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Ron Rivera on Carson Wentz's Commanders Future: 'Got a Lot More Evaluating to Do'

Erin WalshJanuary 4, 2023

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JANUARY 01: Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders throws a pass during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FedExField on January 01, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Washington Commanders have benched Carson Wentz for Sunday's regular-season finale against the Dallas Cowboys and will allow rookie Sam Howell to get his first NFL start with the team out of the playoff picture.

Wentz's future in Washington is undoubtedly up in the air, though it appears no decision has been made as Commanders head coach Ron Rivera told reporters Wednesday the team has "a lot more evaluating to do" in regards to the veteran signal-caller's status.

The Commanders acquired Wentz in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts ahead of the 2022 season, and Washington is the veteran's third team in the last three seasons following a five-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2016 to 2020.

The 2016 second overall pick was a once-promising quarterback, having finished third in MVP voting and earning a Pro Bowl selection during the 2017 campaign. However, he also suffered a torn ACL during the 2017 season, and he hasn't been the same player since.

After fizzling out with both the Eagles and Colts, the Commanders had hopes Wentz could return to form in a new setting. Washington named the 30-year-old its starter, and he started the team's first six games before suffering a finger injury and being placed on injured reserve.

In those six games, Wentz completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 1,489 yards and 10 touchdowns against six interceptions. The offense struggled, and the Commanders went 2-4 in that span.

Wentz was designated to return from injured reserve during Week 12, but the Commanders opted to stick with Taylor Heinicke as their starter, and he went 5-3-1 before being benched following a Week 16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

The Commanders gave Wentz another shot in Week 17 with the team's playoff hopes on the line, and the North Dakota State product put together his worst performance of the season, completing 16-of-28 passes for 143 yards and three interceptions, in addition to a rushing touchdown, in a 24-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

If Wentz's time in Washington is over, it's unlikely he lands another starting gig in the NFL entering the 2023 campaign, especially with the way he has played over the last several seasons.