One of the biggest choke jobs in recent NFL history belongs to this season's Indianapolis Colts. Despite starting the year 1-4, all they had to do was beat the visiting Las Vegas Raiders in Week 17 or win at the atrocious Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18 to earn a playoff spot. Of course, Indy lost both and quarterback Carson Wentz seems to be taking most of the blame. His future could be in doubt and SportsLine offers NFL odds on his future with the team.
Losing to the Raiders, one can somewhat understand, but that 26-11 loss in Jacksonville was an epic collapse. Wentz was not good, completing 17-for-29 for 185 yards with a TD, pick and lost fumble – those turnovers led to 10 Jaguars points. To be fair, Jacksonville also fairly bottled up NFL rushing champion Jonathan Taylor to the tune of 77 yards on 15 carries.
Coach Frank Reich, who apparently will keep his job despite that colossal failure, didn't commit to Wentz for 2022 following the loss; remember, it was Reich who got the best out of Wentz when the two were with the Eagles.
"Next year's roster will be next year's roster. I don't want to open it up about one player and then start talking about all of them," Reich said when asked specifically of Wentz.
When Indianapolis was knocked out of the playoffs in Buffalo last season, Reich was asked the same question about former Colts QB Philip Rivers and said: "As I sit here right now, yes, I want Philip Rivers to be my starting quarterback next year."
Wentz finished as the No. 13-rated QB in the NFL (94.6), completing 62.4 percent of his passes for 3,563 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven picks. Sold numbers, and the 29-year-old had a better rating than the likes of Derek Carr, Josh Allen, Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Jackson. Wentz's DVOA was 16th in the NFL at +1.8 percent, just above league average.
Because Wentz played 75 percent of the Colts' offensive snaps this season, Indianapolis owes the Eagles the 16th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on top of the 2021 third-rounder it sent to Philly in the trade for the QB. The Eagles used that third-round pick in combination with their own first-rounder to move up in last year's draft and select wide receiver DeVonta Smith, who had a fine rookie season.
Wentz has three years left on a four-year, $128 million contract with a dead cap hit of $15 million in 2022, which actually isn't terrible for a quarterback. Indy is projected to be at least $53 million under the 2022 salary cap and would save around $13 million by releasing Wentz. March 19 is a hugely important date as $7 million of Wentz's 2022 salary becomes guaranteed then and that's also when Wentz is due a roster bonus of $6.29 million.
GM Chris Ballard said this today about Wentz: "At the time, we felt (trading for Wentz) was the right decision. I'm not going to make a comment on who is going to be here next year and who is not. … You've got to have stability at the QB position, and he has to play up to his potential."
That the Colts don't have a first-round pick seemingly takes them out of the potential sweepstakes for Russell Wilson. Indy also doesn't have a Wentz replacement on the roster currently. Andrew Luck clearly isn't unretiring if you saw him on the national championship telecast. The best likely free-agents QBs: Teddy Bridgewater, Cam Newton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton. Are any of them an upgrade on Wentz?
The likely scenario is Wentz stays put and is the Week 1 starter, but that Indy perhaps uses a second-round pick or trades into the back half of the first round to select a QB to groom. The Colts do host the Eagles next season, so that would be fun if Wentz is the starter.
Colts 2022 opponents:
- Home -- Titans, Texans, Jaguars, Chiefs, Chargers, Eagles, Washington and Steelers
- Away -- Titans, Texans, Jaguars, Cowboys, Broncos, Raiders, Giants, Patriots and Vikings
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Will Carson Wentz be with the Colts Week 1 next season?
- Yes -170
- No +120
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