Washington Keeps Cornering Market on Washed-Up QBs With Carson Wentz Add

The rebranded Commanders are giving up picks and paying major bucks to acquire Wentz from the Indianapolis Colts

Carson Wentz warms up before losing a game against the Jaguars
Carson Wentz warms up before losing a game against the Jaguars.
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Since Kirk Cousins played his last game in Washington during the 2017 season and departed for the Minnesota Vikings, 10 quarterbacks have started games for the newly named Commanders

Outside of Alex Smith, who was a competent NFL quarterback, Washington has largely relied on a stream of has-beens and never-weres at QB over the last four seasons. They are, in no particular order: Smith, Josh Johnson, Colt McCoy,  Mark Sanchez, Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Garrett Gilbert. (Fitzpatrick is okay.)

Now, thanks to an almost incomprehensible trade with the Colts, add Carson Wentz to that illustrious list.

Oft-injured Wentz, who was traded to the Colts during the offseason last year after flaming out in Philadelphia, wore out his welcome in Indianapolis despite playing for his offensive mentor with the Eagles, Colts head coach Frank Reich. While Wentz threw 27 touchdown passes and tied his career low in interceptions with seven, he was fairly terrible down the stretch last season and passed for at least 200 yards in only two of Indy’s final eight games. To close out the year in a must-win game against the Jaguars, Wentz posted a career-low 4.3 total QBR as the Colts were upset and missed the playoffs.

Not only did Washington somehow decide that was the quality of quarterback they wanted to add, they also decided to give up the farm for him, as the Commanders surrendered a package of picks that includes a pair of third-round selections to get Wentz. If Wentz plays 70% of Washington’s snaps, one of those third-rounders converts to a second-round selection. Even more egregious, Washington will also take on the full remainder of Wentz’s contract. It’s hefty, as Wentz is due a $22 million salary and $6.294 million roster bonus in 2022, a $20 million salary and a $6.176 million roster bonus in 2023 and a $21 million salary and $6.235 million roster bonus in 2024, according to ESPN.

At his best, Wentz is probably better than anyone Washington has started at quarterback over the past five seasons, including Cousins and Smith. Thing is, Wentz has not been at his best for a couple of seasons now and will be 30 years old by the end of next season. Washington needed an upgrade at QB and to make a move, but bringing in Wentz was probably not it.

On the Indianapolis side of the equations, getting back decent draft picks for a player they surrendered first- and third-round picks for in February 2021 is a pretty nice return. And doing it without having to assume any of Wentz’s bloated contract is just icing on the cake and clears cap space for the Colts to immediately get back in the mix for a high-end starting quarterback.

If Wentz looks even vaguely like the MVP candidate he was with the Eagles before tearing an ACL late in the 2017 season, the Commanders will look like geniuses. But as it stands, they look like the same old bumbling Washington Football Team.

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