According to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, should the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Green Bay Packers need a replacement soon for either’s legendary future Hall of Fame quarterback, the Indianapolis Colts’ Carson Wentz could become a potential trade candidate respectively:
Potential trade candidates for the Bucs
Carson Wentz, Colts: If you want to know how Arians feels about Wentz, consider who the then-Cardinals coach compared him to in 2017. Arians admitted that he loved Wentz coming out of school and grouped him with Luck and Roethlisberger, Arians’ two best pupils. Given Wentz’s size (6-foot-5) and almost fatalistic desire to extend plays within the pocket, Arians would likely love to work with Wentz if Brady retires.
Would the Colts be willing to trade Wentz away after one season at the helm and with no clear successor on their roster? That’s another question. In light of their disastrous collapse at the end of 2021, Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard refused to commit to Wentz as his 2022 starter. The Colts dealt first- and third-round picks to the Eagles to acquire Wentz, and even given his end to the season, I suspect they would insist on getting a first-round pick back from the Buccaneers in any deal.
The Bucs would also have to get creative to fit Wentz’s deal on their salary cap. He has just under $82 million over the next three seasons for a Tampa Bay team that would actually lose part of the $15 million in cap space it is currently projected to hold if Brady retires. The Bucs could be flexible if necessary, but would they have their own questions about investing in a player who would be on his third franchise in three seasons? Arians might want to push for a Wentz trade, but it wouldn’t be without risks.
Potential trade candidates for the Packers
Carson Wentz, Colts: Wentz has his limitations and injury issues, but his arm strength, competitiveness and size appeal to a lot of NFL coaches. The Packers might also see an opportunity to acquire him at a relatively low cost after his end to the 2021 season.
It’s probably more likely he ends up with the Buccaneers, but the possibility of swapping Rodgers to the Colts for Wentz and draft picks (or young players) would allow Green Bay to send its star quarterback to the AFC.
If the Colts can actually recoup a first round pick for Wentz, then I think that’s a trade the franchise makes—and safely makes it yesterday (regardless of whether a suitable replacement is already in place for Indianapolis). None of the Colts’ top brass issued a vote of confidence towards Wentz entering the 2022 season, and that’s not exactly an encouraging sign for his future prospects in Indianapolis.
More than likely, the Colts probably would have to settle for a second round pick or maybe two second round picks (at best) given how poorly Wentz finished the season, certainly contributing to the team’s shocking late season collapse.
He’s not as bad as he played during the team’s final handful of games, but it’s concerning that the bottom completely fell out when the Colts needed him to perform his best—with everything, including their season, on the line.
If Aaron Rodgers actually intends to leave Green Bay, could the Colts offer Wentz along with an enticing draft capital package (to lessen the potential draft capital hit surrendered)? Similar to what the Los Angeles Rams did with Jared Goff to help successfully land Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions last offseason?
If nothing else, it’s intriguing to think about—even if it’s more likely to happen in Madden franchise mode than in real life. This should be an interesting offseason for the Colts given their question at starting quarterback and potential possibilities in pursuit of an upgrade.