Troy Aikman: Commanders 'Last Opportunity' for Carson Wentz to Be Franchise QB

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 17, 2022

ASHBURN, VA - MARCH 17: Quarterback Carson Wentz of the Washington Commanders is introduced at Inova Sports Performance Center on March 17, 2022 in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman believes the stakes couldn't be higher for Carson Wentz as he approaches his first season with the Washington Commanders. 

During an ESPN media call Tuesday, Aikman said the Commanders represent Wentz's "last opportunity ... to prove that he can be a franchise quarterback in the NFL."

"I'm hopeful that he's able to take advantage of that," the Dallas Cowboys legend said. "Looking forward to that matchup between those two teams. But this is kind of a defining season, I think, for Carson Wentz and what his future is going to look like."

After leading the NFL in interceptions (15) and sacks (50) in 2020, Wentz's performance improved in 2021. He threw for 3,563 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Although his 209.6 yards per game were a career low, that was partially by design as Jonathan Taylor amassed 1,811 yards on the ground.

The Indianapolis Colts washing their hands of Wentz, however, showed how they viewed the 29-year-old.

"Wentz's play, inconsistent as it was to close the year, wasn't the deciding factor," The Athletic's Zak Keefer reported in March. "Colts brass simply didn't trust him to be the franchise quarterback moving forward, and they weren't willing to bring him back in 2022 and hope for better."

Aikman's assessment is probably one shared by many fans.

Wentz isn't getting any younger, and the further he gets from his 2017 Pro Bowl season, the harder it becomes to believe there remains some level of untapped potential.

Starting in 2023, his contract will provide little in the way of job security too. He'll count for $26.2 million against the salary cap in 2023 and $27.2 million in 2024, but that money would all become cap savings in the event the Commanders cut him. In effect, this could be a one-year experiment for Washington.

If Wentz finds himself looking for another team next offseason, simply getting a starting gig might become a challenge.