The Los Angeles Rams are signing Carson Wentz to backup Matthew Stafford but the veteran quarterback could have a more important role with the team: Bridge quarterback.
Better late than never. Wentz really feels like a no-brainer here. This move comes during a bye week after the Rams wrapped up their pre-bye week schedule with a devastating loss to the Packers 20-3. In that game, the Rams saw a defense that was not willing to quit no matter what and an offense that felt dead in the water from the start. Brett Rypien got the start and L.A.’s offense had one of their worst days ever under Sean McVay.
This is a move that I personally have been clamoring for since the team placed fourth round pick Stetson Bennett on the Non-Football Injury/Illness list.
Many, including myself, had expressed the concern of starting Rypien and how catastrophic the end result could be. This game alone was enough for the Rams to make a move to sign the former 2nd overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, Carson Wentz. The Rams passed on Wentz and drafted California quarterback Jared Goff number one overall. The crazy thing is that Wentz suffered a torn ACL that derailed his MVP campaign in his second season against none other than the Rams.
If you think about it there's not a better fit for Carson Wentz than the #Rams. They currently have zero QBs after Stafford on the roster, they will draft at least one guy and maybe look in UDFA or a spring league like the XFL or USFL for one but Wentz would be the best backup… pic.twitter.com/hqsSvsRUWe— JAKE ELLENBOGEN (@JKBOGEN) March 29, 2023
Fast-forward to now and Wentz is set to potentially even start for the Rams should they hold Matthew Stafford out for an extra week against the Seahawks. The fascination with this move is the fact it’s similar to last year’s Baker Mayfield waiver claim that gave Rams fans something to feel excited about towards the end of the season. However, this move comes when the team is much healthier than they were last season and it’s a soon-to-be 31-year old who was out of the league this year instead of a 27-year-old who started games before this.
Carson Wentz in his last 24 starts:— JAKE ELLENBOGEN (@JKBOGEN) October 30, 2023
62.4% / 5,318 YDs / 38 TDs / 16 INTs / 89.6 RTG
Matthew Stafford in his last 24 starts:
64.7% / 6,029 YDs / 35 TDs / 24 INTs / 88.7 RTG
Not saying Wentz is better but we need to stop acting like he wouldn't be a massive upgrade over Brett… pic.twitter.com/2cMd3mR6pe
The Rams have their back up they can potentially win games with in 2023 but the more intriguing part is what he could mean for the future. The Rams did draft Bennett to be their franchise backup and add stability. However, with Bennett, there’s a question as to whether he comes back or not at all. Wentz is 31 and again, out of the league currently, even if he plays well I don’t see a team in a supposed historical or generational quarterback draft paying Wentz top dollar to start or be the backup. That’s why I think this move is just much more than an 8-game stability move, it’s potentially a long-term backup or even a bridge starter post-Stafford.
Baker Mayfield was 27 when the #Rams claimed him off of waivers. That was still plenty young enough to get him a starting job and a decent payday. The Rams are in position with Wentz about to turn 31 where they could seriously have their longer term backup or even bridge QB if…— JAKE ELLENBOGEN (@JKBOGEN) November 7, 2023
Is this crazy? Maybe. Except maybe its not. Wentz has arguably had a better last 24 games than Stafford’s last 24. In 2021 with the Colts, Wentz threw 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. It wasn’t perfect but that was Wentz’s best season since 2019. He went to Washington last year and started seven games, his head coach at the time Ron Rivera threw him under the bus and the offensive coordinator Scott Turner was fired after the season. Maybe it wasn’t all Wentz?
Hear me out. Remember Ryan Tannehill? Tannehill was dead in the water in Miami. The Tennessee Titans acquired him to be the backup to Marcus Mariota. Tannehill eventually became their bridge franchise starter for the team. Tannehill in 2019 took over for the Titans after Mariota started the season 2-4. Tannehill led the Titans on a 7-3 run and sent them to the playoffs where they got all the way to the AFC title game. That was only his first year and he didn’t start it as the starter. Tannehill since coming over to the Titans has a 66.4 completion percentage, 13,959 yards passing, 91 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. Sure, the Tannehill era in Tennessee appears to be over with Will Levis taking over but his 2019-2022 run as the team’s starter had him over a 100 passer rating, a 36-19 record and brought stability to the position that the team needed.
Ryan Tannehill since he became a starter (Wk 7 2019):— PFF (@PFF) October 19, 2020
92.0 grade (2nd)
40 passing TDs (1st)
8.6 yards per attempt (1st) pic.twitter.com/465XwdgUwu
Is Wentz going to be Tannehill? It’s not a guarantee. However, he has the tools, he knows the system as he worked with Jon Gruden in the offseason and boy oh boy does he have the weapons. Has Wentz ever had this much talent at his disposal? Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, Tutu Atwell, Kyren Williams and Tyler Higbee? That’s pretty darn good to me. Perhaps we have looked at this all wrong. Perhaps the Rams are going to focus on 2024 as an opportunity to win again with Stafford, perhaps 2025 is when they draft their quarterback and if that’s the case perhaps Wentz is that bridge quarterback like Tannehill who can get the Rams through a quick post-Stafford era as they move onto the next guy.
Or perhaps, Carson Wentz was always destined for Los Angeles and he ends up being what Kirk Cousins was for the Vikings when they signed him in his early thirties. Could you imagine, Sean McVay turning Wentz into a franchise quarterback? That would be quite the story. As of now, he’s the backup and the reality is that Wentz has an opportunity to reshape his image and his career and the Rams have one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league and should have achieved this feat much sooner.