Carson Wentz

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Plenty of pressure on Carson Wentz in 2019

Eliot Shorr-Parks
March 24, 2019 - 7:31 am

To say the spotlight will be shining bright on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz this upcoming season is an understatement. 

The idea that there will be pressure on Wentz is nothing new, and the reasons have been listed before. Wentz will be tasked with playing the toughest position in sports and leading a franchise that expects to compete for a Super Bowl each season. He will be coming off of two-season ending injuries. He will be stepping into the shoes of a quarterback in Nick Foles that brought the city their first Super Bowl, and had a statue outside of Lincoln Financial Field last season. He will be playing for a contract extension that could pay him upwards of $100 million. 

Add it all up, and there is little debate that not only is there a ton of pressure on Wentz, but the Eagles’ quarterback steps in 2019 with arguably more pressure on him than any athlete in any other sport. 

In the MLB, there is argument for Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, both of whom just signed massive deals. With hundreds of million in their pockets, however, they have the financial security Wentz does not. They also do not have the spotlight that being in the NFL places on Wentz. 

In the NBA, although his first season in Los Angeles has been a complete disaster, the pressure is off of LeBron James right now. Their pressure on him next season will be high, but with three rings and a cemented place on the Mt. Rushmore of basketball, he already has career accomplishments Wentz does not. Other stars — like Kawhi Leonard in Toronto, Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee or James Harden in Houston — don’t have the spotlight on them that Wentz will as the quarterback of an NFL franchise. 

As for the NHL, more people watched the Pro Bowl this year than the Stanley Cup Finals, so it is hard to even compare the two sports when it comes to expectations and pressure on the athletes. 

In his own sport, it is hard to find a player with more pressure. Patrick Mahomes has high expectations, but has already won an NFL MVP and a playoff game. Jared Goff is coming off of two playoff wins and a Super Bowl appearance. Tom Brady has pressure each season, but in a far different way. Each NFL quarterback faces pressure to a certain degree, but none enter 2019 with the unique situation Wentz does.

There is an argument for Baker Mayfield in Cleveland, now that he has a loaded offense to work with, but Mayfield is entering just his second season and is playing for a franchise that will be thrilled with a playoff appearance. That is not the case in Philadelphia, where a trip to the playoffs is expected, and a win in the postseason will be expected as well. Mayfield can afford, for this season, to lose in the playoffs. That might not be the case for Wentz, who is stepping in for a quarterback in Nick Foles that has a reputation for winning the big games. 

The shadow of Foles is really one of the main reasons Wentz enters next season with so much pressure. Foles’ resume is an impressive one, and his reputation makes his shadow especially hard to emerge from. Foles was known for winning the toughest and biggest games, something Wentz has not done so far in his career. Fair or not, a loss by the Eagles in a primetime game will be met with plenty of fans pointing out Foles would have won that game. 

To simply meet the standard Foles set over the last two seasons, Wentz needs to either win a Super Bowl or make it to the second round of the playoffs. Anything less and, fair or not, there will be plenty of fans asking if the Eagles kept the wrong quarterback. 

That, no matter how you slice it, is plenty of pressure -- more than any athlete has seen in this city in some time. 

You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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