Whether you truly believe them or not is beside the point, but the Washington Commanders have publicly committed to Sam Howell as their starting quarterback heading into the 2023 offseason and NFL Draft. That leaves former Eagles and Colts QB Carson Wentz likely headed for a divorce with his most recent franchise. Taylor Heinicke, who split time with Wentz off and on as the Commander’s starter, is also set to his free agency with an expiring contract.
Wentz is set to move on from his third team in three seasons, and this comes just one year after Washington traded a second and two third round picks to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for Wentz, a second rounder, and a seventh round selection. It’s a far fall from grace for the former 2017 MVP front runner, and it’s unlikely any team would commit to him as a starter in 2023 when there are a number of other options available in free agency.
Perhaps Wentz could join the Los Angeles Rams as a high-ceiling backup to Matthew Stafford? His career has been linked to the Rams from the very get go, so why not let it come full circle?
The Rams traded up for the number one overall selection in the 2016 draft - the same offseason they relocated from St. Louis. Los Angeles chose Jared Goff with that pick, and Wentz went number two overall to the Philadelphia Eagles (who had also traded up for a QB).
But while Goff’s NFL career struggled to take roots under head coach Jeff Fisher in 2016, Wentz flashed the mobility and tools that made him such an exciting prospect. In 2017 Wentz accumulated 3,296 yards, 33 touchdown to just 7 interceptions, and a traditional passer rating of 101.9 in 13 games before tearing his ACL against the (you guessed it) Rams.
The Eagles went on to defeat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LVII with Nick Foles replacing the MVP front runner, and Wentz’ career in Philly took a downward spiral from there. The Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts in the second round of the 2020 draft, and he grew into the starting role by season’s end.
Wentz and the Rams became linked again when the Colts were in the market for a new starting quarterback in 2021 after the retirement of Phillip Rivers. While there were rumors that Aaron Rodgers could be available, the only bonafide signal caller truly on the market was Matthew Stafford. Reportedly the Colts were interested, but the Rams made an aggressive offer to the Detroit Lions that sealed the deal.
Effectively the Colts were forced to settle for Wentz and reunite him with since-fired head coach Frank Reich.
Why it makes sense for the Rams:
It feels unlikely, if not almost impossible, that Matthew Stafford plays a full 17-game schedule plus the potential of another four post-season games in 2023. After a year of speculation surrounding a lingering elbow issue, reportedly multiple concussions, and a concerning spinal cord contusion, the Rams will need to manage Stafford’s workload and need an insurance policy in place he misses an extended amount of time.
Baker Mayfield could be the right man for the job, but after a couple of solid performances under Sean McVay this past season there might be a team out there that views him as a starter next year. The bottom line is that the Rams must improve over John Wolford and Bryce Perkins in 2023. The parity is too high in the NFL and the margin is too thin to lose games because of your backup quarterback, and some seasons it may end up being the difference between a playoff berth and being left on the outside looking in.
Wentz still flashes the tools that made him such a coveted player in 2016 and an MVP front runner in 2017, but he can also be reckless running with the football and in regards to turnovers. He needs someone to reign him in, and McVay might be the man for the job after he helped Stafford balance aggression and patience during the Rams’ 2021 Super Bowl run.