For the Commanders, attempting to find a long-term franchise quarterback over the past several years has been akin to pulling teeth. They made another noteworthy move this offseason to address the issue, but the team’s top acquisition is already the subject of questions regarding his No. 1 status.
After struggling mightily during Sunday’s game against the Eagles, Commanders head coach Ron Rivera was asked if he was considering benching Carson Wentz. He replied, quite simply, “No. I’m not” (Twitter link via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post.
During Washington’s 24-8 loss, Wentz and the offense were held off the scoreboard until the closing minutes of the contest. Overall, his first game against the team that drafted him second overall in 2016 finished with 211 yards, nine sacks taken and a QBR of 71. That marked a stark contrast to his performance during the two previous weeks, in which the 29-year-old totaled 650 passing yards and seven touchdowns (along with three interceptions).
After his one-year stint with the Colts ended in a late-season collapse which kept the team out of the playoffs, Wentz fell out of favor with Indianapolis’ front office. That led to plenty of trade speculation in anticipation of the league’s fervent QB market this offseason; ultimately, the Commanders took on the full remainder of his contract in a trade aimed at stabilizing the position for at least the immediate future.
Washington has also been linked to a number of other passers who were – or were intended to be – on the move in recent months. Included on that list is Jimmy Garoppolo, who has resumed his role of starter for the 49ers due to Trey Lance‘s season-ending injury. That leaves the Commanders with Wentz, the eleventh different quarterback to start a regular season contest for them since Kirk Cousins‘ departure in 2018.
The North Dakota State product has two years remaining on his current deal after this one, with cap hits just over $26MM and $27MM, respectively. None of that compensation is guaranteed, however, so Washington could move on from him as early as this offseason. With the backing of his head coach, he still has a hold on the starter’s job for the 2022 season to earn his way into an extended stay in the nation’s capital.