The NFL’s 2021 offseason has its next big trade. After the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams already exchanged their starting quarterbacks — Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff — in late January, two other teams have made agreed on a move involving a starting-level QB: the Indianapolis Colts have acquired Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen.
Wentz was on his way out of Philadelphia after the team selected Jalen Hurts in the second round last year, and eventually gave the rookie increased snaps along the way. Wentz appeared in 12 games over the course of the 2020 season but did not see the field after a 6-for-15 performance in Week 13 versus the Green Bay Packers.
Now, he has been shipped to Indianapolis to reunite with his former offensive coordinator and current Colts head coach Frank Reich. In order to acquire Wentz, Reich’s team agreed to send to draft picks to the Eagles: a third-round selection this year as well as a conditional second-rounder in 2022 that could turn into a first-round pick if Wentz hits certain playing time thresholds (75 percent of snaps or 70 percent plus the Colts making the playoffs).
With the former first-round draft pick — the Eagles traded up to select him second overall in 2016, one pick after the aforementioned Jared Goff — now gone, another quarterback has left the market. This, in turn, could be significant from the New England Patriots’ perspective: the team is in the market for an upgrade at quarterback as well.
While Wentz was never seen as a realistic target, the cost associated with the transaction will certainly be a point of reference for other teams planning to make a trade at the game’s most important position. The Patriots, who struggled to move the ball through the air in 2020 behind new starting QB Cam Newton, are certainly among the candidates to make such a move.
Other than that, the Wentz trade will have very limited impact on New England — with one exception: the Patriots are scheduled to play the Colts in Indianapolis during the 2021 regular season. There is a realistic chance that they will meet Wentz, who completed 20 of 40 throws in his lone game against the team in 2019: Wentz passed for 214 yards and a touchdown but was also sacked five times as the Eagles fell 17-10.