NFL franchises take away from this exercise?

The moral of the story is not to stick with a player who is no longer suitable for your team just because he is making a lot of money. If you can get something of value for a player who doesn’t want to be around anymore or whose skills are dwindling, a smart GM should do it, even if that means eating a substantial amount of money. After all, a team is likely to lose with a malcontent with waning skills who is no longer suited anyway, so why not pay that player to play elsewhere, open up the space on your team, and keep going. your life, especially if someone is willing to give you something of value for that player?

Teams that copy what the Eagles have done may not see the situation going as well, but it’s always the right thing to do. In this case, the process and the results matched, much to Philadelphia’s delight and Indy’s disappointment.

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