There is no shortage of intriguing matchups ahead for Carson Wentz in his first season as quarterback of the Washington Commanders.
The marquee matchup, of course, will be a much-anticipated return to Philadelphia when the Commanders play the host Eagles on Monday Night Football on Nov. 14.
In his first year in the Monday night booth alongside longtime broadcast partner Joe Buck, Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman is set to call that game. He believes it will be part of a last-chance season for Wentz, who was selected second overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Eagles but is now slated to play for his third team in as many seasons.
"I think that right now, Carson had an opportunity; it didn't end well in Philadelphia, of course," Aikman said Monday, via ESPN transcript. "He then got traded to Indianapolis. Didn't go great for him there. They decided to make another change at that position, and now he's landed in Washington.
"This is probably his last opportunity, just being blunt about it, to prove that he can be a franchise quarterback in the NFL."
Aikman began his HOF NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys with a 1-15 season, but that proved to be the beginning of a franchise renaissance that saw him quarterback the club to three Super Bowl titles. Thus, Aikman knows what it takes to overcome adversity on the playing field and accomplish the greatest of glory.
For Wentz, his days in Philly started well enough. He showed promise as a rookie and was sensational during a 2017 season in which he made the Pro Bowl after a campaign that had him in the running for AP NFL Most Valuable Player before he was lost to injury during the Eagles' Super Bowl run. However, Wentz' play collapsed in 2020 and he was shipped west to Indianapolis. His play didn't improve with the Colts and he was traded for a second straight offseason, this time returning to the NFC East with Washington, where he'll see Philadelphia twice this upcoming season, including the eagerly awaited return to Lincoln Financial Field.
That Nov. 14 showdown will actually be the last stop in a Wentz reunion tour that will begin in Week 1 when he faces his old Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, who ended Wentz's 2021 season and his stay in Indy with a shocking win over the Colts in the teams' regular season finale. Thereafter, Wentz will play the Eagles for the first time at FedExField on Sept. 25 before a return to Indianapolis against the Colts on Oct. 30.
Storylines and subplots are abundant, but for Aikman, the true drama will be in a final chance for Wentz to show he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback when he takes the field for his third team.
"I'm hopeful that he's able to take advantage of that [chance]," Aikman said. "Looking forward to that matchup between those two teams [in Philadelphia]. But this is kind of a defining season, I think, for Carson Wentz and what his future is going to look like."