Irsay: 'It was very obvious’ Colts had to move on from Wentz originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Regardless of how Commanders fans might feel about the acquisition of Carson Wentz, two things have become increasingly clear in recent weeks: Washington is excited to field the former MVP candidate, and Indianapolis was keen on letting him go.
Washington traded for Wentz after the quarterback spent just one season as a Colt, where he came close to leading the team to the postseason but failed to do so after a Week 18 collapse against a 3-14 Jaguars team. Colts owner Jim Irsay spoke about the team’s decision to ultimately part ways with the QB Tuesday at the NFL owner’s meetings.
“It’s just, for us, it was just it was something that we had to move away from as a franchise — it was very obvious,” Irsay said of the Colts’ decision to trade Wentz, per Zak Keefer of The Athletic,
Wentz’s arrival in Washington was surrounded by a variety of conflicting opinions. On the one hand, it was fairly clear that he was not the Commanders’ first choice to plug the hole they had at QB1. On the other hand, Wentz projects to be a sure-fire upgrade over Taylor Heinicke, given the fact the former just threw for over 3,500 yards, 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions in Indianapolis.
Irsay did add some positive words about Wentz, saying, “Carson is not the scapegoat. He’s a good man and a good father. It just didn’t work out,” per Stephen Holder of The Athletic.
Still, Wentz’s tenure as a Colt was viewed as a disappointment, as he committed two unforgivable turnovers in the team’s make-or-break game vs. Jacksonville in Week 18. Irsay even said he thought the loss “was not an accident” and that it completely took him by surprise, per Keefer.
Irsay went on to say that the shocking loss to the Jaguars led him to have some conversations with the team’s veterans, leading him to the conclusion that “there’s something wrong here … it needs to be corrected.”
However, Wentz held himself accountable for how things ended in Indy, admitting he played poorly during the late-season collapse against Jacksonville.
Irsay went on to say that the Colts were in “a long dark tunnel” at the end of the 2021 season, as they were determined to part ways with Wentz yet had no viable backup option in place. He also revealed his team explored giving up two first-round picks for an unnamed young quarterback, but a deal never crystalized.
Essentially, they chose a roll of the dice over Wentz, and they ended up acquiring Matt Ryan from Atlanta.
News from Indianapolis’ camp about Wentz hasn’t been all bad, though. Just a day before Irsay spoke at the owner’s meetings, Colts head coach Frank Reich had nothing but glowing reviews of his former QB, instilling a sense of optimism for Washington in 2022.
“They’re getting a guy who, physically, is a prototype NFL quarterback. They’re getting a guy who I think can be a top-10 quarterback,” Reich said.
Reich was also Wentz’s offensive coordinator during the 2016-17 seasons in Philadelphia, during which time Wentz led the squad to a Super Bowl title (though he missed the big game with an injury) and came third in MVP voting. Simply put, Reich got the best view of Wentz when he was at his peak, and he thinks the $28 million man can still reach those heights in Burgundy & Gold.