In 2016, the Cleveland Browns "passed" on North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz, traded down with the Eagles, and obtained a mountain of draft picks. The Eagles chose Carson Wentz with the second overall pick and won the Super Bowl a season later with Wentz playing MVP caliber football. Who won the infamous Carson Wentz trade? During the 2017 NFL season, reading how one-sided and lopsided the trade was, in favor of the Philadelphia Eagles, infuriated me because some of the most popular articles written on the subject were penned during after the first two weeks of the 2017 NFL season while the Browns were not finished making selections from the trade.

One must collect all the data before making declarations. The data must be analyzed. Cleveland still may not be finished adding players resulting from the deal and will spend an entire season evaluating two rookies selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Challenges for Philadelphia in 2018

It is unclear to fans when Carson Wentz will play again after tearing his ACL in December 2017, and he may never again play the same MVP caliber football he demonstrated prior to the injury. Robert Griffin III led his team to the playoffs in 2012, got injured in the process, and is currently out of the league. Wentz has set the bar extremely high and while the Eagles have a chance to repeat as champions, history is stacked against them.

The task has not been accomplished since 2003-2004 when New England repeated as champions. Seattle was thwarted in back-to-back title tries in 2014 by New England, while the Patriots’ most recent effort to repeat in Super Bowl LII was upended by the Eagles. It’s difficult to even return to the Super Bowl a season after winning the title.

Will Philadelphia make the playoffs?

In 2018, the Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, and Green Bay Packers are all expected to contend for division titles. The New York Giants, with Odell Beckham Jr. returning from injury and Saquon Barkley drafted second overall, should be greatly improved.

The San Francisco 49ers, with newly signed franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, are fully expected to contend for a wild-card berth. Only six of the teams listed above will make the playoffs and the NFC playoff picture will not be clear until Week 17 of the 2018 NFL Season.

Browns just realizing the full benefit of trade

Two draft cycles later, the Browns have yet to realize the full benefit of the trade made in 2016 when the second overall pick was exchanged for the eighth overall pick and Philadelphia selected Wentz to be their quarterback of the future. The Browns traded this year's selection, the last remaining pick from the deal, 64th overall, to the Indianapolis Colts for the 67th overall and 178th overall.

The Browns selected Miami defensive end Chad Thomas with pick 67. Pick 178 was traded to New England, along with pick 114, acquired from Green Bay, to select Florida receiver, Antonio Callaway. Thomas and Callaway are added to the list of players acquired by Cleveland resulting from the trade and all the draft picks they acquired in the deal. These two players will have an entire season of evaluation while Wentz attempts to return from injury. The Browns have a clear advantage as the player they passed on, Wentz, is injured, while the Browns will be evaluating eight players during the 2018 NFL season.

Early return on Browns' acquisitions unimpressive

The five players acquired in 2016 and 2017 as part of the Wentz deal are Corey Coleman, Shon Coleman, Cody Kessler, Jabrill Peppers, and DeShone Kizer.

Shon Coleman will be given every opportunity to excel at left tackle in the upcoming season. Corey Coleman has all the pressure on him this year since the Browns acquired Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway. There is an adage in the NFL stating it takes a receiver two seasons to fully develop and Corey Coleman has not been able to stay healthy, fracturing the same hand in back to back seasons missing multiple games. Cody Kessler is gone, traded to Jacksonville for a conditional 2019 seventh-round pick so there is the possibility of yet another player being added by the Browns resulting from the draft capital they acquired in 2016. Peppers will be playing box safety the entire season as he began to excel at the position when coaching finally moved him to those responsibilities during the 2017 NFL season.

Kizer was sent to Green Bay for Damarious Randall, so the new Browns’ free safety becomes part of the list of players acquired from the massive haul in draft capital acquired by passing on Wentz.

When does Carson Wentz return?

Wentz will most likely begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PuP) list meaning he would be eligible to return in Week 7, October 11, 2018, and there is doubt Wentz will be ready just ten months after the injury. The Eagles' record after the first six weeks of the season, with Nick Foles at the controls, could realistically be 5-1. While the Eagles play tough opponents the first six weeks of the 2018 season, the toughest games against Atlanta, Minnesota (destroyed by Nick Foles in the 2017 NFC Championship Game), and Carolina are all at home.

It is doubtful the Eagles will be eager to reinsert Wentz too early risking further injury especially if early season returns are positive. The Browns have eight starters for the 2018 season resulting from the deal while the Eagles have an injured quarterback with zero playoff wins. Cleveland clearly has the advantage in what some describe as the most lopsided trade in NFL history, in favor of the Eagles.