The Indianapolis Colts took a swing for a franchise quarterback, reuniting Carson Wentz with his former offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Indianapolis was the longtime favorite to land Wentz, and they gave the Philadelphia Eagles a third-round pick this season and a conditional second-round pick next season to land the Bismarck native.
The second-round pick is conditional based on Wentz’s usage in Indy. It becomes a first-rounder if he plays 75% of the Colts offensive snaps next season, or if he plays 70% of the snaps and Indianapolis makes the playoffs.
Trade rumors have dragged on throughout the offseason, and he was peripherally linked to the Minnesota Vikings. Even though it was evident that Wentz was unhappy with the Eagles, their ownership and general manager Howie Roseman initially said they wanted to proceed with him as their quarterback of the future despite his struggles last season.
Wentz, 28, was drafted second overall in 2016. He made 12 starts last season, throwing 16 touchdowns, 15 picks, and fumbling the ball 10 times. He finished the year with a 49.6 QBR and eventually ceded the starting role to 2020 second-rounder Jalen Hurts.
While this move has major repercussions for the whole league, the Vikings in particular will see impacts of this trade.
The Colts took on the remainder of Wentz’s deal, which includes $59 million in dead money this season. The only potential cap relief is the out in 2022 when they can cut Wentz for $24 million in lieu of paying the $84 million left on his deal.
If Wentz can fetch a third-rounder this year and a potential first-round pick next year despite being one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL this season, Kirk Cousins could get even more. While Mike Zimmer recently said that Cousins is the Vikings’ starter next year, this trade could potentially change that.
While a Cousins trade remains unlikely because Rick Spielman and Zimmer are in win-now mode, if the Vikings wanted to get off of the Cousins contract, now is the perfect time. If they were to deal Cousins this offseason, they would receive significant value while getting his $41 million dead cap next season in his 2021.
Deshaun Watson isn’t coming to Minnesota. Darren Wolfson of KTSP reported that Watson wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause for the Vikings, and worse yet, Stefon Diggs equated his situation with the Vikings to Watson’s current predicament. But Minnesota could use ammo from this trade to move up this year to land one of the quarterbacks not named Trevor Lawrence.
The trade hurts any potential for the Vikings to trade down and acquire draft capital from a team desperate to land a quarterback. I previously theorized that the Colts could trade a good amount of their capital to move up to 14 to land Mac Jones, the last consensus first-round-caliber quarterback. Now that’s off the table.
Perhaps the most important part of this trade for the Vikings is that the Chicago Bears didn’t land Wentz. The Bears were going to attempt to make a play for the former NDSU play-caller to replace Mitchell Trubisky. While it would have been incredibly fun watching the Bears deplete any draft capital they had trying to take a massive risk at quarterback, now they will be forced into making a rash move this offseason to land a QB.
The Eagles may not be sold on Jalen Hurts as the quarterback of the future. They fired former head coach Doug Pederson for benching Wentz and fracturing that relationship beyond repair. While this may seem far-fetched right now, the Eagles could potentially make a play at quarterback in the first round if the player they want falls low enough.
Last year the notion of drafting a quarterback in the second round was surprising given the Eagles appeared to have their franchise guy on the roster, but Roseman said, “We want to be a quarterback factory. When we make these kinds of decisions, we always go to our principles and who we are and what we believe in, and right or wrong, this is who we are.”
If the Eagles balk at taking a playmaker, causing him to slip down the board, the Vikings could either add them to their roster or maximize the value of their pick by trading down.