One year was all it took for Carson Wentz to be voted out of Washington. And by all accounts, it was a landslide.
Wentz, the former second overall pick for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2016 Draft, will be departing his third NFL team in just seven seasons. The Commanders signed him last offseason after he had spent five years in Philly, followed by one more in Indianapolis.
The Commanders finished 8-8-1 (last in the NFC East) with Wentz at the helm, and the QB himself posted numbers that eventually got him benched in favor of Taylor Heinecke late in the year. Despite being considered ‘the answer’ to the team’s signal-calling woes, he went just 2-5 as a starter. Wentz wraps up his tenure in D.C. with 11 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and a meager 80.2 QB Rating.
By opting out of his contract, the Commanders will save $26,176,471 toward their salary cap. That gives the franchise a lot more flexibility this offseason, as Wentz was set to be Washington’s top cap hit in 2023.
For the Commanders, the immediate future should lie in the hands of 2022 fifth-round pick Sam Howell. The rookie out of North Carolina played in exactly one game in 2022 – a week 17 start against Dallas. He threw for 169 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for a score and showed a lot of poise in picking up a 26-6 win over the Cowboys.
With Wentz’s release and Heinicke set to become a free agent, Howell will be the only quarterback remaining on the roster and the handpicked successor for the job.
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Wentz turned 30 years old in December, so his future elsewhere isn’t a guarantee.
With so many veteran QBs playing into their late 30s and early 40s, it’s almost hard to believe that Wentz won’t turn up elsewhere. However, after three failed attempts to guide a franchise, his prospects of becoming a starter soon (or ever again) could be seriously fading.
When the news of his release went public on Monday afternoon, NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky stated that he thought that the well-traveled veteran might be done altogether. That seems hard to imagine. His NFL career actually being over… at an age when most passers are in the middle of their prime.
“I think (Wentz has) one of two options,” Orlovsky said on ESPN’s NFL Live. “Find a team that has a starter that’s a little bit in question, and maybe say, I’m going to go and be the backup. The Miami Dolphins… Tua (Tagovailoa) has a little bit of a history with injuries.”
“The second thing is? Maybe he’s done with football. He’s been beat up a ton; he’s got a ton of injuries. He’s made himself a ton of money. Maybe Carson Wentz decides to leave the game and go live his life outside of football. I think those are one of the two things that can happen,” Orlovsky said.
Carson Wentz will be facing some stiff competition in the quarterback market. A starting situation seems far-fetched for Wentz.
Longtime Raider Derek Carr and former 49er Jimmy Garappolo will be available for teams who are looking to win right away. That’s notwithstanding the top two passers in the draft, Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, also entering the NFL in high-profile positions.
The QB carousel continues to spin all around the NFL. Aaron Rodgers may or may not return to Green Bay for 2023, and let’s also not forget that the annual ‘Tom Brady Return Watch’ should be kicking in again soon.
It’s likely that Wentz will somehow find his way onto a roster in 2023, but it will only be to hold a clipboard and wear a baseball cap. A backup role in 2023 seems what the QB is destined for. At least, for now. Time will tell if he’ll ever get a chance to be a top dog again.
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