Carson Wentz

Commanders Designate QB Carson Wentz For Return

The Commanders have their highest-paid quarterback back at practice Wednesday. They designated Carson Wentz to return from IR, giving the veteran passer three weeks to be activated.

Wentz suffered a fractured finger during Washington’s Week 6 win in Chicago and underwent surgery. He has missed five games — one more than the minimum for 2022 IR stays — and seen the team change its quarterback plan during that absence. Taylor Heinicke has since regained his spot as the team’s starting quarterback.

Ron Rivera (via’s Zach Selby) has since confirmed Sunday reports that indicated Heinicke would keep his job even when Wentz returns. While Heinicke’s grip on the gig is still somewhat tenuous, the team’s primary 2021 starter retaking the reins doubles as Wentz’s second benching in three seasons. Wentz is unlikely to return this week, per Rivera, who said rookie Sam Howell will remain Heinicke’s backup, Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post tweets.

After inquiring on just about every potentially available quarterback this offseason — one that included a three-first-rounder offer to the Seahawks for Russell Wilson — the Commanders sent the Colts a 2022 third-round pick and a conditional 2023 choice for Wentz. That pick will looks set to become a third-rounder instead of a second, with Wentz unlikely to hit the 70% snap benchmark necessary for the pick to land in Round 2. This comes after Wentz met the participation-based conditions for the Eagles to nab a first-rounder this year. The Commanders and Colts also swapped 2022 second-round picks in this year’s Wentz trade, giving the Colts the No. 42 overall choice and the Commanders the 47th pick.

Wentz, 29, has been unable to re-establish himself as a solid starter in Washington. The team went 2-4 in Wentz’s starts. While wins and losses are obviously far from the best measure for quarterback success, the Commanders’ surge under Heinicke essentially left Rivera with little choice to stay the course. The team is now 6-5 and gunning for a wild-card spot. Wentz has, however, doubled Heinicke in touchdown passes (1o to five). The two are also separated by just 0.4 points in quarterback rating, keeping the door open for Wentz to re-emerge at some point later this season.

The trade prices notwithstanding, the 2020s have represented a steep fall from grace for Wentz. After seeing an ACL tear almost certainly deny him an MVP honor in 2017, Wentz never regained that form. He has shown flashes — helping a receiver-depleted 2019 Eagles team to the playoffs, a 27-7 TD-INT ratio during a polarizing Colts stay that ended quite poorly — but is moving toward failure in his latest bounce-back opportunity. The former No. 2 overall pick is on the Commanders’ books (via the Eagles extension he inked back in 2019) through 2024 but can be jettisoned free of charge next year.

Taylor Heinicke To Remain Commanders’ Starting QB

NOVEMBER 20: Heinicke will remain the Commanders’ starting quarterback unless he starts to struggle and Washington’s offense begins to regress, as Ian Rapoport of reports. John Keim of subsequently confirmed the report, and while Wentz is likely to be activated off of IR soon, he will return to the roster as a backup. Wentz has been informed of the decision, per Keim.

This decision stands to impact the compensation that the Colts will receive for the trade that sent Wentz from Indianapolis to the Commanders this offseason. If Wentz does not play at least 70% of the Commanders’ offensive snaps in 2022 — a scenario that is looking increasingly likely — the Colts will receive a 2023 third-round choice from Washington instead of a second-rounder.

NOVEMBER 16: Carson Wentz is just about ready to return to practice, but for the time being, the Commanders will be rolling with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback. Head coach Ron Rivera told reporters that Heinicke will start this Sunday against the Texans, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post (on Twitter).

Rivera doesn’t seem to be committing to Heinicke as his starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. While Wentz has been cleared to throw, he’s yet to be designated to return to practice. If the Commanders sincerely wanted Wentz under center going forward, they’d surely give him a full week of practice before tossing him back into the fire.

While the Commanders don’t have to make a decision about their QB1 with Wentz technically still on the shelf, some around the NFL believe Washington is preparing to give Heinicke the reigns for the rest of the 2022 season. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes that “many around the league” expect the team to stick with Heinicke as their starting QB, “at least for the short term.” One source told Fowler that the young players on the Commanders “gravitate” towards Heinicke because of his “fiery personality and his no-fear attitude,” and Rivera is cognizant of the locker room support that the quarterback possesses. On the flip side, the organization also values Wentz’s “skill and toughness,” and it doesn’t sound like there would be any mutiny if the staff decides to roll with the veteran.

Heinicke has certainly impressed under center. In his four starts, he’s guided the Commanders to a 3-1 record, including a victory over the previously undefeated Eagles. He’s completed 62 percent of his pass attempts for 840 yards, five touchdowns, and four interceptions, and he’s added another 60 yards and a score on the ground. This performance comes on the heels of a 2021 campaign that saw him go 7-8 as a starter while tossing 20 touchdowns vs. 15 interceptions.

Wentz was acquired by Washington this past offseason and started each of the first six games before suffering a hand injury that landed him on IR. Washington was 2-4 in Wentz’s six appearances, with the 29-year-old completing 62.1 percent of his passes for 1,489 yards, 10 touchdowns, and six interceptions.

Panthers QB Notes: Darnold, Mayfield, Rhule, Herbert, Stafford, Tepper, Watson

Although the Panthers are starting Baker Mayfield in Week 11, they want to see Sam Darnold in action this season. Steve Wilks said he would like to give Darnold some work, though the interim HC did not indicate that would be certain to happen this week against the Ravens. “I’m interested in winning the game. This is not pay $250 to get to play,” Wilks said, via The Athletic’s Joe Person (on Twitter).

Carolina used one of its injury activations to move Darnold onto its 53-man roster last week, but the former No. 3 overall pick did not see any action against the Falcons. P.J. Walker is out of the picture for the time being, after becoming the third Carolina QB this season to suffer a high ankle sprain. Mayfield will make his first start since sustaining his ankle injury in Week 9. Here is the latest from what has become one of the more complex QB situations in recent NFL history:

  • After playing hurt last season, Mayfield has not turned it around. On the radar for a potential franchise-QB deal in 2021, Mayfield is on track for free agency for the first time. The market for the former No. 1 overall pick may check in at $5-$7MM on a prove-it deal, David Newton of notes. Mayfield’s 17.7 QBR ranks last in the NFL.
  • This situation has been in flux since Cam Newton‘s 2019 foot injury. Prior to the team making the Newton-for-Teddy Bridgewater change, GM Marty Hurney and most of the Panthers’ scouts were high on Justin Herbert. But Matt Rhule did not view 2020 as the window to draft a quarterback, with Jeremy Fowler of indicating in an expansive piece the team saw a jump from No. 7 overall to No. 4 — ahead of the QB-seeking Dolphins and Chargers — as too costly. While then-Giants GM Dave Gettleman was not keen on trading down, going most of his GM career without ever doing so, the Panthers not making a push for Herbert has led to QB chaos.
  • After the Panthers determined Bridgewater — a preference of former OC Joe Brady — would be a one-and-done in Charlotte, they made a big offer for Matthew Stafford. Negotiations between new Panthers GM Scott Fitterer and Lions rookie GM Brad Holmes at the 2021 Senior Bowl led to Panthers brass leaving Mobile believing they were set to acquire Stafford, Fowler notes. It is interesting to learn how far the GMs progressed in talks, because Stafford made it known soon after he did not want to play for the Panthers. The Rams then came in late with their two-first-rounder offer, forcing the Panthers and others to look elsewhere.
  • Rhule then pushed hard for Darnold, Fowler adds, after Panthers staffers went through film sessions evaluating he, Carson Wentz and Drew Lock. The Panthers sent the Jets second-, fourth- and sixth-round picks for the former No. 3 overall pick and picked up his guaranteed $18.9MM fifth-year option. Owner David Tepper begrudgingly picked up the option but became irked by the 2023 cost hanging over the franchise, per Fowler. Tepper is believed to have held up this year’s Mayfield trade talks in order to move the Browns to pick up more money on his option salary. The delay was connected to the Panthers already having Darnold’s fifth-year option to pay.
  • Tepper’s main prize during this multiyear QB odyssey, Deshaun Watson, was leery of the Panthers’ staff uncertainty, Fowler adds. All things being equal between the four finalists — Atlanta, Carolina, Cleveland, New Orleans — the Panthers were not believed to be Watson’s first choice. The Falcons were viewed as the team that would have landed Watson if the Browns did not make that unprecedented $230MM guarantee offer.
  • Fitterer offered support for a Mitch Trubisky signing this offseason, according to Fowler, who adds the team never engaged in extended talks with Jimmy Garoppolo‘s camp. While Garoppolo said the Panthers were in the mix, the team was believed to be leery of his injury history. Trubisky is in Year 1 of a two-year, $14.3MM deal. While Trubisky may well be available again in 2023, the Panthers — having added six draft picks from the Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson trades — will be connected to this year’s crop of QB prospects.

Colts Rumors: Saturday, Ryan, Fields, Rivers

The Colts made headlines on Monday when the team decided to fire head coach Frank Reich, naming former center Jeff Saturday the interim head coach for the rest of the year. The decision to appoint Saturday drew widespread surprise as Saturday has no former NFL coaching experience.

Team owner Jim Irsay defended the decision even claiming that Saturday could remain head coach beyond the 2022-23 NFL season, according to ESPN’s Stephen Holder. General manager Chris Ballard claimed that the Colts attempted to bring Saturday into the league coaching circle in 2019 as an offensive line coach and approached him about a position this year, as well. Saturday has reportedly served as a consultant for the team, with Irsay contacting him as recently as Sunday during the team’s loss to the Patriots to inquire about blocking issues, according to Zak Keefer of The Athletic.

Here are a few other rumors concerning the Colts:

  • In response to former Colts head coach Tony Dungy‘s recent accusations that the team benched starting quarterback Matt Ryan in order to stay within the boundaries of an injury guarantee in Ryan’s contract, Irsay attempted to set the record straight, according to Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. Irsay insisted that there are no playing time guarantees in Ryan’s contract. “There’s no such thing,” Irsay claimed. “There’s no bonus if Matt plays a certain amount of time.” If such an incentive does exist, it has not been reported.
  • Mishandling the revolving door of quarterbacks in Indianapolis was a factor that led to Reich’s dismissal, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. Breer posits that, instead of going after former quarterback Carson Wentz, the team should have moved up to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, something he reports “was a very real consideration for Ballard and Reich early in the process.” The team instead selected Michigan pass-rusher Kwity Paye, allowing the Bears the opportunity to move up and select Fields. The Colts would later trade Wentz away to Washington after one season.
  • One of the other quarterback situations that didn’t work out in the long run for Indianapolis was the signing of Philip Rivers in 2020. According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, Ballard signed Rivers expecting the veteran to lead the team’s offense for multiple years. Although Rivers did take the Colts to the playoffs, he retired after one season with the team, leading the Colts to make more moves for Wentz and, eventually, Ryan in the years to follow.

Commanders Place QB Carson Wentz On IR

Carson Wentz‘s broken finger will force him to miss at least the next four weeks. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Commanders have placed their starting quarterback on injured reserve.

[RELATED: Commanders Name Taylor Heinicke Week 7 Starting QB]

Rapoport notes that there’s hope Wentz can return to the lineup when first eligible. The veteran QB will be allowed to return from IR in Week 11 against the Texans, meaning he’ll miss the Week 10 MNF matchup against his former team, the Eagles.

Wentz suffered a fractured finger in his throwing hand last Thursday, an injury that ultimately required surgery. The veteran was initially given a return timeline of four to six weeks, but Wentz expressed interest in playing through the injury. That clearly didn’t end up being the case; the QB was already ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Packers, and the Commanders are now putting him on the shelf for the three following games, as well.

Wentz has been inconsistent during his first season in Washington. The 29-year-old has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,489 yards, 10 touchdowns, and six interceptions, although seven of those scores came in the first two weeks. Wentz and the Commanders offense struggled again in Week 6, with the QB only completing 12 of his 22 pass attempts for 99 yards. Coach Ron Rivera made headlines prior to that Week 6 victory when he attributed the team’s place in the NFC East standings to the “quarterback” position, although he later walked back those comments and defended his role in the team’s decision to acquire the QB from Indy.

As our own Adam La Rose previously pointed out, Wentz’s absence could end up impacting the draft picks that the Commanders sent to the Colts. The 2023 third-rounder sent to Indy will convert to a second-rounder if Wentz plays in 70% or more of the Commanders’ snaps this season. Wentz can still hit that mark if he misses four games, but the Commanders would barely have more than a game’s worth of wiggle room remaining.

Taylor Heinicke, who is in his third season with the organization, will take over under center. He dressed for only one regular season contest in 2020, but he made a name for himself in the playoffs in a one-score loss to the eventual Super Bowl champions. That landed him a two-year extension laden with playing-time incentives. He started all but one regular season contest he appeared in last year, going 7-8 and completing 65% of his passes. Washington is also rostering fifth-round rookie Sam Howell.

Commanders Name Taylor Heinicke Week 7 Starting QB

Carson Wentz‘s first season in the nation’s capital has been put on pause due to the finger injury he suffered during the team’s Week 6 game. He has since undergone surgery, but is facing a multi-week absence. His immediate replacement was confirmed on Tuesday.

Head coach Ron Rivera named Taylor Heinicke Washington’s starting quarterback for Week 7 against the Packers. That comes as little surprise, given his experience with the team and the total lack thereof regarding the alternative, rookie Sam Howell“We think he’s on track,” Rivera said of Howell, “but Taylor right now gives us the best opportunity to be successful” (Twitter link via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post).

Heinicke, 29, is in his third season with Washington. He dressed for only one regular season contest in 2020, but made a name for himself in the playoffs in a one-score loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. That landed him a two-year extension laden with playing-time incentives.

He started all but one regular season contest he appeared in last year, going 7-8 and completing 65% of his passes. His 6.9 yards per attempt average and 20:15 touchdown-to-interception ratio left plenty to be desired, and made Washington a key player in the offseason QB market. They made a sizeable move in trading for Wentz, but it was made clear after the draft that Heinicke would remain his backup.

Howell will dress as the QB2 on Sunday, after being inactive for the first six weeks of the campaign. The 22-year-old burst onto the scene at North Carolina, throwing 38 touchdowns as a freshman in 2019. After a successful sophomore season, his passing numbers took a step back in 2021, though he added 828 yards and 11 scores on the ground. He ultimately fell to the fifth round – joining a number of other passers in April’s underwhelming class on Day 3 – setting him up for what the team hopes will be a strictly developmental season.

In a depth move to in the wake of Wentz’s absence, the Commanders also signed Jake Fromm to the practice squad, per a team announcement. The former Bills draftee started twice for the Giants last year, and recently worked out with the Dolphins amidst their QB injury woes. A decision on whether or not Wentz will be placed on IR, meanwhile, is expected to be made later this week, reports CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson (Twitter link).

Commanders QB Carson Wentz Facing Extended Absence

8:59pm: The seventh-year quarterback underwent successful surgery Monday, and’s Jeremy Fowler notes (via Twitter) he is expected to require roughly four weeks to recover. The Commanders have not yet determined if they will place Wentz on IR. Such a move would sideline Wentz for a minimum of four games.

2:32pm: Carson Wentz suffered a fractured finger in his throwing hand on Thursday, and he is facing a lengthy absence as a result. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports (via Twitter) that the Commanders quarterback has a recovery timeline of four to six weeks, meaning an IR placement is in consideration.

Wentz initially expressed an intention of playing though the injury, but that will not be possible along this return schedule. Being placed on IR would force him to miss at least four weeks, and Rapoport adds that surgery is also a possibility at this point (video link).

The 29-year-old was limited to just 99 passing yards during Washington’s win over the Bears, one which saw the team’s offensive struggles continue. On the season, Wentz has totaled 1,489 yards while completing 62% of his passes, along with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. His performance in Week 3 led to questions about a potential benching, but head coach Ron Rivera was quick to shoot those down.

Rivera then made further headlines by naming “quarterback” as the reason the 2-4 Commanders lag behind the rest of the NFC East. Walking back those remarks, he defended his role in the team’s decision to trade for Wentz during this offseason’s volatile QB market. The Commanders took on the remainder of his contract in full as part of the swap, one which is due to pay him over $53MM in non-guaranteed money after this season.

Also of note in this situation is the conditional nature of one of the picks Washington sent Indianapolis as part of the trade. The team’s 2023 third-rounder will convert to a second-rounder if Wentz plays in 70% or more of the Commanders’ snaps this season – something which would be put in serious jeopardy if he misses an extended period. Assuming he misses at least the next two contests, this news also means that Wentz will not be available for Washington’s trip to Indianapolis in Week 8.

In the absence of the former No. 2 overall pick, Washington will turn to veteran backup Taylor Heinicke – who has a history of extended play both in the regular and post-season with the team. Their next option on the depth chart is fifth-round rookie Sam Howell.

Carson Wentz Suffered Fractured Finger

Carson Wentz was spotted nursing his throwing hand during Thursday’s win over the Bears, and it sounds like the Commanders QB suffered a legitimate injury. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), Wentz suffered a fractured finger in his throwing hand. Specifically, Wentz fractured his ring finger, tweets Rapoport.

The quarterback will travel to Los Angeles to visit a hand specialist and “determine the next step.” While Wentz’s status moving forward is currently up in the air, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets that the player is hopeful he’ll be able to play through the injury.

Wentz was in the news prior to the game. When asked why his NFC East foes were having more success this season, Ron Rivera answered “quarterback,” a response that later required an apology from the Commanders head coach. Wentz didn’t do much to quiet the critics on Thursday night. While he played through a biceps tendon strain (and, apparently, a fractured finger), he completed a season-low 54.55 percent of his passes for only 99 yards.

The 29-year-old had a strong start to the season, tossing seven touchdowns across his first two games. Since then, he has three TDs vs. three interceptions, with the Commanders going 1-3 over that stretch. An ESPN report from earlier this week stated that owner Dan Snyder was the one who pushed to trade for Wentz, which only added to the narrative that Rivera wasn’t supportive of his starting quarterback. However, the head coach was quick to fire back on that report following TNF.

“Everybody keeps saying I didn’t want anything to do with Carson, well, bulls—,” Rivera said (via ESPN’s John Keim). “I’m the f—ing guy that pulled out the sheets of paper, looked at the analytics, watched the tape when we were at Indianapolis, OK? And that’s what pisses me off, ’cause the young man doesn’t deserve to have that all the time.”

If Wentz was forced to miss time, Taylor Heinicke would likely get the call at quarterback. The 29-year-old got 15 starts for Washington in 2021, helping guide the team to a 7-8 record. The Commanders are also rostering fifth-round rookie Sam Howell.

NFC East Notes: Wentz, Cowboys, Collins

Although Carson Wentz scrutiny has intensified over the past two seasons, he has not missed time due to injury in that span. But the Commanders quarterback will be playing hurt for the time being. Wentz is battling a right biceps tendon strain, according to Tom Pelissero of, who adds this issue injected some doubt into the seventh-year quarterback’s availability against the Bears on Thursday night. Wentz will play and hope he can improve during Washington’s upcoming mini-bye.

Wentz, who has thrown 10 touchdown passes this season, ranks 24th in QBR going into Washington’s Week 6 game. Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Another player who has dealt with a litany of injuries, Jason Peters may return to action sooner than expected. A chest injury was rumored to affect the 40-year-old lineman’s status for multiple weeks, but after going through practice Wednesday, Peters declared himself “ready to roll” for Sunday night’s Cowboys-Eagles tilt (via The Athletic’s Jon Machota, on Twitter). Peters practiced in a limited capacity to start the week. He has played in two games with Dallas, seeing his Week 4 snap count (34) rise from his Cowboys debut (22). Peters has rotated in with both Connor McGovern and Matt Farniok at left guard this season.
  • Dalton Schultz aggravated the knee injury that forced him to miss Week 4. The franchise-tagged Cowboys tight end returned to action in Los Angeles but left the game due to his PCL issue flaring up, Pelissero tweets. While this is a bit concerning, Pelissero adds no new damage occurred. Schultz still has a chance to play against the Eagles. Schultz got in a limited practice Wednesday. Like fellow tagged tight end Mike Gesicki, Schultz has not made much of an impact this season. He will enter Week 6 with nine catches for 80 yards and no touchdowns.
  • Landon Collins initially left the Giants after Washington blew him away with a six-year, $84MM offer in 2019, but the veteran defender said he wanted to stay in New York. “I would have definitely loved to be here. It sucked,” Collins said, via the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz, of leaving New York three years ago. “I honestly wanted to stay but [former GM Dave] Gettleman didn’t want me here. Had to take my chances somewhere else.” The Giants, who drafted Collins under a previous regime, did not submit an offer to the former second-rounder on the way out. Collins, who caught on with the Giants’ practice squad last week, is not expected to be activated this week, per Schwartz. But the Pro Bowl safety-turned-linebacker is ramping up toward a near-future hybrid role. Collins, 28, said he wants to retire with the Giants. His 2022 play will determine how realistic that prospect is.

NFC East Notes: Peters, Cowboys, Smith, Commanders, Staff, Wentz, Eagles, Giants

Tyler Smith‘s transition from training camp left guard to September left tackle has changed the Cowboys‘ plans regarding Jason Peters. After viewing him as a swing tackle who could step in if Smith struggled, Peters worked at guard in his Dallas debut Monday. The plan is now for Peters to exclusively play guard, Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus notes. Monday’s 14-snap guard cameo represented Peters’ first in-game foray at a non-left tackle spot in over a decade. The Cowboys limited Peters’ workload due to only four practices working at guard, Kyed adds. An uptick should be expected in Week 4. It will be interesting how the Cowboys use Peters when Connor McGovern returns from his high ankle sprain; McGovern has missed the past two weeks. The team’s approach with Tyron Smith now becomes more intriguing as well, with the All-Pro left tackle not ruled out for the season. But Tyler Smith, who has always been viewed as the Cowboys’ left tackle of the future, has seized the blindside gig.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Eagles wrapped their Carson Wentz reunion with a nine-sack performance, shutting down the Commanders in a Week 3 rout. One of the reasons Wentz played just two seasons on his 2019 Philadelphia extension was his reluctance to play within the confines of Doug Pederson‘s system, Tim McManus of writes. Being stripped of in-game freedom irked the former No. 2 overall pick during his final Eagles season, McManus adds. Wentz audibles were an issue in Philly’s disastrous 2020 campaign, which saw him benched for second-round rookie Jalen Hurts. The Eagles, who traded Wentz to the Colts for first- and third-round picks, no longer have any dead money on their books from that transaction. Hurts will become extension-eligible in January; the Commanders remain committed to Wentz as their starter.
  • The Commanders are looking for a new COO. Greg Resh, who had worked in that role for just more than a year, left the organization recently, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington tweets. Resh left the team for a non-NFL job in Baltimore. This obviously comes at a rocky point for the franchise, which has seen owner Dan Snyder in Congress’ crosshairs. Resh is the 13th high-ranking Washington exec to leave the team over the past 18 months, Peter King of NBC Sports notes.
  • Former Buccaneers wide receiver/return specialist Cyril Grayson visited the Commanders, Adam Schefter of tweets. The Bucs waived Grayson with an injury settlement earlier this month. A former sprint standout at LSU, Grayson has bounced around the NFL since 2017. The 28-year-old speedster caught 10 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns last season.
  • Giants cornerback Rodarius Williams is eligible to return from IR next week. The 2021 sixth-round pick is recovering from knee surgery, according to The Athletic’s Dan Duggan (on Twitter). Williams dealt with a bone-spur issue during training camp, but Duggan adds he is moving well and could be ready to return in Week 5. The Giants would need to use one of their eight IR activations to bring Williams back.