January 19th, 2021 at 7:29pm CST by Sam Robinson
Carson Wentz‘s status has fluctuated considerably over the past month and change, with the veteran quarterback having gone from starter to backup and then trade candidate to a player around whom the Eagles again want to build. The fifth-year passer’s issues with the since-fired Doug Pederson began well before the December benching, with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane noting the quarterback would randomly audible out of Pederson play calls down the stretch this season. This helped lead to Pederson benching Wentz on his own. During training camp, however, Eagles staffers saw warning signs of a potential decline, per McLane, who adds that some within the organization were concerned about passing-game coordinator Press Taylor‘s promotion. The proposition of a Pederson-Wentz-Taylor offensive power structure returning next season did not sit well with Lurie. The Eagles promoted Taylor last year but brought in Rich Scangarello and Marty Mornhinweg to help the offense as well; the latter two will not be back next season.
The Eagles are in the process of hiring Pederson’s replacement. Colts OC Nick Sirianni and Cowboys OC Kellen Moore interviewed Tuesday. Here is the latest from Philly and the other NFC East cities:
- Alex Smith said at season’s end he would take a few weeks before deciding if he wanted to play a 17th season. He is under contract through 2022. But the Washington quarterback indicated during a 60 Minutes interview (via CBSNews.com) that the 2020 comeback season “has only emboldened for me that I can, you know, play at this level.” After cutting Dwayne Haskins, Washington has Smith and Kyle Allen under contract for next season. Though, Taylor Heinicke is a restricted free agent. Washington cutting Smith — an onerous proposition in 2019 and ’20 — would save the franchise $14.7MM in cap space, however, creating a complex situation for the QB-needy team.
- Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper recently underwent ankle surgery, but Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram described it as a cleanup procedure (Twitter link). The Cowboys are not concerned about their top wideout missing much offseason time.
- On that note, Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas also went under the knife recently. Last year’s No. 4 overall pick also underwent ankle surgery. Thomas played through ankle pain for much of the season, per Dan Duggan of The Athletic, who adds (via Twitter) the Giants expect Thomas to be ready for their offseason program.
- The Eagles will have a new linebackers coach next season. Ken Flajole will not be back, according to Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio (on Twitter). The 66-year-old assistant joined the Eagles as part of Pederson’s first staff in 2016. After spending most of the 1980s and ’90s as a college coach, Flajole has been an NFL assistant for 22 seasons.