Carson Wentz Trade: Why rival NFC scout thinks Commanders messed up

The Washington Commanders and Indianapolis Colts pulled off a surprising trade centered around QB Carson Wentz ahead of free agency.

After being spurned on the trade market by the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson, the Washington Commanders turned to the Indianapolis Colts for a quarterback upgrade, swapping a package of picks for former Philadelphia Eagles franchise QB Carson Wentz in a surprise move. The trade, which sent two third-round picks to Indianapolis, has puzzled pundits, fans, and league insiders alike.

Scout surprised by trade return for Carson Wentz

The Commanders agreed to acquire Wentz and his $28.3 million salary from the Colts on Wednesday. The two teams swapped second-round picks, the Colts sent a seventh-round pick — along with Wentz — to Washington, and the Commanders sent two third-round picks to Indianapolis.

An NFC scout, who was granted anonymity to speak freely with Pro Football Network, said the move was surprising for multiple reasons, especially from the Washington side of the trade.

“I was very surprised that Indianapolis was able to get what they did and move his whole contract,” the scout told PFN.

Wentz’s career has crumbled over the past two years. In 2020, his final season with the Eagles, Wentz produced a historically awful stat line as the team missed the playoffs for the first time in four years. Wentz was benched for then-rookie Jalen Hurts, who eventually became the team’s full-time starter last season.

Wentz had been traded twice in two years

The Eagles traded Wentz, who sought a change of scenario, to the Colts at the start of the new league year last season. Philadelphia received a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick in return. The second-round pick became a first-round selection — the 16th overall pick in April’s NFL Draft — because Wentz played more than 75% of the Colts’ offensive snaps.

While Wentz was able to play in all 17 games for the Colts last season, he became a lightning rod for controversy immediately after he arrived in the Midwest. He refused to get vaccinated, spent two separate stints on the COVID-19 list, and injured his foot in training camp, forcing him to start Week 1 without much preparation.

Wentz played well in spurts and threw for 3,563 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions on the season. However, he fell apart during the final two games of the campaign, as the Colts lost to the Las Vegas Raiders and last-place Jacksonville Jaguars to wrap up the season. The Colts missed the playoffs and Wentz eclipsed 200 passing yards in just two of the final eight games of the year.

Why Wentz is ‘not ideal’ for Washington

The scout thinks Wentz’s recent decline makes him an awkward fit for the Commanders, who are looking to upgrade over Taylor Heinicke at QB.

“Not ideal for Washington,” the scout said. “He will upgrade them at the position, but all things considered, it is just tough giving up that much and paying that much for Wentz for his level of play the last two seasons.”

The scout compares Wentz to former first overall pick Jameis Winston, who needed to serve as a backup to Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints in 2020 before taking back the controls of a QB1 job this past season.

Why Washington should have looked elsewhere

The scout, whose team is not in the market for a QB, thinks Wentz would have been better off rehabilitating his image — similarly to Winston and Mitchell Trubisky — by taking a step back on a depth chart behind another veteran signal-caller.

Wentz “needed to go somewhere and sit behind a high-level veteran quarterback and play-caller and just re-learn and re-train,” the scout said. “He’s a low-end starter type that has talent but causes headaches and has high-level variances in his play due to his decision-making.”

The scout believes the Commanders would have been better off testing the free agent pool, saving their draft picks and cap space on another reclamation project instead of going after Wentz and his lofty salary.

Said the evaluator: “I would have just signed Winston or Trubisky.”

Mike Kaye is the Lead NFL Reporter for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter: @mike_e_kaye.

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