And so, Carson Wentz, supposedly the Philadelphia Eagles’ franchise quarterback as recently as a year ago, has now been shipped off to Indianapolis for a 3rd-round NFL Draft pick in April and a conditional 2nd-rounder in 2022.It doesn’t seem like a lot of compensation, does it? Would’ve been unfathomable just a couple of years ago.

But the Eagles clearly couldn’t do any better. That’s what the demand is for damaged goods.

And that’s what Wentz is. Not just in a physical way.

Yes, there was the ACL injury at the end of 2017 and the back injury in 2018 and the concussion in 2019. That’s what happens when an offensive line slowly begins to crumble from the edges inward due to injury and age. That’s what happens when the general manager wastes a 2nd-round draft pick on another quarterback rather than a young tackle to protect the quarterback he already has. It’s what happens when the same GM whiffs on a behold-my-super-genius draft of a wideout rather than taking the obvious superior candidate.

It isn’t Wentz who failed the Eagles. It was the Eagles who failed Wentz.

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Was he ever a perfect quarterback? No. Even when healthy, he tended toward swashbuckling. He absorbed hits he didn’t need to, almost as if to prove his toughness. He held on to the ball too long like the younger Roethlisberger.

But he had the core, especially in 2017, of a prodigy who could mature and learn and pare his more reckless tendencies with gained wisdom. That could’ve happened.

Now, I’m not at all sure it will. And it might not matter that he’s back with the Colts’ head coach Frank Reich, his old guru. Or that he’s behind a much more stable offensive line including first-team All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson and center Ryan Kelly, that even kept clean the hutch cupboard on rolling casters known as Phillip Rivers. Or that his squadron of receivers in Indianapolis, manned by big, strong Michael Pittman and young Zach Pascal and veteran bug T.Y. Hilton is representative of a professional unit rather than a 1976 Dick Vermeil open tryout.

But there’s one thing Wentz won’t have when he suits up in that uniform Peyton Manning and Bert Jones and John Unitas wore: His old flow. It has a way of leaving a quarterback who gets the crap beaten out of him for the better part of three seasons.

If you think that’s talk for pansies, you’re wrong. It’s not about toughness. It’s about lost fluidity. It’s what happens when a QB gets hit enough times while his concentration is downfield. Pretty soon, the brain reprograms its mode from task-execution to self-preservation. And it’s pretty difficult to reboot.I don’t know if Wentz can do it himself or if Reich can help him along. But it’s a real issue. Indianapolis is taking a leap of faith that one or the other can happen. At some point, the Colts are betting the onetime North Dakota State phenom can recapture his chi and again be fully focused on what’s going on with defenses. Then, they’re betting that his back and knee and head are collectively capable of executing the chosen throws.

All of that’s a tall order. It’s the difference between knowing and hoping, between precision and erraticism.

People who’ve not been hit in the knees while throwing or have never slammed fingers into a helmet on a follow-through don’t understand this. It’s easy to stand in the pocket when you’re not constantly wary of an unseen DE driving a forearm into your lower ribs as you set to throw. That’s still a legal hit. Not much else is on a quarterback these days, so pass-rushers get the best bang for their buck when they get a shot.

Anyone who’s watched the Eagles the past couple of years has seen this occur to Wentz as he searches in vain for one of Howie Roseman’s assortment pack of Arena League 2 receivers who’ve gained a foot and a half of separation. That’s among the few and the proud like, say, Greg Ward or Dallas Goedert, who might actually catch the ball.

I’ve often wondered how, say, Tom Brady, would have fared during his NFL developmental years from 2000 to 2002 had he been saddled with the dysfunction in Boston that Wentz increasingly dealt with in Philadelphia. Would Brady, never exactly the archetype of a mobile QB himself, have been able to survive and thrive had he been placed behind a leaky line with a washed-up old blind-side tackle and an injury replacement on the other side? Would he have ever become anything close to the Brady we now know?Fate has a hand in these destinies. We tend to account them to some sort of intrinsic genius. Brady clearly has that, an innate knack for focus when all around him roils. But one element that allowed him to sprout from a 6th-round choice into a legend, one he always enjoyed with the Patriots from the beginning, was an offensive line led by the recently retired Dante Scarnecchia that shielded him from unexpected blunt-force trauma. It was his ultimate blessing. He never had to be reprogrammed.

How will Wentz react to sudden competency and functionality in his protection and receivers? It’s impossible to say. He could be that rescue dog who takes time to regain trust. He might eventually relax, or he might be too far gone.

If it happens, record Reich in the official QB Whisperer road guide as a genuine swami, because this job’s not gonna be easy.