A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts got behind the idea of Carson Wentz being their franchise quarterback, by trading their 2022 first-round pick and more to the Eagles for the former No. 2 overall pick. They had just reached the playoffs after an inconsistent year from Philip Rivers and they were ready to turn the page, fully moving on from the Andrew Luck era with a new quarterback to develop.
In this case, the Colts had the benefit of having worked with Wentz before, as head coach Frank Reich was his offensive coordinator in Philly from 2016-17. It seemed like a perfect fit, but the compensation was always seen as a bit questionable.
It’s always easier to look back in hindsight, now that we know the Colts couldn’t make it back to the playoffs with Wentz, despite just needing a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars to clinch, they couldn’t get it done.
We know that now, but if Wentz couldn’t rise to the occasion in the biggest game of their season when the Colts were favored by 14 points, is he the quarterback of the future for the team?
That’s the question the Indianapolis Colts organization is faced with, just a year after adding him to the roster.
Indianapolis Colts have had several chances to throw support behind Carson Wentz
It doesn’t help that the Colts haven’t done anything to paint the picture that Wentz is their ultimate solution. In fact they’ve done more to suggest Wentz will face competition for the starting role in 2022, instead of building him up as their face of the franchise.
Speaking recently on the Overtime podcast, Colts general manager Chris Ballard stressed the importance of evaluating the QB position each and every year. Here are Ballard’s thoughts (h/t to Pro Football Talk):
“I don’t care who you have at the position at the time — I think every year, you’ve got to evaluate it in full, both free agents and the draft. I mean, it’s that important,” Ballard said. “And it’s one that we’ll exhaust each and every year and we do with our scouts and with our coaches.”Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard on Overtime podcast
This is a fairly routine line GMs and coaches like to echo as they try to avoid revealing too much information about any potential plans. It’s not like they’re going to say “Wentz is on the trade block, we really hope to improve at the position, but we don’t know how without a first-round pick”.
From their decisions made last offseason, the Colts have essentially locked themselves into another year with Wentz as their top QB. With their first pick not coming until the 47th selection, they are unlikely to find a day-one starter in this year’s draft. Trading up would require too much capital.
They could look to trade Wentz, but unless it’s a QB for QB swap, that may be easier said than done. If traded before June 1, the Colts can save $28 million by moving away from Wentz. Yet teams aren’t likely to jump at the notion of paying Wentz that much in 2022. If they are adamant on trading Wentz, they may even have to attach a draft pick, hoping another franchise will take the plunge on the 29-year-old signal-caller.
Instead, Wentz is locked in through the 2024 season, earning upwards of $26 million each year. With few free agency options (Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger), the Colts are probably best off with Wentz in the starting lineup when the 2022 football season gets underway. Sorry Colts fans, it’s just the way it is.