On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams will meet for the first time since 2020. In Week 2 of that season, Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes, Carson Wentz threw two interceptions and the Rams cruised to a 37-19 win in Philadelphia.
Just three years after that game, Wentz and Goff are old news in the cities where they began their pro careers.
Matthew Stafford led the Rams to a Super Bowl win two seasons ago. Jalen Hurts brought the Eagles within four points of a Super Bowl win last year. Goff is currently in Detroit while Wentz is currently sitting on his couch.
So, what happened to these two former franchise quarterbacks that figured to be the future of the NFL?
The story begins in 2016, when Los Angeles and Philadelphia acquired the first two picks of the draft through trades. The Rams and Eagles both needed new faces of their franchises and respectively chose California quarterback Goff and North Dakota State quarterback Wentz.
After the two quarterbacks stumbled through their rookie seasons, everything clicked in 2017. Goff threw 28 touchdown passes and led the Rams to their first NFC West title since 2003. Wentz figured to be a shoo-in as Most Valuable Player by throwing 33 touchdown passes and leading the Eagles to an 11-2 record.
When these two teams met in Week 14, though, disaster appeared to strike for Philadelphia. Despite a 43-35 win, Wentz tore his ACL and was out for the remainder of the season. Nick Foles, having returned to the Eagles as Wentz’s backup, was tasked with leading the team. The rest, of course, was history. Foles defied the odds and led Philadelphia to a stunning upset of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
When Wentz returned the next season, he wasn’t quite the same. His performance in 2018 and ’19 was only passable. The Eagles drafted Hurts in 2020, and rather than rise to the internal competition, Wentz fell off a cliff by throwing 15 interceptions in 12 games. Hurts took over late in the year, and Philadelphia traded Wentz to Indianapolis the next offseason. After a late-season collapse in 2021, the Colts traded Wentz to Washington, where he continued to struggle. The Commanders released him after the 2022 season, and he remains a free agent as of Week 5.
As for Goff, he put together another stellar season in 2018 and led the Rams to the Super Bowl. There, however, Los Angeles tied a dubious Super Bowl record by only managing a field goal in a 13-3 loss to New England. After decent seasons in 2019 and ’20, head coach Sean McVay appeared eager to move on. The Rams took a risk by trading the 26-year-old Goff to the Detroit Lions for the 33-year-old Stafford. The risk paid off as Stafford and the Rams won their coveted Lombardi Trophy in 2021.
The rest of the NFL appeared to give up on Goff after he lost 16 of his first 21 starts with Detroit. Since Week 9 of last season, though, the Lions have won 11 of 14 games and have a realistic chance this season to win their first division championship since 1993.
It isn’t often that the first two players chosen in a draft are dumped by their respective franchises within five years, but such was the case for the four parties involved in this story. The Eagles and Rams turned out alright, as did Goff. As for Wentz…well, just keep waiting by the phone, Carson. The XFL may be on line one soon.