Carson Wentz

Colts HC Frank Reich On Carson Wentz

One of the (several) blockbuster moves this NFL offseason was the trade of Carson Wentz from the Eagles to the Colts. Philly moved on from the former second overall pick, while Indy will now have their fourth Week 1 starting quarterback in as many years.

The fallout from this trade will be significant, and will take years to take shape. One of the people who will be most impacted by however it turns out is Colts head coach Frank Reich, and in a recent interview with Albert Breer of SI.com he opened up about the deal for his new quarterback. Perhaps most interestingly, Reich revealed that the team was originally planning on drafting a signal-caller before they stumbled into the Wentz tradee.

“Was it going to be a draft pick? Honestly, I think Chris and I were thinking, somehow we were going to figure out how we were going to be able to draft the quarterback of our future. And then this thing came with Carson and it fell into our laps,” Reich said.

The “figure out how” part makes it seem like the Colts and GM Chris Ballard were plotting a trade up in order to draft one of this class’ top passers. It’s fun to think about how that alternate history would’ve played out. Reich expressed confidence that Wentz can turn things around after his disastrous 2020 season, and said he doesn’t need to go all the way back to 2017 to see that, but just the year before last.

“All you had to do, for me, was turn on the film in 2019, and with four games to go the Eagles needed to win out. And not only did they need to win out, but in each of those games, as I recall, looking at the film, Carson had to play great in the second half, and play a major role in that team winning those games in the second half,” he explained.

Reich also made it clear he doesn’t want to be viewed as a guru who’s going to work his magic and reinvent Wentz on his own. “I’ve already had a conversation with Carson, to say, ‘O.K., everybody’s throwing the word fix around and I get it,’” Reich said. “I wanted to get that off the table with Carson, because as a coach, you’re not trying to make it all about you. I’m not the fixer.”

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Carson Wentz Fallout: Hurts, Patriots, Pederson

The Carson Wentz era in Philadelphia came to an end today, as the former second-overall pick was dealt to the Colts. However, just because Wentz was sent packing, that doesn’t necessarily mean Jalen Hurts will slide into the starting spot. Sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen that the Eagles intend to bring in “competition” at quarterback, and the “starting job is not expected to automatically go to Hurts.”

The Eagles made a significant commitment to Hurts when they selected him in the second round of last year’s draft, and the former Alabama/Oklahoma standout showed flashes of potential during the 2020 season. Hurts ultimately started four of his 15 appearances this past season, completing 52 percent of his passes for 1,061 yards, six touchdowns, and four interceptions. He added another 354 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 63 carries.

It’s pretty clear that Hurts is the heir apparent at the quarterback spot, so this report is probably mostly lip service … teams don’t want their young players to rest on their laurels. Rather, the team is likely looking toward a veteran free agent who will provide some extra motivation to the young signal caller.

Let’s check out some more Wentz-centric notes:

  • The Colts ended up sending Philly a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick. According to Zak Keefer of The Athletic, Indy’s offer “hadn’t changed all that much across 10 days of negotiations.” The Colts front office ultimately believed the compensation was “fair,” and they never intended to “meet the Eagles’ initial demands of multiple first-round picks.” Per Keefer, the Colts understood that Wentz wasn’t their only option to replace Philip Rivers, and the front office was weighing other options while negotiating with Philadelphia.
  • We learned earlier today that the Bears had inquired on Wentz but never made a definitive offer. The same goes for the Patriots. According to Jeff Howe of the The Athletic, New England called the Eagles about the quarterback but lost interest when they heard the asking price. As the reporter notes, the Patriots are unlikely to “overpay for a veteran if it’s not a perfect fit,” especially at this point in the offseason.
  • How did it get to this point between Wentz and the Eagles? ESPN’s Tim McManus writes that the drafting of Hurts may have marked the “beginning of the end,” but there were plenty of additional factors that came into play during the 2020 season. As the Eagles losses and injuries continued to mount, (former) head coach Doug Pederson stripped Wentz of “much of his control over the offense.” As a result, Wentz vicariously lost faith in his head coach and the system.
  • Wentz didn’t just lose faith in Pederson. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Wentz “lost faith in [general manager Howie Roseman‘s] decision making. Wentz held a similar sentiment toward owner Jeffrey Lurie, who supported his GM and the front office’s decision to select Hurts in the second round.

Latest On Panthers’ Quarterback Outlook

The Panthers were prepared to part with their current starting quarterback and their No. 8 overall pick for Matthew Stafford, and owner David Tepper appears prepared to approve a guns-blazing push for Deshaun Watson.

Carolina is believed to be in on a few quarterbacks in this complex offseason at the position, according to The Athletic (subscription required), but the team was not viewed as a serious Carson Wentz suitor. Taking it a step further, Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan tweets the Panthers were not interested in the former Eagles passer.

Teddy Bridgewater, offered to the Lions in the Panthers’ Stafford proposal, may not be long for his role as Carolina’s QB1. But the Panthers sat out the Wentz process, joining the Patriots and Broncos — who were also in the mix for Stafford, though the QB did not want to be dealt to New England — in that regard. This led to the Eagles shipping Wentz to the Colts. Philadelphia’s initial ask of a Stafford-type haul for Wentz induced multiple teams to bow out of the pursuit early.

As for the Panthers’ next move, it might not be a trade for Sam Darnold. They do not appear especially high on the Jets quarterback, according to The Athletic, and a growing sense has emerged that Bridgewater may be back at the controls for the 2021 Panthers. Armed with the draft’s No. 2 overall pick, the Jets are mulling a Darnold decision. Multiple teams have inquired on Darnold thus far. Their choice could impact the Panthers, who may be out of position — barring a trade-up maneuver — to snag one of the top three QBs in this draft.

Returning OC Joe Brady remains confident in Bridgewater, per The Athletic. Bridgewater signed a three-year, $63MM deal last March. However, Tepper is said to be hoping the team finds an upgrade — even if Watson cannot be pried from the Texans.

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Bears Did Not Make Offer For Carson Wentz

One of the two known Carson Wentz suitors during this trade saga, the Bears do not appear to have presented legitimate competition to the Colts for the former Eagles quarterback.

The Bears did discuss Wentz with the Eagles, but Jay Glazer of Fox Sports tweets the team did not make an offer for the former No. 2 overall pick. Chicago backed out of the trade talks recently, according to Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio (on Twitter). The Colts concluded the race by sending a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-rounder to the Eagles to land Frank Reich‘s former pupil.

Regardless of the Bears’ finishing position in the respective sweepstakes for Wentz and Matthew Stafford, they remain in search of a quarterback. Chicago does have a first-round pick for the first time since the 2018 draft, but thanks to the team’s late-season resurgence, that selection sits at No. 20 overall.

The Colts, who pick 21st, secured Wentz and will not be in the market for a major trade-up maneuver come April. Although other QBs may well be available for trade in this action-packed offseason, the Bears will be connected to a first-round trade-up going into a crucial year for the Ryan PaceMatt Nagy regime. Nick Foles remains under Bears control for the 2021 season, on an easily manageable salary ($4MM), but the team will almost certainly bring in a starter-caliber passer via trade, free agency or the draft.

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Eagles Trade Carson Wentz To Colts

The Eagles have agreed to trade Carson Wentz to the Colts, according to Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The deal will send a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick to Philadelphia. That conditional choice could turn into a first-round selection if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps or 70% with a playoff appearance (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). 

Not long ago, Wentz was a legitimate MVP candidate. Things took a sharp turn in the Eagles’ Super Bowl season when Wentz’s injury gave way to the rise of Nick Foles. When Wentz, he wasn’t the same. Neither was the relationship between him and Doug Pederson. Now, they’re both out of Philadelphia.

Wentz will now try to fill the void left by Philip Rivers‘ retirement. Meanwhile, the Eagles are now poised to turn things over to Jalen Hurts, Wentz’s younger and more athletic counterpart.

There were other suitors for Wentz, but the Colts have long been linked to the former No. 2 overall pick. Three former Eagles coaches — Frank Reich, Mike Groh, and Press Taylor — are on the Colts’ staff, giving Wentz instant familiarity with the offense. The Bears, who have one-time Wentz QB coach John DeFilippo on the staff, were also said to be in the mix. Ditto for the Broncos, though they were lukewarm on him. The Broncos will now try to piece together an even bigger package for someone like Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson. If they can’t land a top-tier QB, they’ll reportedly stay the course with Drew Lock.

Wentz’s injuries and apparent decline hurt his stock, but his contract was also a limiting factor. On the plus side, his cap number will be tamped down to ~$25MM for Indy, due to guarantees that will remain on the Birds’ books.

The Colts will now have Wentz under contract through 2024. His deal calls for a $25.4MM cap hit this year, with $15.4MM guaranteed and a $10MM roster bonus. In 2022, they’ll have him at a $22MM salary/cap hit, with $15MM locked in. After that, the guarantees dissipate, giving the Colts an escape hatch should things go awry.

With the Wentz deal, there are now zero first-round QBs from the 2009-2016 drafts with their original teams, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The deal also marks the trades of the 2016 draft’s No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks, inside of three weeks. Jared Goff — once a rising star in Los Angeles — was shipped to the Lions for Matthew Stafford just days ago.

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Broncos Not Interested In Carson Wentz

The Broncos aren’t all that interested in Carson Wentz, as James Palmer of NFL.com tweets. The Broncos have been linked to the Eagles QB, but they’re mostly targeting the top tier options on the market, rather than signal callers like Wentz. 

That top tier includes Deshaun Watson, if the Texans are willing to move him. Ditto for Russell Wilson, though it’s not quite clear if the Seahawks will seriously entertain offers. The Broncos pursued Matthew Stafford earlier this offseason, before he was shipped to the Rams, an indication that they saw Stafford as a potential upgrade to Drew Lock. In the case of Wentz, they are not so sure.

Lock didn’t have a banner year in 2020, throwing 15 interceptions in 13 games. However, he did finish strong in the final quarter of the regular season, posting seven touchdowns against just two interceptions. Denver’s top decision makers believe that Lock could build on that, making him a better option in 2021 than the former No. 2 overall pick.

Meanwhile, Watson has the Broncos on his list of preferred destinations, which would make Kareem Jackson very happy. Still, the Dolphins and 49ers are said to be even higher on Watson’s list. Ultimately, this could all lead the Broncos to stick with Lock and put their resources elsewhere in March.

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Eagles, Colts Still Discussing Carson Wentz

The Bears may have a slight lead in the Carson Wentz pursuit, which could be a two-horse race. But the Colts are not bowing out of this process. They continue to engage in dialogue with the Eagles on a trade for the disgruntled quarterback, Zak Keefer of The Athletic tweets.

Wentz is believed to prefer the Colts as a destination, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter). But the Bears have Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace on hot seats going into their fourth year together. That may bring out a better offer compared to what the Colts are proposing.

The Colts, however, are not budging on their offer, with Keefer adding the Indy-Philly talks have not included a major compensation upgrade. It is not believed a first-round pick has yet emerged in a Wentz proposal.

Three ex-Eagles coaches on their offensive staff — Frank Reich, Mike Groh, Press Taylor — reside on the Colts’ staff, while the Bears have former Wentz position coach John DeFilippo in place as their quarterbacks coach. Chicago also recently promoted DeFilippo to passing-game coordinator.

Wentz has $47MM guaranteed going to him over the next two seasons, but the Eagles extending him at $32MM per year through the 2024 season, the quarterback would not carry a cap figure north of $27MM after he’s traded.

The Eagles were seeking a Matthew Stafford-type trade haul for Wentz, who has shown immense promise but is coming off his worst season. With these talks dragging on, it is clear Philly has not received such an offer for the former No. 2 overall pick. The Broncos and Patriots are not believed to be interested in Wentz, with SI.com’s Albert Breer noting the Stafford-type haul request prompted multiple teams to withdraw from this pursuit from the start. But the Colts and Bears appear to still be in it. One of them could have a new starting quarterback soon.

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Latest On Carson Wentz, Bears Front Runners?

What we heard right before the Super Bowl made it sound like a Carson Wentz trade was imminent, but here on February 16th Wentz is still a member of the Eagles. In a recent piece, Albert Breer of SI.com broke down a few of the reasons why things are lagging. 

For starters, Breer writes that Philly’s steep asking price caused several potentially interested teams to “drop out of the running altogether.” In addition to his poor play last year, Breer also notes that a “less-talked-about problem is the growing reputation Wentz has of not reacting well to hard coaching.” Stuff like that has been hinted at the past couple years, but it sounds like it’s a full-blown issue at this point.

In an interview with Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports, Breer added that he believes the Bears are the “front runner” as of the beginning of this week. “It’s pretty clear at this point the Bears have pushed harder than the Colts to get Carson Wentz. The Eagles are probably going to get their best return for Carson Wentz from Chicago,” Breer said.

Breer writes that he doesn’t think the Eagles will get a first-round pick, unless there are compounding factors like salary dumps or other picks going back to the trade partner. Both Indy and Chicago’s staffs have ties to Wentz, and the Bears just recently promoted his former quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.

In recent days we’ve heard that both the Broncos and Patriots aren’t interested in Wentz, and there aren’t really any known suitors other than the Colts or Bears.

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Broncos Plan To Pursue Deshaun Watson, Not In Carson Wentz Mix

The Texans continue to insist Deshaun Watson is unavailable, but the three-time Pro Bowler has dug in on his plan to leave Houston after four seasons. If the Texans make him available, several teams will certainly push to acquire him.

The Broncos can be counted as a team that will pursue Watson if he becomes available, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. Amid this potentially historic offseason of quarterback movement, Denver does not plan to make a move for Carson Wentz, Renck adds. The Broncos were loosely connected to the Eagles passer last week, but thus far, only the Bears and Colts have been mentioned as surefire Wentz suitors.

Having started nine quarterbacks since Peyton Manning‘s 2016 retirement, the Broncos certainly make sense as a Watson bidder. They would join the Panthers and 49ers in that regard, with the Dolphins, Jets and others likely set to enter the fray as well. The Broncos exchanged offers with the Lions for Matthew Stafford but were not mentioned as one of the teams willing to part with a first-round pick. Would the Broncos make a real push for Watson, it would require perhaps three first-rounders.

With the Broncos not among the teams that have two first-round picks this year, a Watson pursuit could require the team going into its 2023 draft haul — or gutting its 2021 and ’22 drafts and parting with young players — and do so shortly after hiring a new GM (George Paton). Paton was reluctant to part with young assets for Stafford, though trading for a 33-year-old one-time Pro Bowler and 25-year-old three-time Pro Bowler are certainly different conversations.

Watson has the Broncos on his list of preferred destinations, with Denver safety (and ex-Watson Houston teammate) Kareem Jackson pitching the franchise to him on multiple occasions. That list, though, may feature the Dolphins and 49ers residing ahead of the Broncos. Miami and San Francisco have coaches nowhere near the hot seat; Vic Fangio is certainly there or close to it in Denver. A Fangio firing would likely mean OC Pat Shurmur exits as well. While Kyle Shanahan‘s standing as the 49ers’ play-caller is rock-solid, the Dolphins have featured instability here under Brian Flores. After having two offensive coordinators in Flores’ two seasons, the team now has a co-OC setup (George Godsey and ex-Broncos assistant Eric Studesville).

The Broncos have long been expected to add a veteran to compete with inconsistent incumbent Drew Lock. Watson or Wentz going to Denver would mean a Lock demotion. While Lock presently sits atop Denver’s depth chart, the franchise being consistently connected to QBs could change that standing soon.

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No First-Round Picks Offered For Carson Wentz

It’s unlikely that the Eagles have been offered a first-round pick for Carson Wentz, according league sources who spoke with to Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. That goes for “this year” or any year “in the future,” Bowen says, which means that the Birds may have to settle for far less than they wanted. 

[RELATED: Broncos Eyeing Carson Wentz?]

The Lions fetched two future first-rounders and a third-rounder for Matthew Stafford, but it’s hardly an apples-to-apples comparison. To get that package, the Lions agreed to take on Jared Goff‘s whopper of a contract. Meanwhile, Wentz has an outsized deal of his own. Wentz, 28, is signed through 2024 with $47.2MM guaranteed through the 2022 season.

The Colts and the Bears have been linked to Wentz. In theory, teams that missed out on Stafford like the Broncos, Panthers, and 49ers could get in the mix. The Patriots were also one-time Stafford suitors, but they’re not interested in the former No. 2 overall pick.

The Eagles claim that they want to move forward with Wentz, but, by all accounts, he still wants out. It may behoove Howie Roseman to make a deal sooner rather than later. If Wentz is on the roster by the third day of the league year in March, the Eagles will owe him a $10MM signing bonus. They can escape that obligation by dealing him beforehand, though they’ll still be on the hook for $33.8MM in dead cap charges.

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