The Indianapolis Colts were dead set on trading quarterback Carson Wentz this offseason, and they did it on Wednesday, shipping the QB to the Washington Commanders. While fans might be celebrating the move, it doesn’t seem that players like Darius Leonard are.
The star linebacker pointed out the ugly truth about the front office and the team next season. They are now on their fifth starting QB in five years, with not much to show for it.
The Indianapolis Colts traded Carson Wentz after a disappointing season
The Indianapolis Colts has an incredibly simple Week 18 playoff-clinching scenario: Win, and they were in the 2021 postseason.
Then the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team that earned the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, beat the Colts down 26-11 to crush the Colts’ playoff dreams.
That game resulted in the Colts’ front office losing faith in quarterback Carson Wentz. The same group of people — including general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich — who gave the Philadelphia Eagles a first and a third-round pick the previous offseason to acquire Wentz desperately wanted to get rid of him just 18 games later.
On Wednesday, March 9, 2022, the Colts made this a reality, shipping Wentz to the Washington Commanders. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter, the Colts sent their starting QB and a 2022 second-round pick one way, and the Commanders sent back a 2022 second- and third-round pick and a 2023 third, which could become a second if Wentz plays enough next season.
While fans and Colts staff obviously wanted Wentz gone as soon as possible, after the trade, several players — including the team’s best player, Darius Leonard — took to social media to share that they didn’t feel the same way.
All-Pro LB Darius Leonard took a shot at the Colts front office on social media
While Indianapolis Colts fans celebrated on social media for jettisoning the polarizing Carson Wentz, several Colts players expressed frustration with the move.
Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal took to Twitter and posted a poop emoji before writing, “getting old.”
The most concerning call-out came from the team’s best player, though, Darius Leonard. The superstar linebacker just completed his fourth season in Indianapolis. In his brief career. Leonard’s already been a Defensive Rookie of the Year, three-time Pro Bowler, and three-time All-Pro.
He’s also about to start his fifth NFL season with his fifth starting QB, which he seemed none too happy about after the Wentz trade. Before wishing “my guy” Wentz the best of luck in his next stop, Leonard wrote, “Here we go again! About to be 5 years with the Colts and 5 different QBs!”
While it’s admittedly nearly impossible to fully understand tone on Twitter, it certainly doesn’t seem like Leonard is impressed with the Colts brass for failing to keep a starting QB for back-to-back years over the course of his entire career.
Five starting QBs in five years
Darius Leonard’s tweet might be an attack on the Indianapolis Colts front office, but it’s also simply stating facts.
In 2018, the Colts had one of the best quarterback situations in the NFL. Andrew Luck, then 29-years-old, played his sixth season in Indy that year and seemed poised to play at least six more, based on QB longevity these days.
Unfortunately for the Colts, Luck shockingly retired on the eve of the 2019 season, leaving the organization scrambling for a signal-caller. That season, without a full offseason to look for a new QB, the team turned to journeyman Jacoby Brissett to shoulder the load.
Brissett led a 7-9 campaign, and in the 2020 offseason, the Colts tried to upgrade with a more established veteran. The team signed longtime Chargers passer Philip Rivers to a deal. Rivers played well, leading the team to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth.
The Colts lost the playoff game to the Buffalo Bills, and a few weeks later, lost Rivers to retirement.
Next came Carson Wentz. The 2017 No. 2 overall draft pick flamed out — due to injury and personality conflicts — in Philadelphia, and the Eagles shipped him to the Midwest. The 29-year-old QB was good statistically last season with 3,563 yards, 27 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions.
However, the 2021 Colts won with Jonathan Taylor’s running and Leonard’s defense, and Wentz seemed to fail every time the team needed him most.
Now, six months from the 2022 season, the Colts are without a starting QB, and, as Leonard pointed out, all we know is that it will be the franchise’s fifth in five years.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference