Carson Wentz Still Has 105 Million Reasons to Smile After Getting Cut by the Commanders
The collapse of Carson Wentz has been one of the most bizarre storylines to follow over the last few years. Once viewed as the savior of the Philadelphia Eagles, he’s quickly gone from franchise quarterback to middling starter to out of a job.
Yet even though Wentz has to find a new team to play for, it’s not like he needs to.
After all, despite failing to rediscover the magic that made him an MVP candidate by his second season in the league, the No. 2 overall pick from the 2016 NFL Draft succeeded at amassing a sizable fortune before he received his walking papers from the latest employer he left disappointed.
Washington wisely cut ties with Carson Wentz
Although he arrived to the Washington Commanders with the hope of reviving his career, Carson Wentz came up well short in his quest to re-enter the conversation as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Instead of cementing his place as the Commanders’ signal-caller for years to come, the former Eagle gave the front office no choice but to move in a different direction.
The short-lived Wentz era officially came to an end Monday, with Washington releasing the veteran quarterback after a single disappointing season.
Acquired for two third-round picks and a second-round pick swap from the Indianapolis Colts, Wentz posted an underwhelming 2-5 record as a starter for Ron Rivera. Coming off a 2021 campaign in which he threw 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions, he nearly threw the same number of interceptions (nine) as touchdowns (11).
Besides freeing up a roster spot, cutting Wentz helped the Commanders open up much-needed cap space heading into free agency. With $26.17 million coming off the books, they have more financial flexibility to not only pursue a veteran quarterback but potentially work on extensions for homegrown players like Da’Ron Payne and Montez Sweat.
Three NFL teams learned an expensive lesson by banking on Wentz
Whether Wentz lands a starting gig again or not, he shouldn’t have any worries about covering his expenses. Even backup money would be more than enough, given how much he collected over the course of a three-year period in which he went 14-21 as a starter and lost the faith of three NFL front offices.
Just how well did Wentz do off the field?
According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the recently-released QB made $105,198,279 from the Eagles, Colts, and Commanders. Wentz signed a four-year, $128 million extension with Philadelphia in 2019 that, when combined with the two years of his rookie contract, totaled $154 million.
With the Commanders terminating that deal, the 30-year-old signal-caller watched roughly $53 million disappear. Meanwhile, his former team got out of that financial commitment with $0 in dead-money charges, a critical factor that led to Monday’s decision.
Still, the fact the Eagles, Colts, and Commanders shelled out a combined $105 million for a quarterback who struggled with poise and turnovers should serve as a stark reminder about the risk of betting on an injury-prone player tap into his theoretical upside.
Where should the ex-Commanders QB look to resurrect his career?
What does the future look like for a quarterback who will enter his eighth NFL season with an uninspiring 46-45-1 record and little reason to believe in his ability to bounce back from a turbulent three-year stretch?
At this point, it’s fair to wonder whether any NFL team will give Wentz a chance to start in 2023.
However, there might be one landing spot that may offer him one last shot at proving himself: Carolina.
The Panthers desperately need to find an answer at quarterback, and with ex-Eagles offensive coordinator/Colts head coach Frank Reich now in charge, perhaps he’ll extend an olive branch to his former QB. Still, with the way Carolina has handled the position in recent years by going with retreads and reclamation projects, rolling the dice on Wentz would represent another half-measure to finding a true franchise quarterback.
Where else could Wentz look to take his talents?
With Kyler Murray rehabbing from a torn ACL, the Arizona Cardinals need a short-term solution. Plus, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to find a replacement for Tom Brady.
Carson Wentz’s best option, though, might be to hold a clipboard for the 2023 season.
Chad Henne’s retirement leaves the Kansas City Chiefs without a backup for Patrick Mahomes. Spending a year alongside the reigning Super Bowl MVP (and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Andy Reid) would be a valuable, humbling experience for someone who once seemed destined to be the face of the NFL himself.