Colts Said 'They Would Prefer Anyone over' Carson Wentz in Trade Talks, Says NFL Exec

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 25, 2022

ASHBURN, VA - JUNE 16: Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders participates in a drill during the organized team activity at INOVA Sports Performance Center on June 16, 2022 in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

After trusting Carson Wentz as their starting quarterback in 2021, the Indianapolis Colts were looking for any other option this offseason.

"They were telling us they would prefer anyone over him," an NFL executive told Mike Sando of The Athletic.

Wentz was placed in Tier 3 in a vote of league personnel for the top quarterbacks in the NFL, tying with Jalen Hurts for 20th overall. The same executive explained the low ranking:

"The only reason I'm this strong against him is that is my evaluation from watching him play. But adding information of what the team that is with him on an intimate level on a daily basis, by going from having Wentz to having none, zero, that tells me that my evaluation of him from afar matches the evaluation internally. If Carson Wentz was not a first-round pick, would he be in the league right now?"

The Colts traded Wentz to the Washington Commanders in exchange for a 2022 third-round pick, a conditional third-rounder in 2023, and a swap of 2022 second-round picks that moved Washington up five spots.

It came one year after Indianapolis traded a 2021 third-round pick and what eventually became a 2022 first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Wentz.

Indianapolis eventually found a quality replacement in Matt Ryan, but it wasn't even known if he was available when Wentz was traded. The team instead had Sam Ehlinger on top of its draft chart for several weeks after dealing away last year's starter.

Wentz has produced quality numbers in his career, most notably in 2017 when he was an MVP candidate with the Philadelphia Eagles. He finished last year with 3,563 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

His 94.6 quarterback rating was 13th in the NFL among qualified players, and it was the fourth time in six years he had at least a 90 rating.

The Colts were still a disappointment last season, missing the playoffs with a 9-8 record. Wentz was a big part of the team's inconsistency, especially struggling in the final two losses as the squad fell short of the postseason. He tallied only 185 passing yards on 17-of-29 passing in the Week 18, 26-11 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the season on the line.

Indianapolis needed a fresh start and got it by dealing away Wentz.