According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, if Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who is planning to request a trade, is in fact on the trading block and moved this offseason, Wentz would prefer his next NFL destination be to the Indianapolis Colts:
The @NFLGameDay Notebook with @MikeGarafolo & @TomPelissero: #Colts QB Philip Rivers will either retire or return to Indy; If Carson Wentz is on the block, the #Colts are a preferred spot; #Bengals will try to keep Lamar Jackson in check again; Derrick Henry may get a shot at 2K. pic.twitter.com/ZTLCojaJwM— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 3, 2021
Per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, “Multiple teams are expected to have interest in trading for Wentz, including the Indianapolis Colts, whose coach, Frank Reich, was Wentz’s offensive coordinator in Philadelphia.”
It’s not the first time that the Colts have been speculated as a potential major trade suitor for Wentz, and it probably won’t be the last time either this upcoming offseason:
There just aren't many teams equipped to take on the contract. Makes the Colts are really, really interesting destination given cap space, Frank Reich and salaries tied up at QB there. https://t.co/tzQIrqjrRc— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 3, 2021
Of course, the Colts head coach is Frank Reich, who was Wentz’ former offensive coordinator with the Eagles, when the pair shared a lot of success together—especially during the 2017 season:
In 2017, Carson Wentz’s final season with Colts head coach Frank Reich as his OC, he played 13 games before getting hurt and had 3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions and a 101.9 passer rating.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 3, 2021
Specifically, there’s already great familiarity and an established player-coach relationship between the two (and Reich may understand Wentz, and what makes him truly tick as a quarterback, better than almost anyone).
Wentz had his best career campaign during 2017 under Reich, when he threw for 33 touchdowns to 7 interceptions and was a legitimate NFL MVP candidate before his season was unfortunately cut short with a season-ending torn ACL for the then 11-2 Eagles, who went on to make an improbable run to the Super Bowl under red-hot backup Nick Foles.
Wentz has not developed the same positive rapport with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson (and their relationship is reportedly ‘fractured beyond repair’ at least per Wentz’ camp, given his recent demotion).
However, the Eagles, perhaps posturing for higher trade value and protecting Wentz’ health for such a possibility, still believe the situation can be soundly resolved:
Context here: The #Eagles still think this situation is salvageable. So the thought is why even risk the possibility of injury for a key player in 2021 and beyond? We’ll see what Wentz wants. But the team wants Wentz. https://t.co/XHZC1HRifV— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 3, 2021
In 2020, the former 2nd overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft has struggled to the tune of 16 touchdowns to 15 interceptions and a passer rating of 72.8 during 12 starts before being benched for rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts—who may be the future at quarterback for the Eagles already.
Still only 28 years old, Wentz still has plenty of productive seasons left and could be a long-term answer for anyone—if he can regain his prior 2017 All-Pro form. Perhaps a reunion with Reich could solve at least some of Wentz’s recent passing woes and get him back on track.
While the potential and upside are still very high—and from a playing perspective, Wentz might be the closest current thing to Colts retired franchise quarterback Andrew Luck, with his ability to run and pass at a high level, the floor is also admittedly pretty low—as Wentz has been pretty poor as a passer during the 2020-21 season.
There’s also the looming issue of whether 39 year old veteran quarterback Philip Rivers also wants to retire this offseason, who’s played pretty well when the Colts have had adequate pass protection and an effective running game to complement him through the air. However, his complete lack of mobility and diminished arm strength are continued concerns for an offense that still needs to get more dynamic in time.
The Colts and Reich would have to be fully convinced that Wentz is not only salvageable, but they’re almost fully confident in the success of such an undertaken reclamation project.
Having been setback a few years already by Luck’s abrupt retirement, the Colts cannot afford another high stake investment gone awry with a potential failed Wentz acquisition (especially given the draft capital needed to be surrendered—which will reportedly be significant and team salary cap hit presumably involved).