In part 1, we discussed our pre-season expectations of Carson Wentz and whether he met those expectations. In part 2, Lucas Robins (@LucasRobins on Twitter), Mason Roach (@MasRoach45 on Twitter), Sebastian Bench (@BenchSebastian on Twitter), and I (@TheRealZschank on Twitter) will be examining why Carson Wentz should come back.
Lucas Robins (@LucasRobins on Twitter):
There are two reasons why Wentz should be brought back:
- Relative to offensive personnel support around him & preseason expectations, he did alright for the season. Given time in the preseason to iron out his bad habits and improve key spots personnel-wise, there is little reason to think Wentz can’t improve in 2022. The question is how much he will improve, and will it be enough to justify him being the franchise QB beyond 2022.
- Lack of clear available upgrades
Aaron Rodgers as a Free Agent or trade target would be the biggest upgrade possible at the QB spot, seeing how he is likely coming off of back-to-back MVPs by next year. However, doing a QB swap in a trade is out of the question from the Packers’ perspective since it would actually add to their salary cap hole that they’ve dug. Rodgers is phenomenal on the field, but he is a short-term answer (currently threatening retirement + at age 39), and one shouldn’t ignore how things broke down between him and the Packers front office.
Even on a down year and playing through injury, Russell Wilson was better than Wentz in 2021. As we’ve seen from 2017-2020, Chef Russ is capable of elite top 5-10 QB play. Russ is due for a big bounce-back year and wants out of Seattle but holds a no-trade clause that allows him to choose where he wants to go. Perhaps the Colts with a much-heralded OL in front of him (after being the most hit QB in the NFL for years) & the best RB in the NFL behind him might be enticing, as well as working with a strong offensive HC in Frank Reich & with a familiar face in the front office (Ed Dodds). Both teams can afford a QB swap cap-wise (actually would give the Colts $4.3m more cap space), and the Seahawks need a lot of draft capital to kick start their rebuild after years of subpar draft picks after the Jamal Adams trade.
Besides getting those QBs via trade (or even Derek Carr to a lesser extent), the rest of the QB options that the Colts could get this offseason are either lateral moves that cost more (Kirk Cousins), veteran game managers with higher floors and lower ceilings (Jimmy G, Teddy Bridgewater), or unproven young QBs. Barring getting one of the 2-3 clear-cut QB upgrades via trade or embracing a tank year for the much better 2023 QB draft class, the Colts most likely will keep Wentz for one more year at least.
Zach Schankerman (@TheRealZschank on Twitter):
I think the only reason Carson Wentz should be brought back as the starter for 2022 is if you feel there aren’t any better options. Keeping Carson Wentz should be a last resort option; it is time for the Colts to move on and find a long-term QB. The worst thing Chris Ballard and Frank Reich could do is double down on a bad decision in keeping Carson Wentz because I think that would get them fired, and then the Colts would really be in a predicament.
Seb Bench (@BenchSebastian on Twitter):
However advantageous the situation in Indianapolis was for Carson Wentz, there was always a need to manage expectations for how much Wentz would improve in his first year removed from Philadelphia. He certainly did improve last year, and it’s absolutely possible he could improve further, especially with a full and healthy offseason. If you trade for a reclamation project at QB and only give them a year, have you given them a real shot? When you traded for them, were you really willing to do what it took to make them a success?
If you bring Wentz back next year (hopefully with improvements in key areas in the rest of the team), you give him a real chance to be a successful Quarterback. If he doesn’t take that opportunity, at least you know you have him a shot when you move on from him. If Indianapolis gets rid of Wentz now, they still have to give the Eagles their first-round draft pick and absorb a meaningful dead cap hit. If they decide next offseason he’s not their QB, it cost nothing to cut him, and the Colts will have a full slate of draft picks with which to find their next Quarterback.
Carson Wentz would be brought back as starting QB in 2022 for four reasons:
- The Colts believe he can improve even further from his 2021 performance.
- The Colts not making the playoffs is the team’s fault; you can not put all the blame on Wentz.
- Regardless of who is QB, the offense needs immediate upgrades this upcoming season. The WR room and the offensive line (mostly the Left Tackle) did not help Wentz out enough in crucial situations throughout many games this season.
- The Colts could not find a replacement that they are comfortable with.
If given a second chance, Wentz has an opportunity to prove the doubters wrong. With upgraded weapons around him in skill positions and a stalwart LT, do not be surprised if you see an improved Wentz next season.
With the Colts looking into the trade interest for an upgrade at QB, it would be tough to see Wentz stay in Indianapolis, especially if the Colts traded for his replacement. If the Colts do not find a suitable replacement for him before the new league year starts, expect the Colts to either cut him or ride him out to their version of his sunset.