“The Philadelphia Eagles have discussed a potential deal for the quarterback with the Indianapolis Colts, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo said on SportsRadio 94WIP.
‘I do know that the Eagles have had conversations with the Indianapolis Colts already,’ Garafolo said. ‘Here is the thing about the Colts, and this is why they were never strongly in the running for Matthew Stafford: These guys are really good at what they do draft-wise. They believe in themselves. ... So what they do is, they are a little slow playing when it comes to these draft picks and trades.’”
However, that report conflicts with what mainstream sports radio host Dan Patrick has recently heard from a source:
DP spoke to a source yesterday and was told that no teams have actually called the #Eagles about Carson Wentz. The team possibly is just trying to create a trade market for Wentz. pic.twitter.com/RDRzm9vRkv— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) February 5, 2021
As such, there appears to be some smoke connecting the Colts, and there is a logical pairing given Indianapolis’ hole at starting quarterback, ample cap space, and the prior familiarity between their head coach Frank Reich and Wentz—as Reich previously served as Wentz’ offensive coordinator during the former franchise quarterback’s best career season.
The 2nd overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft is coming off a dreadful campaign in Philadelphia—as he played poorly and reportedly clashed with ex-Eagles head coach Doug Pederson—with leaked issues of his coachability and willingness to receive constructive feedback.
This past season, Wentz completed 251 of 437 passing attempts (57.4%) for 2,620 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and a passer rating of 72.8 during 12 starts before being benched late down the stretch for rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts.
In his defense, Wentz wasn’t necessarily given the strongest supporting cast, with a banged up Eagles’ offensive line and receiving corps.
However, given his prior relationship with Reich, and that he’s still only 28 years only and not too far removed from an NFL MVP caliber season in which he threw for 33 touchdowns to 7 interceptions in 2017 before suffering a season-ending torn ACL (and the Eagles infamously went on to make an improbable Super Bowl run in his absence), there still might be some realistic hope that Wentz is ultimately salvageable.
When going fully right, Wentz’ playing style is similar to former Colts franchise quarterback Andrew Luck in that he can both run and throw at a high level—with the ability to create plays outside the pocket and while under duress.
The Colts and particularly Reich and general manager Chris Ballard would have to be pretty confident that Wentz can regain his prior NFL All-Pro form before his steep decline occurred over these past three seasons because his 2021 salary cap hit is significant:
Hypothetically, Carson Wentz’s cap numbers for a team trading for him would be:— Kyle Rapoza (@ColtscapKyle) February 5, 2021
$25.4m (fully guaranteed)
After 2021 most years having rolling guarantees, so it’s basically year to year.
There’s also the issue of draft compensation. The Eagles are going to want something meaningful to receive back if the franchise is otherwise going to undertake a $33 million dead cap hit by trading Wentz—but any deal ultimately still saves them money ($25 million in cash and salary cap).
In my honest option, I wouldn’t surrender more than a 2nd round pick for Wentz and would rather see the Colts trade up for a top rookie quarterback instead—if actually given the option between the two choices.
Wentz would arrive in Indianapolis with a high ceiling, but also a low floor—meaning he’s pretty risky (even if his contract is eventually on a year-to-year basis).
However, such a potential franchise-altering decision will ultimately be left up to Ballard, Reich, and team owner Jim Irsay among the Colts’ top leadership—not writers, reporters, bloggers, talk show hosts, and the like.
As of now, with recent reports coming out connecting the two parties—and the situation remaining fluid, it’s well-worth watching whether Wentz eventually ends up with the Colts this early offseason and at what potential cost for the franchise.