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Washington’s desperate search for a quarterback came to an end on Wednesday. The Commanders reportedly struck a deal with the Indianapolis Colts for Carson Wentz. The deal will not be finalized until next week when the 2022 league year officially begins.

According to reports, Washington gave up a 3rd round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, as well as at least a 3rd round pick in 2023. If Wentz plays more than 70% of the snaps in 2022, that 2023 draft pick would increase to a 2nd round pick for Washington. The two teams also swapped their 2nd round picks in this year’s draft (Washington’s 42nd overall for Indianapolis’ 47th). Further reports today state that Washington will also receive a 7th round pick in the 2022 Draft.

Additionally, the Commanders will pay Wentz’ entire 2022 salary of $28-million-plus dollars.

Fleeced?

Given that the Colts were rumored to be thinking about flat out cutting Wentz to be free of that cap number, and take the team in a different direction – is that a heavy price for Washington to pay?

It seems so. But perhaps that’s what happens when you let the entire world know how desperate you are for a solution at quarterback.

You run the risk of getting fleeced.

The Commanders were rumored to have offered a 4th and 6th round pick for Wentz, but Indianapolis turned it down. Could that be because Ron Rivera and the team have spent the entire off-season bragging about how they talked to every single team in the league about their quarterback needs?

It sure could be.

The world will never know if the Colts would have jettisoned Wentz next week, but it doesn’t really matter either. In fact, it could just as easily be argued that if the Commanders had left it to free agency, Wentz may not have come to Washington at all. So ultimately, they paid the price that was asked of them. And that they had to.

Optimists will – and should – point out that Indianapolis gave up more to get Wentz from Philadelphia, than Washington gave up. That’s definitely true. However, Colts coach Frank Reich was already on public record as saying that the team may move on from Wentz after just one season.

Scapegoat?

So why exactly are the Colts moving on without Wentz? Did he have a terrible season in 2021?

Not really.

He threw for over 3500 yards, and had 27 touchdowns, while only throwing 7 interceptions. His quarterback rating was 94.6. All of those metrics are decent enough.

There are whispers of leadership issues and other intangible things, but none of it seems related to his play on the field. And several of his teammates last year have spoken up on his behalf.

Bridge Quarterback

One of the positives to the Wentz deal, is that there is no guaranteed money in his contract beyond this season. Assuming Washington does not re-structure his deal this year, they can set him free next season with zero cap penalty whatsoever. That would allow them to go in a different direction without any dead cap cost.

That may open the door to use their first round pick in this year’s draft on another quarterback.

Although that prospect got a little tougher when Seattle leap-frogged Washington in the first round, via the Russell Wilson deal.

Sixth Opening Day Quarterback in Six Years?

Assuming everything goes to plan, and the 29-year old quarterback wins the starting job, Wentz will return to the NFC East in his seventh NFL season.

In doing so, he will be Washington’s sixth different opening day quarterback in the last six years.

2017 – Kirk Cousins

2018 – Alex Smith

2019 – Case Keenum

2020 – Dwayne Haskins

2021 – Ryan Fitzpatrick

2022 – Carson Wentz

That’s categorically a quarterback carousel.

Silver Linings

  1. The “we are desperate for a quarterback” debacle should finally be over. Regardless of what Washington want to do in the 2022 NFL Draft, they shouldn’t be 100% guided by desperation.
  2. Wentz might be the best arm throwing to wide receiver Terry McLaurin in McLaurin’s short career.
  3. If the experiment fails, Wentz can be dumped next year at zero cost.

Devil’s Advocate

  1. It’s his third team in three seasons. That’s not a ringing endorsement no matter how you try and spin it.
  2. His cap number for THIS year is pretty large at $28M+. Washington no longer have much cap room to work with, and will have to make ancillary moves like cutting Landon Collins loose.
  3. Washington appear to have “overspent” in draft picks for fear that they would be left out in the cold come free agency time.

Might Haves?

It’s impossible to say with any certainty, the things that might have happened had this deal not transpired.

The Commanders might have been able to get as good a season out of a Mitch Trubisky, or Teddy Bridgewater, or Marcus Mariota, or a Jameis Winston.

And if so, Washington might have saved a bunch of cap money.

The Commanders might have been able to get one of those aforementioned quarterbacks here via free agency.

But then again, they might not.

In the end, Washington might have got a little bit better at the quarterback position.

They also might have given themselves a little more wiggle room at the upcoming draft.

Both of those things are worth celebrating.

Hail.

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