Carson Wentz Rumors: Money 'Not a Primary Motivator' Regarding QB's Future with Colts

Adam WellsJanuary 12, 2022

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) looks for a receiver during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Coming off Sunday's 26-11 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars that ultimately kept the Indianapolis Colts out of the playoffs, Carson Wentz's future as quarterback of the franchise has been a source of speculation. 

Per The Athletic's Zak Keefer, Wentz's salary is "not a primary motivator" as Colts owner Jim Irsay evaluates what he wants to do this offseason:

If the Colts cut Wentz before March 19, they will absorb a $15 million dead cap charge but nothing further. It’s not ideal, especially for a player they swapped a first- and third-round pick for last spring, but the team is expected to have around $50 million in salary-cap space this spring, and that would jump with Wentz off the books before the new league year begins. The Colts can manage, even with a lucrative extension for Quenton Nelson coming, provided they have an avenue available to land another starter.  

Wentz is signed for three more seasons at very reasonable salaries by the standards of starting-quarterback contracts. He is owed $22 million in base salary in 2022, $20 million in 2023 and $21 million in 2024, per Spotrac

The Colts can get out of Wentz's deal after next season without any dead-cap money on the books. 

This offseason could feature a robust trade market for quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo and Matt Ryan are among the players who could be moved. 

Colts head coach Frank Reich had an evasive answer when asked if Wentz would be the team's starting quarterback in 2022. 

"We loved the team we had this year, we knew everyone we brought in this year, we expected to play winning football," Reich told reporters on Monday. "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 and the Colts bet big on Wentz being their long-term answer at quarterback after relying on Jacoby Brissett and Philip Rivers the previous two years in the wake of Andrew Luck's retirement. 

Indianapolis sent a 2021 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2022 pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Wentz in March. The conditional pick became a first-rounder thanks to Wentz playing at least 75 percent of the Colts' offensive snaps this season. 

The moved looked like it would pay off for most of the season. Wentz didn't reach the heights he was at in 2017 with the Eagles, but he was playing well enough for the Colts to look like a dangerous AFC playoff team with a 9-6 record after their 22-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Day. 

In the final two games against the Las Vegas Raiders and Jaguars, Wentz completed 58.9 percent of his attempts for 333 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He was sacked seven times in those games, both Colts losses.

Indianapolis scored a season-low 11 points against a Jaguars team that was coming off a 50-10 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 17. 

Even in some of the Colts' best games this season, Wentz didn't play well. He went a combined 16-of-32 for 163 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in wins over the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. 

Wentz's final-season stat line looks fine with 3,563 yards, 27 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 62.4 percent completion rate. But there were many low moments, capped off by a Week 18 loss in Jacksonville, that have left the Colts potentially looking for a new starter in 2022.