The Philadelphia Eagles agreed to trade 2016 2nd Overall pick Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second round pick.
This deal will shape the next 3-5 years of the Colts franchise.
The Indianapolis Colts have again decided to pursue an experienced quarterback to be the heir apparent to Andrew Luck. While the Philip Rivers experience was a nice send off for the HoF QB, it was clear that the Colts could not compete with the Chiefs, Bills, Ravens, and Browns of the world. The Colts cannot hang their hat on a 27-24 loss in the AFC Wild Card Round.
With the retirement of #17, comes a new era and a reconnection. Carson Wentz is back in the hands of Frank Reich who, as the offensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles, propelled Wentz to an 11-2 record, 60.2% completion percentage, and 7.5% touchdown percentage in 2017.
What bodes well for Wentz
If there is one team that resembles the 2017 Eagles team, it’s the 2021 Indianapolis Colts. A unit that wins games up front on offense and defense, the Colts are missing a replacement at Left Tackle after the retirement of 10 year starter Anthony Castonzo. Besides the Left Tackle spot, the Colts will need to do one of three things; retain T.Y. Hilton, sign a WR1 in free agency, or hope that Michael Pittman Jr. or Parris Campbell quickly become a dominant top receiving option.
The backfield tandem of Jonathan Taylor and satellite back Nyheim Hines can be a very useful tool to ease the transition for a quarterback, especially considering Taylor started to blossom late in the season and Hines caught 64 passes for the Colts in 2020.
Maybe the rumors of Wentz playing scared to lose his job in Philly were true. Coming from an FCS school to the NFL, where Nick Foles steps in and wins a superbowl, leaves for Chicago, and the front office drafts yet another potential starting quarterback in Jalen Hurts, it can be discouraging. Being in an environment that values him could be the positive reinforcement that Wentz needs to excel.
It is unquestioned that Wentz is stronger, more athletic, and has a more lively arm than 38 year old Philip Rivers. Is it crazy to think that Wentz could be a better option than Rivers #ForTheShoe?
Why this could be a huge mistake
Missing on a quarterback, no matter what method used to acquire them, is a year long mistake at minimum. So, if Wentz does not pan out, that is at least one more year that this Colts team gets older, more beat down, and closer to contract renewal.
In 2020, Wentz was putrid completing 57.4% of his passes and almost attaining the rare Jameis Winston esque feat of throwing the same amount of interceptions (15) as touchdowns (16). Wentz’s timing, poise, and confidence were in absolute shambles last year. The real concern in the transition from Rivers to Wentz is the turnovers and lack of ability to command the pocket.
It would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that Wentz has struggled mightily with plenty of injuries over his 5 years in the league which include a concussion, broken vertebrae, a grade 3 ACL tear, a grade 3 LCL tear, and a rib fracture.
In total, this move could potentially take a 1st round pick away from the Colts in 2022, as that conditional second round pick can become a 1st depending on how much playing time Wentz accrues in 2021.
The NFL is the business of opening and closing super bowl windows. At this point, it’s easy to see that this trade will have a long term impact on the Colts organization – for better or for worse.