After five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, a layover with the Indianapolis Colts, and one year with the Washington Commanders, Carson Wentz is a free agent for the first time in his career. Washington announced Monday that they’ve released the 30-year-old quarterback, meaning Wentz is now free to choose his next destination. Where are his top landing spots around the NFL?
Best Landing Spots for Carson Wentz
While Wentz’s recent play has meant that no NFL team has been willing to commit to him as their long-term starting quarterback, the former No. 2 overall pick isn’t in danger of falling out of the league anytime soon. Wentz’s draft status alone would likely keep him employed, and he was decently effective as recently as 2021, when he tossed 27 touchdowns against seven interceptions while posting a 54.7 QBR for the Colts.
Still, it’s hard to imagine any club signing Wentz with the intention of naming him their unquestioned 2023 starter. In fact, there are likely only a handful of teams that would bring Wentz in to compete for a starting role — the majority of the clubs on our list would add him as a clear-cut backup.
Let’s run through the squads that could potentially show interest in Wentz, beginning with one team with a direct link to the veteran QB.
Coaching connections can mean everything when it comes to free agent additions, and new Panthers head coach Frank Reich has a long working relationship with Wentz. Reich was Wentz’s offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, then acquired the signal-caller from the Eagles as the Colts’ head coach.
“First of all, a highly intelligent player who can process a lot of information quickly,” Reich said when the Commanders traded for Wentz last year. “They’re getting a guy who physically is an NFL-prototype quarterback.
MORE: Which QB Is Best for Panthers Head Coach Frank Reich?
“They’re getting a guy who I think can be a top-10 quarterback. I really believe he can be a top-10 quarterback. That’s not just a given; that has to be earned and proven.”
Wentz could make sense as a bridge option in Carolina, but only if the Panthers are intent on drafting a rookie quarterback. Given his experience with Reich, Wentz could be a valuable mentor and help implement Reich’s scheme. But if Carolina signs someone like Derek Carr, it probably wouldn’t want to add another veteran passer.
The Bengals have gone the veteran minimum backup route during Joe Burrow’s tenure in Cincinnati, primarily relying on Brandon Allen as their No. 2 quarterback. Allen made one start over the past two seasons, a meaningless Week 18 contest against the Browns in 2021.
Given the cash and cap space they’re about to devote to extensions for Burrow, Tee Higgins, and others, the Bengals may want to stick with Allen, who not only comes cheap but knows Zac Taylor’s offense.
Allen doesn’t offer much upside, though. If Burrow were to go down (as he did in 2020), Wentz could give the Bengals a higher ceiling.
While the Broncos can’t escape Russell Wilson’s contract until at least next offseason, they should consider adding competition to the quarterback room this offseason.
If Wilson struggles as much in 2023 as he did in 2022, Denver will have to consider benching him at some point during the regular season — if only to ensure that his injury guarantees don’t kick in.
It might be hard for the Broncos to put Wilson on the bench and turn to a wholly unproven option like current backup Brett Rypien. Sitting Wilson and starting an experienced quarterback like Wentz might be more manageable, at least from a public relations standpoint.
Whether the Texans trade up to No. 1 overall or stick at No. 2, they are in line to draft their franchise quarterback in 2023. Davis Mills is still under contract and could back up Houston’s first-round pick, but it might be worth it for the Texans to add a veteran like Wentz.
New Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans saw how much quarterback depth matters as defensive coordinator of the 49ers, who had to cycle through four signal-callers last season. Houston isn’t nearly as competitive as San Francisco at the moment, but Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud could benefit from working with a former top-two selection like Wentz.
Kansas City Chiefs
Longtime Patrick Mahomes backup Chad Henne announced his retirement after winning the Super Bowl earlier this month, leaving a void on the Chiefs’ quarterback depth chart.
Whether or not Kansas City would want to sign Wentz is debatable. Whether Wentz should want to work with Andy Reid and Co. is not.
Even if Wentz never threw a pass for the Chiefs in 2023, he might buoy his stock simply by being associated with Reid’s offense. If Mahomes suffered an injury and Wentz shined for even a few games, he could potentially be back on a starting track by 2024.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders have a vacancy at quarterback after releasing Carr, but I’d be surprised if Wentz ultimately lands in Las Vegas.
Holding the seventh overall pick, the Raiders are positioned to land their quarterback of the future. It wouldn’t make much sense for Vegas to part ways with Carr only to sign Wentz, even if the cap savings would be significant. If Josh McDaniels wants to add a veteran passer, he’d probably target Jimmy Garoppolo, whom he drafted and developed in New England.
The Raiders will likely re-sign Jarrett Stidham, who flashed in two starts last season, and use him as their backup quarterback behind a first-round rookie.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Following Tom Brady’s retirement, the Buccaneers appear set to turn over their quarterback job to Kyle Trask. However, they will likely sign a veteran signal-caller to either compete with Trask or back up the former second-round draft choice.
Wentz might have made more sense in a Bruce Arians/Byron Leftwich offense, as his arm strength lends itself to the downfield passing attack Tampa Bay has deployed in recent seasons.
MORE: Should the Bucs Sign a Veteran QB To Mentor Kyle Trask?
Still, new offensive coordinator Dave Canales took plenty of deep shots as the Seahawks’ quarterbacks coach in 2022, so Wentz could be a fit.
The Bucs have the worst salary cap situation in the NFL. If Wentz receives significant offers elsewhere, Tampa Bay likely won’t be able to compete to sign him.
The Titans are beginning their soft rebuild, as evidenced by their releases of left tackle Taylor Lewan and wide receiver Robert Woods last week. If that purge continues with a cut or trade of Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee will need to add someone under center.
Wentz could fill that role for the Titans, but he’d represent a treading-water option. That could make sense for Tennessee if they’re too far out of range at No. 11 overall to grab a first-round quarterback. Even then, signing a veteran with a superior recent track record — like Jacoby Brissett — might be a better idea for the Titans.