NASHVILLE — Carson Wentz was traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday. Nothing about this acquisition should affect the Tennessee Titans efforts to repeat as winners of the AFC South in 2021.
Only Tennessee and Indianapolis in the division have a set plan at quarterback for this coming season.
While the Titans are far from flawless, Wentz to the Colts does truly affect the balance of power. Philip Rivers stopped through Indy for one season and helped get a competent, sound football team into the 2020 postseason. Rivers retired after his team stalled out in the Wild Card round against the Buffalo Bills and thrust an organization ready to compete into uncertainty.
The Colts organization thinks it is a quarterback away from contention. But, does Wentz seem like a substantial upgrade?
Carson Wentz has potential…but that’s it
Wentz was a superstar in 2017. Nothing on the field in the last three years indicates he’s anywhere close to that MVP-caliber form.
Per Pro Football Reference, Wentz boasted a 7.5 touchdown percentage against an interception rate of only 1.6% in 2017. The only other quarterbacks to do so in a single season are Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson.
Wentz still resembled that same player when Philadelphia traveled to Tennessee the following season. The Titans bested the Eagles in a 26-23 overtime thriller, but Wentz, fresh off of an ACL tear still appeared to be a promising NFL player. Wentz suffered four injuries in four NFL seasons coming into this year.
The result was a 2020 version of the former Philly signal caller that led the NFL in both sacks, interceptions and bad on-field decisions.
Wentz’s last game with the Eagles saw him go down as a healthy scratch.
What makes sense for the Colts still benefits the Titans
Tennessee’s AFC South foe to the North did not give up all that much, despite the player’s issues.
Schefter reported that the Colts gave up a 2021 third-rounder and a conditional second-rounder in 2022. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo expanded upon that, pointing out that the conditional second becomes a first next season if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps or 70% if the team makes the playoffs.
Indianapolis coach Frank Reich was with the Eagles when the quarterback was drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in 2016. Wentz had his best season with Reich as his offensive coordinator in 2017. The two collaborated for a season that saw Wentz throw Philly franchise-record 33 touchdown passes.
Trading for a player that comes with a $24.5 million cap hit, however, still hinders the Colts and helps the Titans maintain an advantage. Indianapolis still has about $50 million in salary to spend this offseason but has more holes to fill this offseason than they did on the 2020 team. Needs at left tackle, edge and cornerback leave two areas of strength (offensive line and defense) more vulnerable than the year before.
Tennessee still has their own issues to correct. Titans GM Jon Robinson will have his most important offseason coming in his sixth year at the helm.
Unless Reich is a bonafide quarterback miracle worker, however, the most recent version of Wentz poses no threat to Tennessee in the AFC South.
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