By STEPHEN WHYNO and MICHAEL MAROT – AP Sports Writers
The Indianapolis Colts are leaving Carson Wentz after one season and sending him to a team he knows from his days in the NFC East.
According to one person with direct knowledge of the situation, the Colts agreed to sell Wentz to the Washington Commanders. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the deal can’t be finalized until the start of the new league year next week.
Washington gets the 47th pick in the draft along with Wentz, sending Indianapolis Nos. 42 and 73 this year, as well as a 2023 conditional third-rounder who may be a second based on Wentz’s playing time, according to another person with direct knowledge of the movement . The person spoke to AP on condition of anonymity as the trade had not been announced.
Wentz, 29, has three years left on his contract with salary caps of $28.3, $26.2 and $27.2 million respectively. The 2016 runner-up overall Philadelphia Eagles spent only the 2021 season with Indianapolis, with the team missing the playoffs 9-8.
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This is the sixth straight year the Colts have had a different Opening Day starter, though Jacoby Brissett took over when Andrew Luck missed the entire season in 2017 and again in 2019 when Luck abruptly announced his retirement in August.
While coach Frank Reich pushed the Colts to take on his former Eagles pupil 13 months ago and continued to support Wentz throughout the season and offseason, general manager Chris Ballard has been less committed. In January, after Indy lost his last two games to miss the playoffs, he said he wanted a quarterback who could play 10 to 12 years, but acknowledged it doesn’t always work that way.
Last week, he told reporters from the NFL Scouting Combine he needed a quarterback he believed could be a long-term fix — before quickly declaring that it didn’t mean he didn’t believe in Wentz.
Ron Rivera obviously believes in Wentz. The move to take on a former face of a division rival is the once-legendary franchise’s latest attempt to shore up a quarterback situation that has been in flux for decades.
Washington has started 12 different QBs since acquiring Kansas City veteran Alex Smith in 2018. That includes Smith, who broke his right leg there in 10 games during his tenure.
The addition of Wentz likely relegates former starter Taylor Heinicke to a contest with Rivera favorite Kyle Allen for the backup job.
Wentz has played against Washington eight times, winning 5-3 with 2,223 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. In six NFL seasons, he has thrown for 3,008 yards, 140 TDs and 57 INTs.
The North Dakota state product has been plagued by injuries for most of his career. Most notably, Wentz tore the ACL in his left knee in 2017, paving the way for Nick Foles to take over the Eagles and lead them to the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.
Washington, which was renamed the Commanders last month, hasn’t won it all since 1991 under Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs. Rivera has been given near-total control of football operations from owner Dan Snyder, who is under investigation after former employees made claims of sexual harassment.
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