Colts’ QB room a mess after Carson Wentz, two teammates placed on COVID-19 reserve list

Carson Wentz and two other Colts players have been put on the COVID-19 reserve list -- what's the fallout for the QB and team?

Carson Wentz has had a very, very bad month. The latest setback for the Indianapolis Colts‘ starting quarterback is a trip to the league’s reserve/COVID-19 list — on the very same day he was supposed to hit an important practice benchmark in his return from unexpected foot surgery.

Carson Wentz, two teammates placed on COVID-19 reserve list

Wentz was one of three Colts players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday [August 30]. The others were receiver Zach Pascal and center Ryan Kelly. NFL Network reports that all three designations resulted from close contact with a staff member who has tested positive.

Wentz, traded to Indianapolis from the Philadelphia Eagles, has been cagey about his vaccination status. Last month, he declined to say if he’s been immunized — calling it a “personal decision” — and has been spotted wearing a mask at Colts camp, which is usually a dead giveaway that he is not.

And now, Wentz’s personal decision will keep him out of practice the next few days, at the least. If he tests positive for COVID-19, there’s an outside chance he will be unavailable for the Colts’ Week 1 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

League protocols, in that case, would mandate he isolates for 10 days and produces a negative test to return.

Wentz’s setback puts Week 1 status up in the air

That means Wentz might not be able to practice until well into next week. This hurts the Colts’ ability to prepare for the Seahawks, assuming his mending foot is cleared.

He has not participated in team drills since July 29 after a deteriorating foot injury required surgery. Wentz has looked good in limited work recently, and this week of practice was going to be an important test.

Instead, he’ll be away from the team, leaving Indianapolis’ quarterback situation in a very delicate place. Rookie Sam Ehlinger is out until October with a sprained knee. As a result, the Colts have just two available quarterbacks this week — Jacob Eason and Brett Hundley.

Indianapolis will surely add at least one more signal-caller in the coming days. What is less certain is whether the Colts will risk doing so through the waiver process (they are 21st in the claims order) or simply short-circuit the process and give up yet another asset for a quarterback.

Could the Colts make a trade for another quarterback?

Nick Foles — the name that won’t go away. Foles backed up Wentz and played for Frank Reich in Philadelphia. He took over for an injured Wentz in 2018, leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory. Foles is on the trade block as the Bears’ No. 3 QB, and it presumably wouldn’t take a ton for Indianapolis to pry him loose.

That’s good news because the Colts already surrendered a 2021 third-round pick and at least a second in 2022 for Wentz. That second will become a first if Wentz meets certain playing time thresholds this fall.

Yet, his still-healing foot and presumptive vaccination status — which undoubtedly puts the Colts at a competitive disadvantage — could make reaching those benchmarks difficult.

Wentz is hoping for a bounce-back season after throwing nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns in 2020, earning a trip out of town just five years after Philadelphia selected him No. 2 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.

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