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The Indianapolis Colts will soon have to decide between benching their $128 million quarterback and losing a first-round draft pick

Insider
Insider
 2021-11-02
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Carson Wentz.
  • The Colts traded for Carson Wentz in the offseason with hopes of becoming contenders.
  • If Wentz plays 75% of the offensive snaps, the Colts will lose a first-round pick to the Eagles.
  • With the Colts currently caught in the middle, they will face a tough decision in the coming weeks.

The Indianapolis Colts entered the 2021 season with high hopes of bouncing back from a disappointing 2020 campaign and winning their division.

After the retirement of Philip Rivers, the Colts traded for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who needed a change of scenery. The move reunited the former MVP-contender with head coach Frank Reich, Wentz's offensive coordinator during his most productive season in Philadelphia.

But halfway through the 2021 season, the Colts are in a tight spot, thanks to the terms of that trade.

In exchange for Wentz, the Colts traded 2022 third- and second-round picks to the Eagles. However, if Wentz plays 75% of the Colts' offensive snaps this season (or 70% of offensive snaps should the Colts make it to the postseason), that second-round pick becomes a far more valuable first-rounder.

Ideally, the situation would have taken care of itself. Either the Colts would find their stride with Wentz at the helm and happily give up their first-round pick for the brighter future they had ahead, or the experiment would fail, and Wentz would lose playing time due to poor play or injury.

But the Colts are caught in the middle.

With a 3-5 record that already includes two losses to the division-leading Titans, Indy's chances of making the postseason aren't great.

However, every AFC team has at least two losses, and the circular-firing-squad nature of the first half has left the door open for any team to make a run, including the Colts.

With games against the Jets and Jaguars next on the schedule, the Colts jumping in the hunt for a wild card berth in just two weeks is not hard to imagine.

Complicating matters even further is the play of Wentz himself. While he's been far improved compared to the dismal season he put up for the Eagles last year, he's still prone to making the worst turnovers you've ever seen out of an NFL player.

Against the Titans on Sunday - a winnable game - Wentz served up backbreaking turnovers, not once ...

... but twice.

If Wentz were playing like the best version of himself, there likely wouldn't be much thought about keeping him under center regardless of the Colts' record. Wentz is in the first season of a four-year, $128 million extension he signed with the Eagles in 2019.

Should the Colts choose to bench Wentz and preserve their first-round pick in 2022, it feels like a move that they can't come back from. "Hey, sorry, we had to bench you because we think we made a terrible trade to bring you to town, but we still totally believe in you, Carson!" isn't a compelling line.

Conversely, if the Colts stick with Wentz and cannot turn things around, it will come as a double-whammy for the team's future. Not only will they hand over their first-round pick to the Eagles at the 2022 draft, but with every loss, that pick will be higher on the board.

To ensure that Wentz doesn't clear the 75% snap threshold, they'd likely need to sit him out for five games this year. Eagles fans are already tracking Wentz's snap-count with anticipation.

Should the Colts win their next two games as expected and find themselves back in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt, the problem may solve itself before it truly begins.

But if there's another slip-up in Indy's near future, there are some big, awkward decisions that will need to be made quickly.

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Comments / 19

shawn wood
11-04

so glad we unloaded Wentz of on you all... hahahahhaha was the only thing Howie Roseman did right for the Eagle's Franchise... your front office needs to keep the rise colored glasses on just long enough for us to get the first round pick in 22'... Being fair Wentz was thrust into playing too soon. more seasoning would have done him better, he's a great guy off the field. best of luck.

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4
Constable Bob ?‍♂️
11-04

I’ve been hearing for years how great he’s supposed to be and I just don’t see it. The Colts should be able to go 3-5 with a much cheaper QB.

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3

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