The Washington Commanders struck one of the most surprising trades of the 2022 NFL offseason, acquiring Carson Wentz as part of an active quarterback carousel. Many were skeptical of the move at the time, but the Commanders’ front office and coaching staff believed Wentz could turn things around in a new home.
Unsurprisingly, Washington said many of the same things we heard from the Indianapolis Colts in the months after they acquired Wentz. A change of scenery would unlock the former No. 2 overall pick allowing him to return closer to the player who lit up the NFL early in his career. Even if he never returned to that MVP form, Washington thought it could rediscover the quarterback who played at a Pro Bowl level after he recovered from his ACL tear in 2017.
- Carson Wentz stats (2018-’19): 66.2% completion rate, 7,113 passing yards, 48-14 TD-INT, 96.7 quarterback rating
Instead, the Commanders are 1-3 and things are only getting worse with each passing week. While there are still 13 games remaining, the writing is on the wall and it’s an outcome everyone but the front office, coaching staff and devoted fans saw coming.
Here are three reasons why the Carson Wentz trade is already a failure for the Commanders.
Carson Wentz isn’t improving despite third chance
Washington expressed a lot of confidence in its ability to fix Wentz after acquiring him. The organization believed it found its long-term quarterback and the veteran signal-caller said the organization made him feel wanted. Despite everything that happened with the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts, the Commanders’ coaching staff believed it could get the most out of Wentz.
There were already signs of trouble this summer. He struggled with accuracy in training camp with reports detailing the daily bricked passes and bad decision-making from the 29-year-old passer. Washington downplayed it and after Wentz posted a 101 passer rating with four touchdowns in a Week 1 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, he was treated like a franchise quarterback who would save the Commanders.
He is the same quarterback we saw in 2020 with the Eagles and 2021 with the Colts. There are flashes of greatness, single moments during a game that is reminiscent of the MVP-caliber 2017 season. The truth is Wentz is the same player who threw 15 interceptions with a 3-8-1 record in his final season in Philadelphia and he did nothing to correct the issues that led to a 9-4 TD-INT ratio with an 89.0 passer rating and 3-3 record in his final six weeks in Indianapolis.
Philadelphia was desperate to get rid of Wentz because he ignored coaches and who reportedly teammates criticized privately. Landing with Frank Reich, the coach he had the best relationship with, ended badly and Indianapolis soured on him before the 2021 collapse even happened. Two stable franchises both couldn’t fix Wentz, yet Washington believed it could and the results thus far speak volumes.