Three Carson Wentz Free Agency Destinations
Carson Wentz was cut by the Washington Commanders today after spending one season with the team. There were zero people on the planet surprised by this move; the Commanders save $26 million against the cap by ditching Wentz and there is no dead cap penalty. For a guy who got benched in favor of Taylor Heinicke and was owed $41 million over the next two years, it was maybe the most obvious move in football history.
Is the former No. 2 overall pick's career over? Probably not. Wentz has looked absolutely terrible over the last three years. He can't kick his turnover habit and can't even put up good stat lines anymore. He's just a bad quarterback. But there is always room on NFL rosters for backups who have seen the field in meaningful moments. I can almost guarantee there is at least one team out there who believes it can fix Wentz. He's been horrific recently but it wasn't all that long ago that he was considered a budding star.
Now without the burden of a huge contract, Wentz is in the revive-career phase of his life. He can choose to go wherever he wants in order to maximize his football future, no holds barred.
Who could take him on? Here are a few landing spots for Wentz.
San Francisco 49ers
At this point, the best version of Wentz we can imagine is basically Jimmy Garoppolo with a stronger arm for deep balls. Going to play under Kyle Shanahan -- the man who made Jimmy G -- is a pretty good idea if that's who Wentz wants to be. San Fran is probably content with letting Brock Purdy and Trey Lance battle it out, health willing. But perhaps no team understands the value of an experienced backup more than the Niners after the NFC Championship Game debacle. There would probably be interest on both sides here -- Wentz can throw his hat into the starting quarterback battle (which he should not and will not win) and the Niners get a cheap reclamation project who has at least been on an NFL field if things go to hell again.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are currently planning on starting Kyle Trask, so why not take a flier on Wentz? The worst-case is that he stinks, Trask gets a confidence boost by beating out a veteran in camp, and the team has added depth at quarterback. The best-case is that Wentz turns out to be better than Trask and gives Tampa a chance to win every week, which is enough to inspire visions of postseason play thanks to how terrible the NFC South is. The Bucs are kind of stuck with a bunch of high-priced veterans who will likely play a little too well to tank for a good quarterback, so they should be considering all options to help contend this year. Everything we've seen from Wentz recently suggests he does not do that, but the Bucs should find out for themselves.
This will be the meme response to Wentz getting cut by the Commanders but it does make perfect sense for a guy in his spot. He is more talented than any other quarterback in the XFL. He can sign with a team and earn game reps to showcase any improvement he might've made. Or at least play well against lesser competition to the point where some GM watching from home will convince himself that Wentz can be fixed (a vicious cycle, that). It reads like a bad sports movie but maybe this is what the former No. 2 pick needs -- a low-pressure environment where he can just sling the rock and no one really cares if it ends up in the other team's hands. This doesn't feel likely for this year given the XFL season has already started and Wentz won't want to risk injury in case an NFL team really is interested in free agency. But if the spring, summer, and fall pass without the phone ringing it could happen. My bet is we'll see Wentz in a Dragons uniform.