Well, one thing is for sure – Aaron Rodgers getting a new contract in Green Bay certainly got the QB market rolling.
After Russell Wilson was dealt to Denver on Tuesday, Washington made a move for a veteran quarterback of their own on Wednesday in Carson Wentz.
Of course, this is only a year after the Colts – who will now move onto their fifth different starting quarterback in five years – thought they could fix Wentz under the tutelage of former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Indianapolis gave up a third-rounder and what ended up being the 16th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft in the failed process. If the organization that was sure they could turn Wentz back into a top starter bails after just 12 months, what does that say about the player?
GM Chris Ballard and owner Jim Irsay were adamant to move on from their mistake, and Frank Reich apparently apologized for sticking his neck out on Wentz to the Colts brass right after their disastrous Week 18 loss to the Jaguars. Yikes. Wentz left the Eagles in a messy public divorce that split the locker room and he obviously didn’t make many fans with the Colts, either.
Now the Washington Commanders will be the second team in as many years to try and “fix” Wentz. While I have a ton of respect for HC Ron Rivera and think he and OC Scott Turner have done well in Washington despite the revolving door at QB, this move reeks of desperation. Beyond the baggage, Wentz’s on-field ability has taken a considerable nosedive after two major knee and back injuries in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
My favorite way to diagnose how well a quarterback is playing is rather simple – how do you perform when the pocket is clean and have time to go through your progressions? After a promising start to his career, there is no denying that Wentz’s decision-making and accuracy has diminished in recent years.
Wentz’s accuracy and efficiency from a clean pocket (2016-21, via SIS)
|Season||On-target throw%||Passer rating|
|2016||84% (18th-of-37 QBs)||89.1 (28th-of-37 QBs)|
|2017||88% (7th-of-38)||114.1 (3rd-of-38)|
|2018||86% (5th-of-38)||104.1 (18th-of-38)|
|2019||78% (29th-of-37)||99.9 (22nd-of-37)|
|2020||74% (last of 38)||83.5 (37th-of-38)|
|2021||77% (30th-of-37)||105.7 (15th-of-37)|
Wentz’s passer rating spiked in 2021, but take a look at his accuracy (on-target throws) in that second column. Last season marked Wentz’s third straight year down near the bottom of the league and continued a troubling trend. If you can’t trust your quarterback to be consistently accurate when he’s given a clean pocket, what do you have?
Last year marked yet another season where Terry McLaurin couldn’t truly break out in a big way because of quarterback play, and I’m not optimistic that Wentz provides the boost that McLaurin needs.
Michael Pittman (88/1,082/7) was a solid WR3 and took a nice second-year leap, but he was far from a league-winner – finishing as the WR30 in fantasy points per game (13.9). McLaurin was the WR35 (12.6 FPG).
Wentz has accuracy issues just like Taylor Heinicke, who finished 35th-of-37 QBs in on-target throws (73%) last season.
Where do the Colts go from here?
Especially considering how their season ended, GM Chris Ballard did a phenomenal job to get a second (essentially a pick swap), a third, and a conditional third for Wentz. While the team doesn’t have a first round pick this year because of their trade with Philadelphia last February, they have plenty of ammo to play QB roulette again this offseason.
I’m by no means a quarterback scout, but everyone I trust says this class is subpar. With extra picks in his arsenal, I have no doubt Ballard will be aggressive yet again in finding a starting quarterback of the future.
This Colts team is very much built to win-now with Jonathan Taylor, a top-three offensive line, and stingy defense all in place. Colts fans probably won’t be thrilled by this idea, but trading for Jimmy Garoppolo makes a ton of sense. In the end, Jimmy G is exactly what Reich and Indianapolis wanted out of Wentz – where they can run the ball effectively and the QB doesn’t lose games for them.
Jimmy G is likely better equipped to “make the layups” Wentz missed in the Colts’ late-season collapse.
Something Chris Ballard said to Carson Wentz in their season-ending meeting yesterday: "Make the layups. Just make the layups."— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) January 13, 2022