Was Trading For Carson Wentz A Mistake By The Commanders?

Quarterback Carson Wentz of the Washington Commanders is introduced at Inova Sports Performance Center on March 17, 2022 in Ashburn, Virginia.
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The newly-renamed Washington Commanders made a move this month, trading for former Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Wentz, who was with the Indianapolis Colts this past season.

It was a somewhat underwhelming deal for Washington, whose fans were perhaps hoping the team would swing a trade for Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson.

To be sure, Wentz should be an upgrade over last season’s starter, Taylor Heinicke, who was very lackluster with just 3,419 yards, 20 touchdowns against 15 interceptions and an anemic passer rating of 85.9.

But some pundits are panning the Commanders’ trade for Wentz.

Did they make a mistake in getting him?

Wentz’s Stock Has Dramatically Fallen

Not too long ago, Wentz was under center for the best team in the National Football League.

After being taken with the second overall pick in the 2016 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, he drove them to an 11-2 start during the 2017 season while putting up very strong numbers and being named to the Pro Bowl.

But in Week 14, he tore his ACL, which prematurely ended his season.

Backup QB took over Wentz’s starting spot and finished the job, as the Eagles finished 13-3 and defeated the defending world champion New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Wentz returned early the following year and regained his starting QB spot, but he suffered a back injury near the end of the regular season and was again forced to sit during the playoffs.

He played well enough in 2019 to get some consideration for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award, but since then he has not been the same.

In 2021, he put up disappointing numbers – 3,563 yards and 27 touchdowns, and his 62.4 percent completion rate was one of the lowest in the league.

With the Colts needing a win in Week 18 to make the playoffs, Wentz failed to deliver against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who finished with the worst record in the NFL, and Indy lost 26-11.

In that game, Wentz threw for just 185 yards while allowing himself to get sacked a whopping six times.

It’s hard to see him regaining his old form with the Commanders, a team that doesn’t exactly have the best collection of players at the offensive skill positions.

But what may be even worse than Wentz’s limitations is something else that will hamper the Commanders’ efforts to build a winning team.

Washington Gave Up Too Much To Get Wentz

To acquire Wentz, the Commanders sent the Colts a second and third-round pick in next month’s NFL draft, plus a conditional pick in next year’s draft that will be in the second round if Wentz takes part in 70 percent of Washington’s snaps.

That seems like a steep price to give up for a QB who ranked in the bottom half of the league in some key categories last season.

In addition, there were likely better or at least less risky candidates out there for Washington to go after.

To make matters worse, the Colts turned that draft capital into one of those other QB choices.

According to reports, the San Francisco 49ers have been asking for two second-round picks in return for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Yes, he’s injury-prone (he won’t be able to work out for several weeks due to shoulder surgery), but he’s still likely a better signal-caller at this point, and he has taken his team to the NFC Championship game in two of the past three seasons.

The one bright spot for Washington is that it can cut him next year without incurring any salary cap penalties if he doesn’t measure up.

But overall, the Wentz trade has to be seen as a mistake by a team that will miss the playoffs yet again in 2022.

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