Colts; Eagles Strike Blockbuster Trade, Sending QB Carson Wentz to Indianapolis for Draft Picks

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    Just when we all thought Chris Ballard and the Colts were done dealing with Howie Roseman in Philadelphia, news of Indy’s second big trade in two offseason emerges. After sending a first round pick to San Fransisco for DT Deforest Buckner last March, Chris Ballard strikes a deal with the Eagles to acquire QB Carson Wentz. This time, Ballard sent Philly a 2021 third round pick (number 84 overall) and a conditional 2022 second round pick in exchange for Wentz. The 2022 second rounder will become a first round pick if Wentz’s playtime is at or above 75% of snaps or if he plays at least 70% of snaps and Indianapolis makes the playoffs.

    Carson Wentz is now reunited with Colts head coach Frank Reich, who was his offensive coordinator in Philadelphia in 2018, the year he was looking like an MVP favorite before his season was cut short by a torn ACL in Week 13. Even without Wentz at the helm, Reich was able to lead the Eagle’s offense to a Super Bowl championship. Indianapolis gets an experienced signal caller with age still on his side. Reich gets his old quarterback back for his own system, who can play a similar role like Andrew Luck’s with Reich. Look for Indy to incorporate more RPO and play designs for a quarterback with mobility into their gameplans for 2021. At 28, Wentz is under contract until 2025. However, Wentz will not come cheap. Indy takes on cap hits between $22 million and $26 million from now until 2025. Regardless, looks like general manager Chris Ballard finally pulled the trigger on his long term quarterback. Ballard also seems to have done an excellent job of reducing the Eagle’s asking price down to a third rounder and a future conditional high pick, and managed to keep Indy’s first round pick in 2021. Indy will no longer be in the QB market this offseason, and will instead likely target left tackle and wide receiver to get Wentz as much help as possible, while also addressing cornerback and edge rusher on the defensive side of the ball. Additionally, don’t be surprised to see the Colts trade back from 21st overall on draft night. Ballard has a tendency of trading back to acquire more picks, and now without a third rounder, a trade back is definitely on the table for Chris Ballard.

    From the Eagle’s side of things, they receive solid return for the guy they spent the second overall pick on in 2016. While they weren’t compensated with a true first round pick, there’s a high likelihood that conditional second becomes a first, with Wentz the early and heavy favorite to start Week 1. Barring any injury (which have been an issue for Wentz at times in his career), Wentz will probably reach the threshold of 3/4 of all snaps next season. Unfortunately, Philadelphia does take on $33.8 million in dead money from the massive contract they gave to Wentz. When it comes to finding a new QB for the Eagles, they did spend a high day 2 pick on Oklahoma and Alabama product Jalen Hurts. But, sitting at 6th overall in the 2021 Draft, Philly could pass on a wide receiver for one of the top quarterback prospects. Names to know for this situation would be Justin Fields from Ohio State, Mac Jones from Alabama, and Trey Lance from North Dakota State, ironically the same school where Carson Wentz attended. If they decide to stick with Hurts, wide receiver is almost a lock for the Eagles at 6, especially with names like Ja’Marr Chase and Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith probably on the board when Philly goes on the clock.

    Overall, both sides have positives and negatives to take away from this trade. Indianapolis seems to finally have found their quarterback to replace Andrew Luck while managing to hold onto this year’s first round pick, while the Eagles get rid of an ugly contract while adding more draft capital for now and the future. But, the Colts do take on a significant cap hit, and Philly did not receive their original asking price of a true first round pick. The 2021 season will be extremely important in finding out who really won this trade, and whether or not either team made a mistake in the process.

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