The Indianapolis Colts have agreed to trade quarterback Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders in exchange for two third-round draft picks, according to a league source.
One of those selections, a 2023 third-round draft pick can become a second-round draft pick should the oft-injured Wentz appear in 70 percent of the offensive snaps next season. The Commanders and Colts swapped places in the second round in 2022, too.
Carson Wentz was on shaky ground
A year ago, Wentz was acquired via a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles but was a disappointment in his one season in Indianapolis. Now, he joins the Commanders who also looked into potential trades for Russell Wilson, dealt to the Denver Broncos, and Deshaun Watson, whose legal situation is unresolved.
Before the trade, Colts general manager Chris Ballard met with Wentz during the NFL Scouting Combine, emphasizing they had a productive conversation. He didn’t provide any support publicly to Wentz, though.
One year after a hefty trade, Wentz is not returning due to his disappointing finish to the season as the Colts failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Ballard said that the Colts factored everything in making the decision on Wentz. However, he didn’t reference the available free agent quarterbacks or the draft as being an overriding element.
It comes down to trust. “Ultimately, you’ve got to have a guy that you believe in and can win with,” Ballard said.
Colts’ decision-making process on Wentz
Why were the Colts so noncommital on Wentz’s future, and why did they lose faith in him?
“Fair enough, so not saying we don’t (believe), but in the long-term best interests for us as we work through whether Carson is the long-term best interest for us is the best way I can put it,” Ballard said. “We’re not there yet. I’m not there yet. We’ll talk about it as a group and move forward. Whatever decision we make will be the best one for us.”
As far as the trade and what was surrendered, Ballard said he couldn’t concern himself with that. And he won’t.
Colts GM continued to speak with Wentz
The conversation with Wentz lent no clarity to the situation, but it wasn’t a bad one, according to Ballard.
“I visited with Carson today in my office for an hour,” he said. “It was good. It was really good. I think learning to handle the criticism, I think what you always have to ask yourself, and I always ask it with the criticism I get, which some of it is deserved, I always ask, ‘Is the criticism fair? Is it fair?’ I’ll take it in if it is fair.
“But if it’s not fair, then what am I doing? I’m not wasting headspace on that. But if the criticism is fair, we’ve got to be able to look internally and accept that and grow from it. Most of it’s pretty fair. And it’ll be interesting to see how he grows from this. I think he will.”
Ultimately, that led to more conversations, a ticket out of town, and a pending return to the East Coast.