Quarterback Carson Wentz and the Washington Commanders are sitting at home watching the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles take part in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday.
Washington closed up shop on an average 8-8-1 season just over a month ago and seems to be several tiers behind Philadelphia in the NFC East right now.
Whether Washington is able to turn it around in 2023 remains to be seen. But it won’t be with Wentz under center.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Washington is expected to release the former No. 2 pick this offseason.
This is not necessarily an earth-shattering surprise. Commanders head coach Ron Rivera just recently opened up about their quarterback situation from the site of the Super Bowl in Arizona this past week. He didn’t even mention Wentz as a possibility. Instead, Rivera made it clear that 2022 draft pick Sam Howell will start the off-season program as Washington’s QB1.
“The biggest thing we decided is he will start out as QB1. He will most certainly get the first opportunity. We go into OTAs and minicamp, he’ll be QB1. He’ll fight for that position. We’ll give him every opportunity to earn it, and we’ll see what happens when we get into training camp and through it,” Rivera on Commanders quarterback situation.
Washington acquired the 30-year-old Wentz from the Indianapolis Colts last offseason. It ended up dealing a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and what turned out to be a third-round selection this coming spring. It did not go well for the embattled quarterback and his soon-to-be former franchise.
Related: Top 2023 NFL free agents
Carson Wentz now viewed as a mere backup QB
- Carson Wentz stats (2022): 62.3% completion, 1,755 yards, 11 TD, 9 INT, 80.2 QB rating
Wentz posted a 2-5 record in seven starts. Other Commanders quarterbacks were 6-3-1 when starting. That just goes to show us how much he struggled in his first season in Maryland.
As for what releasing Wentz means from a financial standpoint, Washington would save a whopping $26.18 million against the 2023 salary cap without a dead cap hit. It seems to be a no-brainer.
Rivera noted in the aforementioned interview that Washington is not going to break the bank in finding an upgrade at quarterback during the offseason. That likely means a stopgap veteran or someone to compete with Howell for the starting job.
Once Carson Wentz hits the free-agent market, the expectation has to be that he’ll be seen as nothing more than a backup himself. What we’ve seen from the former Pro Bowler over the past three seasons compared to earlier in his career makes this the most-likely scenario.
The No. 2 overall pick of the Philadelphia Eagles back in 2016, Wentz threw 97 touchdowns against 35 interceptions for a 92.7 QB rating over the course of his first four seasons. Since then, he’s thrown 54 touchdowns and 31 interceptions while boasting a 14-21-1 record in stops with three different teams.