Cleveland Browns CB Denzel Ward starred against the Eagles
Eagles fans love to gloat how they won the trade with the Cleveland Browns for Carson Wentz in 2016, but they may have forgotten that the Browns wound up with Denzel Ward after all the trading was done, and he was huge in the Browns 22-7 victory on Sunday.
It’s true that without Wentz the Eagles would probably not have made it to Super Bowl LII (52) following the 2017 season, though Nick Foles was at the helm when they actually won it against Tom Brady and the Patriots. Wentz got them off to an 11-2 start. Still, Eagles fans can forever boast that they beat Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Almost all of the draft picks that the Browns received for Wentz flopped. But they kept re-investing some of the draft picks. Ultimately as far as we can tell, they wound up with Ward, the cornerback from The Ohio State University, as well as several players who ended up not making it, including Corey Coleman, Shon Coleman, Cody Kessler, Ricardo Louis, Derrick Kindred, Jordan Payton, Spencer Drango, Jabrill Peppers (traded along with a draft pick for Odell Beckham, Jr.), DeShone Kizer (traded for Damarius Randall), Chad Thomas, and Antonio Callaway.
In case any Eagles fans forgot that Ward is still on the Browns roster, it was he who put the hit on their superstar Wentz, that caused a crucial pick-six interception by Sione Takitaki of the Browns in Sunday’s game, won by Cleveland 22-17. Ward also added an interception as well as blanket coverage of his man most of the day. He was credited with four passes defended in the game. It’s not like the Browns got nothing from the Wentz trade.
Eagles fans are entitled to gloat all they want to because they won the Super Bowl trophy and Wentz was a big contributor early in the season to get them into the playoffs. But the team is not looking all that healthy right now. As crazy as it sounds, they are division leaders, with a 3-6-1 record after their loss to Cleveland, because the other teams in the division are even worse, all tied at 3-7.
But are there any Cleveland fans that want to trade Denzel Ward for Wentz and his $34 million dollar salary? His contract extension kicks into high gear next year at four years, $128 million, with $66.5 million guaranteed. Wentz is being paid like a Pro Bowler, but his level of play has backslid considerably, along with the rest of the team.
He’s throwing for more turnovers than ever before and taking more sacks than ever before, and his numbers rank at the bottom of the league. Versus Cleveland, it appeared that his receivers were having difficulty getting open, and even without Myles Garrett, the Browns were chasing him all over the ballyard. It truly looked like a scene from the Beatles in A Hard Days Night with Wentz playing the part of the Beatles and the Browns front seven playing the part of a mob of screaming teenagers trying to tear them apart.
The Browns are happy with the trade, thank you very much.
Anyway, if the Browns had drafted Wentz in 2016, he might be signing autographs in North Dakota right now, because the team was not planning anything resembling pass protection that season. He might have been driven out of football, much like the Bengals seem to be doing to Joe Burrow. Three quarterbacks started for the Browns that season and all three were knocked out of games.
Having Wentz take the place of rookie eight-game-starter Cody Kessler might have harmed his development rather than helped it. It was far better for him to go to a team like Philadelphia that had some weapons as well as a competent offensive line to protect him.
Note to those teams seeking to rebuild: Make sure you have the offensive line in place before you draft your so-called franchise quarterback. Otherwise, you may be just wasting a man’s career.
Eagle fans do have a Super Bowl trophy, and that can never be taken away. But with a bloated payroll in 2021 Carson Wentz overspent Philadelphia Eagles team will have to make do with the players they have because they cannot add any free agents.
For better or worse, they have their quarterback, but the Browns are better off with Denzel Ward.