It’s hardly surprising that the Indianapolis Colts decided to move on from Carson Wentz and trade him to the Washington Commanders after one season. What may be surprising to some in NFL circles is just how soon they made that decision.
Zak Keefer of The Athletic spoke with multiple people inside the Colts organization and found that the die was essentially cast by the time the Colts lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on the final game of the regular season, costing the team an NFL playoffs berth. In many people’s minds inside the franchise, this was all the proof they needed that Wentz wasn’t the guy they needed moving forward.
Wentz’s play, inconsistent as it was to close the year, wasn’t the deciding factor,” wrote Keefer. “Colts brass simply didn’t trust him to be the franchise quarterback moving forward, and they weren’t willing to bring him back in 2022 and hope for better. Thus, the decision was made swiftly after the Week 18 debacle in Jacksonville: Wentz wouldn’t return for a second season in Indianapolis.”
As Keefer writes, the Colts were even ready to simply cut him and take the hit if it meant they didn’t have to worry about the quarterback anymore, a damning indictment of how much the Commanders were willing to give up to get him. Along with giving up draft picks, Washington will not only pay Wentz his full $28 million for the 2022 season, including a $5 million roster bonus, but they’ll take on the rest of his bloated contract as well.
The anecdote that probably seems the worst out of all of them in the piece is that head coach Frank Reich, who pushed for the trade before last season, apologized to owner Jim Irsay afterward, per a source. Reich had coached Wentz in Philadelphia and thought that he would be able to rehabilitate his career with the Colts, something that he clearly did not feel had happened.
Wentz certainly has a lot to prove now in Washington, where he’ll have to travel to play the Eagles twice next season. If he has any hopes of salvaging his reputation as a quarterback, it’s going to have to come quickly. He makes too much money and has too many expectations to do otherwise.