The Colts have agreed to trade two draft picks for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, ESPN reported Thursday, taking another veteran off the market as the Bears look for their next starter.
The Eagles will receive a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-rounder that could become a first rounder. The 2022 pick improves if he plays three-quarters of the Colts’ snaps in 2021 — or 70 percent and the team makes the playoffs, per NFL Network.
The Bears considered adding Wentz as a reclamation project next year to replace Mitch Trubisky, who is set to become a free agent next month. Now, they’ll monitor a shrinking trade market that features two Raiders quarterbacks, Derek Carr and backup Marcus Mariota and Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. The free agent market is dire, with Trubisky, 38-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick and Cam Newton the top names.
Few, if any, teams were willing to pay the Eagles’ original asking price. When a Philadelphia reporter Tweeted on the night before Super Bowl Sunday that the Bears would offer a package of Nick Foles, Tarik Cohen and a first-round pick for him, the running back actually checked in with Bears management. They told him not to worry about a rumor.
Acquiring Wentz in a must-win season would have been risky for the Bears. He was the worst starter in football in 2020. His passer rating was the lowest of any 2020 quarterback to try 400 or more passes, and the third-worst of any to try 100 throws.
He threw a league-high 15 interceptions despite starting only 12 games. He was benched for rookie Jalen Hurts the last month of the season. One reason the Eagles fired head coach Doug Pederson at the end of the year was the reportedly fractured relationship with Wentz.
He posted a 73.4 passer rating, which was 24.9 points lower than the average of his previous three seasons. Only six quarterbacks have ever had such a dropoff, and four of them retired after their brutal season, per NFL Research. Wentz is the only quarterback under 30 to ever have such a dip.
Wentz has four years and $98.4 million left on his contract — and $47.4 million worth of guarantees over the next two years. After 2022, he can be cut at no cost. The Eagles will have to pay $33.8 million in dead cap money in 2021 by trading him.
Colts head coach Frank Reich was Wentz’s coordinator on the 2017 Eagles. Press Taylor, an assistant whom the Colts added this offseason, was one of his trusted mentors in recent years.
Wentz played for Bears quarterbacks coach/pass-game coordinator John DeFilippo when the latter was the quarterbacks coach for the 2017 Eagles. That year, Wentz was the presumptive NFL MVP before hurting his knee in the Eagles’ 13th game. Foles took over and led the team to a Super Bowl championship.
Foles, whom the Bears traded for last year, was asked in November about Philadelphia fans pining for him amid Wentz’s disastrous year.
”I will say this — my time with Carson, he’s one of the most outstanding players I’ve ever played with,” Foles said. “The guy can do it all. I learned a lot. I think we both learned a lot from our time with one another. Just extremely impressed with him as a player while I was with him. The Eagles have a great quarterback in Carson Wentz. I know the guys in that locker room and the people there, and the most important thing is to just continue to believe in one another.
“Carson’s been there. He knows how to get through all the different situations. I was really impressed with how he handled even last season. Just kept grinding, kept grinding. I know he’s doing it this season as well. He’s got guys there to support him. I know it’s a topic of discussion, but the guy’s one of the most outstanding players I’ve played with in my career.”