Following multiple weeks of reports and trade speculation, former Philadelphia Eagles franchise cornerstone and 2016 second-overall selection Carson Wentz is on his way to Indianapolis. In return, the Colts reportedly sent a third-rounder in this year’s draft and a conditional second-round selection next year that turns into a first-rounder if Wentz plays more than 70% of snaps this upcoming season.
Matthew Stafford’s trade to the Los Angeles Rams has ultimately kicked off a domino effect that led to Wentz’s departure. And with that, zero of the 22 quarterbacks selected in the first round between 2009-2016 are with their original team, an unbelievable stat that now shadows an ever-growing market for signal-callers in a pass-happy NFL.
Wentz now joins one of the most promising rosters in the entire NFL, where their biggest hole has become one of their biggest anchors. Wentz is everything general manager Chris Ballard eyes in his quarterbacks: big frame, strong arm, high football IQ. Wentz fits the mold, and Ballard hopes he’s more than just window dressing.
Following Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement, the Colts were left with a void under center. Jacoby Brissett has developed into nothing more than an above-average backup, and with Philip Rivers serving as a stop-gap option in 2020, the future under center in Indianapolis has developed into an ever-apparent headline, despite the Colts’ recent playoff berth under Rivers.
Now, head coach Frank Reich has his man, again.
For a second time, Wentz and Reich will pair up in an effort to replicate the success the two shared during their time in Philadelphia. Reich served as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator in 2016-17 when, in Wentz’s second season, the quarterback developed into an MVP candidate in an eventual Super Bowl title-winning year, the Eagles’ first in franchise history.
However, the Colts have holes, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. We’ll focus on specific additions for a later article, but Ballard would be wise to focus a majority of the Colts’ major cap flexibility, $68M+ to be exact, on the offensive side of the ball.
With blind side anchor Anthony Castonzo entering retirement and WR1 T.Y. Hilton entering free agency, adding juice into one of the league’s budding offensive units would serve Wentz well.
Additionally, Wentz won’t have to carry the load on offense. 2020 second-round selection Jonathan Taylor was excellent in his rookie campaign, and his workload will only increase as his comfortability within Reich’s offense grows as well. Combine that with one of the NFL’s top offensive lines—especially if they address the LT situation—and Indianapolis seems primed to compete in the AFC for years to come.
For Philadelphia, the Eagles will take a $33.8 million dead-cap hit—the largest dead cap in history—while the Colts will assume the balance of Wentz's $128 million extension, including the $10 million guaranteed roster bonus due on March 19.
And now, as Jalen Hurts enters his second season, is he QB1 in Philadelphia, or would general manager Howie Roseman enter the fire and select a quarterback with their sixth overall selection? It’s a scenario that shouldn’t be ignored due to Roseman’s history of—I’ll be nice —questionable drafts in recent memory.
Combine the fact that Hurts is now tasked with learning his second offensive scheme in two seasons, and the climb to relevance in one of the toughest markets to please may be too far-fetched for the former Oklahoma Sooner. Does Hurts have the talent to not only compete but produce as a signal-caller in the NFL? Absolutely, and he proved that during the latter half of the season. But, if Roseman and new Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni think otherwise, only time will tell who suits up under center donning Eagles green come Week 1.
Folks, it’s only February. Buckle up.