The Indianapolis Colts made it pretty clear early in the offseason that they were not interested in bringing back quarterback Carson Wentz for a second season. But new details have surfaced about just how badly the Colts wanted to move on from the Wentz era.
In his yearly Quarterback Tiers article, senior writer Mike Sando of The Athletic reported that an NFL executive told him how desperately the Colts wanted a different quarterback than Wentz behind center in 2022.
“They were telling us they would prefer anyone over him,” one of the executives poll for The Athletic’s quarterback tiers told Sando. “The only reason I’m this strong against him is that is my evaluation from watching him play.
“But adding information of what the team that is with him on an intimate level on a daily basis, by going from having Wentz to having none, zero, that tells me that my evaluation of him from afar matches the evaluation internally.”
The Colts traded Wentz to the Washington Commanders for a 2022 third-round pick and a conditional 2023 third-round selection. The deal also included the teams swapping second-round picks, allowing Indianapolis to move up five spots on Day 2 in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Indianapolis gave up a first-round pick just a year ago for Wentz, but if what this executive told Sando is true, the Colts may have been very fortunate to get what they did for the former first-round pick.
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Jim Irsay Calls Wentz Era “A Mistake”
Indianapolis’ actions this offseason appear to support the report that the Colts preferred any quarterback over Wentz.
The Colts traded Wentz to the Commanders without a plan at quarterback in place. Fortunately for general manager Chris Ballard, Matt Ryan became available and picked Indianapolis as his landing spot. But if that never happened, the Colts could have ended up with a far less accomplished quarterback in Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. Maybe they would have even drafted a signal caller in the second round.
“I think the worst thing you can do is have a mistake and try to keep living with it going forward,” Irsay said, via Colts Insider Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star on March 29. “For us, it was something we had to move away from as a franchise. It was very obvious.”
Third Time’s a Charm for Wentz?
Wentz will be on his third team in as many seasons this fall. He was once an MVP candidate, finishing third in voting for the award during his second season.
But that was five years ago. Wentz led the NFL in interceptions with 15 despite making just 12 starts during 2020. Last year, he finished with 3,563 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, but he was inconsistent. The Colts started 0-3 and then lost their final two games to end the season.
One quarterbacks coach told Sando that Wentz should be thankful he is receiving a third chance with a different team.
“He has to be praying to the football gods, saying, ‘Thank you, again,’ because not many people get this many opportunities to prove themselves,” the coach said. “I’m just about ready to pull the trigger on him as a 5 [tier quarterback] after the Jacksonville game and that interception from the end zone against the Titans in a huge game. You can’t make those decisions.”
The anonymous executive added that Wentz’s draft position could be what’s keeping him in the league.
“If Carson Wentz was not a first-round pick, would he be in the league right now?”