According to The MMQB’s Albert Breer, the Indianapolis Colts would prefer ‘more of a two-year flier’ over a ‘full-on marriage’ to Philadelphia Eagles former franchise quarterback Carson Wentz—should he ultimately be acquired in a trade:
“Both the Colts and Bears are interested, but there are hang-ups for both,” Breer writes.
“My sense is Indy would want this to be more of a two-year flier than a full-on marriage to Wentz, and it’s important to remember that the Colts didn’t put their first-rounder on the table for Stafford—which shows the sort of discipline GM Chris Ballard is operating with. As for Chicago, mortgaging future assets might be a tough sell to ownership, given that the team’s football brass will be fighting to keep jobs this year.”
“I also think the experience the coaches in both places (Frank Reich in Indy, John DeFilippo in Chicago) have with Wentz cuts both ways. They know the good. They understand the ins-and-outs of what Wentz needs fixed mechanically. They also know how he’s reacted to hard coaching in the past, and how, over his first two years, the Eagles were able to scheme around some of the weaknesses in his game.”
That could certainly be a hold-up if the Eagles expect the Colts to surrender a single first round pick for Wentz, let alone two first rounders—if Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard merely wants an initial ‘two-year tryout’—with a wait-and-see approach beyond that.
Regarding any acquiring NFL team’s future cap hits for Wentz:
A team acquiring Carson Wentz will take on 4 years and $98.4M left on his contract ($24.7M per year).— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 6, 2021
His cap hits would be:
Philly would eat a $33.8M dead cap hit in 2021, the largest in NFL history.
However, it essentially looks like it can easily become a two-year deal, which should fit just fine to the Colts’ preference (although the franchise would presumably be thrilled if Wentz performs very well on the field—and thus, plays out his entire current contract until 2024’s end):
The #Colts would be acquiring Wentz with $40.4M guaranteed, including cap hits of $25.4M in 2021, & $22M in 2022. The rest of the contract is fluff, & the deal could be ripped up and rebuilt ala Nick Foles w/ the Bears.— Spotrac (@spotrac) January 3, 2021
The hope is that by being reunited with Colts head coach Frank Reich—who was previously Wentz’ offensive coordinator in Philadelphia (where the two shared significant success and built a positive working relationship together), that the former 2nd overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft can regain his prior All-Pro form from 2017 (or close to it).
During that standout season, Wentz threw for 33 touchdowns to 7 interceptions as a legitimate NFL MVP caliber candidate—before unfortunately suffering a season-ending torn ACL.
In Indianapolis, Wentz would be backed by a strong offensive line (assuming the Colts can shore up the vacant left tackle spot) and a powerful running game—while playing in Reich’s ‘quarterback-friendly’ offense.
However, should Wentz continue to struggle—as he threw for 16 touchdowns to 15 interceptions this past season, before being benched in favor of rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts late down the stretch, the Colts just want an ‘easy out’ after two seasons.
No harm, no foul (relatively speaking).
That makes sense, given the risk and potential future high salary cap hits involved with Wentz going forward otherwise.
Right now, if Breer’s speculation is true, it appears the Colts aren’t willing to surrender a significant trade haul to the Eagles anytime soon—as the franchise only views Wentz as an initial short-term investment flier (with maybe the chance for much more).