Wednesday brought the second big splash related to the quarterback carousel that will be taking place around the NFL this offseason. The Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles finalized a deal involving Philly's former starting quarterback Carson Wentz, who had significantly regressed in 2020 after a promising start to his career. I'm going to break down the details of this move and give my opinion for which team won the trade.
To begin, let's simply look at what each team is receiving from the deal.
It's worth noting that the 2022 conditional pick is contingent on Wentz's play time in Indy next season. If he plays at least 75 percent of the Colts' offensive snaps, or if he plays 70 percent of snaps and the Colts make the playoffs, the second round pick the Eagles receive for the 2022 draft will be bumped to a first round pick. So, the Colts gave up just two draft picks in exchange for the 28-year old quarterback, when the Eagles were reportedly looking for a lot more from any prospective buyers. This leads me to believe that there really wasn't much demand for Wentz across the league. It seemed like the Colts and the Bears were the only teams with much interest in him at all.
The reasons for Wentz's lack of desirability are obvious. He had career lows in passing yards and completion percentage in 2020, had his lowest touchdown total since his rookie year, and threw more than double the interceptions he had in 2019. Ultimately, he was benched in the latter part of the season for rookie Jalen Hurts. On top of that, the Eagles had already signed him to a massive contract extension with over $100 million in guaranteed money over four years. It appeared that Doug Pederson and the Eagles were more than ready to move on from Wentz when the season ended, but getting rid of him wasn't going to be easy with his poor performance in 2020 coupled with an enormous salary.
It appeared from early on in the process that the Colts would be the favorite to take a chance on Carson Wentz if the Eagles were planning on dealing him. First and foremost, head coach Frank Reich Philadelphia's offensive coordinator during Wentz's early success in the league, when he was an MVP-caliber quarterback prior to his series of injuries in 2017 and 2018. If there is anyone who can restore Wentz's confidence and resurrect his performance, it's Reich. Indianapolis also has a lot of cap space, so they can afford to take on a relatively big cap hit to take a chance on a guy like Wentz. So the Colts will theoretically pay an average of about $24 million over the next four years to their new quarterback. If he figures it out and plays well, he can be the missing piece that the Colts need to potentially make a Super Bowl run.
As for the Eagles, they're getting rid of a guy they no longer had faith in for a reasonable return when it's all said and done. I expect Wentz to play most of Indy's snaps next season considering he is their only real, proven quarterback on the roster, so Philly will likely get a first round pick in 2022 in addition to this year's third rounder. Philadelphia can use those picks to help build their team around whoever they decide will be their guy going forward. Overall, I think this was a predictable deal made between these two teams and I don't think either organization reached or really got a good deal more than the other. I think Indianapolis is about the only place Wentz could go and have some of the same success he had early in his career, and he is young enough to be able to bounce back in a big way under the right circumstances.
Swatson's Trade Grades
Written by Nick Swatson
Expert Nick Swatson discusses all the news, predictions, and outcomes surrounding the NFL.