One of the first quarterback questions of the year has been answered as Carson Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional second-round pick.
The move is one that’s not likely to upset many apple carts in Indiana. Wentz is being given the opportunity to rebuild his status as a top quarterback in the NFL with a team that are fresh off a playoff run last time out. The feeling in the Colts war room must be that Frank Reich, former Eagles offensive coordinator and current Colts head coach, can ignite the player that gave the Eagles the roadmap to a Super Bowl run. That run led to the $128 million contract signed in 2019, that the Colts of course now inherit.
If the stars do align and Wentz finds his former self, then the Colts could be dark horses for a deep playoff run next season. They certainly have a much improved supporting cast for Wentz to work with compared to the injury laden Philadelphia offense and a system that left a lot to be desired. However, this in turn means that Wentz will have to prove that he can lead this team early if he’s to get back in most analysts and fans good graces.
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There are two main takeaways from Thursday’s big trade for the Eagles:
- They were able to get some value for what is a fairly risky contract and a player they were always going to move on from this off season.
- They now have to eat $32 million in dead cap, the highest figure in NFL history, in a year set to see cap space inflation hit hard.
The NFC East outfit will be very glad to have been able to get some draft capital. A third rounder this year doesn’t sound enticing but next year’s conditional second-rounder becomes a first-rounder if Wentz plays three quarters of their snaps next season (or 70% and IND get to the playoffs). Not a terrible haul for a player that was benched and a cert to be sold off with a bad looking contract. However, there won’t be much celebration for Eagles fans. This signifies the starting pistol on what is a long road to recovery. A sub-par roster that is now likely to have to cut well-paid veterans in the off-season as they face a rising cap bill that stands currently at $41 million in the red. Hopefully the promise of Jalen Hurts can be realised and it will soften the blow some what.
The NFL announced that the new floor is $180 million for the upcoming year, with potential rises later. This is a $30 million drop in the expected rise thanks to the pandemic’s impact on incomes in the league. That hole wouldn’t have been enough on its own, but it does compound Philadelphia’s need to balance the books and seek a new approach based on drafting well and bringing in cheaper veterans.
In short: we’ve seen the first big trade of the off-season, yet nothing much has really changed for Indianapolis or Philadelphia today. Expect other quarterback moves to have far greater ramifications for the league as a whole.
Article by Josh Henwood – @jhenwood92