It Is Still Entirely Unclear Whether Jared Goff and Carson Wentz Are Good NFL Quarterbacks

Drafted to be franchise quarterbacks back-to-back in 2016, Goff and Wentz were both dealt this offseason

Jared Goff and Carson Wentz have had eerily similar careers thus far.
Jared Goff and Carson Wentz have had eerily similar careers thus far.
Ronald Martinez, Christian Petersen, Kseniya Ovchinnikova, Getty

In the 2016 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams selected quarterback Jared Goff out of Cal with the No. 1 overall pick. Then, North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz followed him off the board after the Philadelphia Eagles traded two first-round picks, a second-rounder and two more selections to the Cleveland Browns to move up to the second spot.

Though neither quarterback was projected to be a once-in-a-lifetime quarterback like Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck, Goff and Wentz were viewed as solid selections, and the bounty of draft capital the Eagles surrendered to move up to No. 2 to get their man was mostly regarded as a fine investment. (Some of that capital eventually allowed the Browns to trade for Odell Beckham.)

Wentz got the starting job in Philadelphia right off the bat and went 18-11 over his first 29 games in the NFL before an injury forced him to the sidelines and opened the door for Nick Foles to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl and the franchise’s first championship.

Despite being the No. 1 pick, Goff did not begin his career as the starter in LA and went 0-7 when the team did finally give him the reins during his rookie season. Following the rough start, Goff rebounded nicely under the leadership of head coach Sean McVay, going 24-7 as a starter in his second and third regular seasons, even leading the Rams to the Super Bowl in the latter, where they lost to the New England Patriots.

Of the two, Wentz probably flashed the higher upside, but Goff, at least under the tutelage of McVay, won more games. Both quarterbacks did enough that their respective teams picked up their fifth-year options in 2019 and signed them to pricey extensions that included tons of guaranteed money.

Both drafted high. Both paid at the top of the market. And now … both traded.

After the Rams dealt Goff and three draft picks to the Lions in exchange for Matthew Stafford two weeks ago, the Eagles agreed to send Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for a third-round pick and a conditional second-rounder that has a good chance of becoming a first-round selection earlier this week.

While the deals were done for different reasons, one thing they share in common is the team that drafted each player is in effect stating they do not believe in him as a franchise quarterback moving forward. Another thing they share in common is that the Eagles and Rams are both eating a ton of money to get rid of their former first-round pick.

It is only fitting the trades have so much in common as Goff and Wentz are actually fairly similar players, even outside of their first-round draft statuses and contract situations. Beyond wins and losses — which are also obviously related to the strengths and weaknesses of their teams overall — Wentz and Goff have put up similar numbers during their first five seasons in the NFL.

See the scrollable comparison below:

Whether those numbers will continue to mirror one another going forward remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to see whether the Eagles and Rams were mistaken in giving up on Wentz and Goff — or if the mistake was drafting them in the first place.

Whatever happens, the top two members of the 2016 draft class appear destined to be inexorably linked and compared to one another this season and beyond. They are, in effect, the same promising but as-of-yet-unproven quarterback, just like they were upon entering the league five years ago. At this point, only Schrodinger can tell whether each of them will ever be worth a damn.

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