Last offseason, the Washington Commanders traded a pair of third round picks to (and swapped second-round picks with) the Indianapolis Colts to bring in Carson Wentz to be their new quarterback.
Almost exactly one year later, the team has announced Wentz has been cut, as the Commanders look to reshape their offense under new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who arrives fresh off a Super Bowl win in Kansas City.
We have released the following players:
— S Bobby McCain
— QB Carson Wentz
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) February 27, 2023
It’s not a surprise they’d move on from Wentz considering his struggles prior to getting hurt and remaining on the bench as Taylor Heinicke tried to push them to the postseason. The move will save Washington a significant amount of money, as he was due a $6.176 million roster bonus soon, along with his $20 million salary for next season.
In releasing QB Carson Wentz, the Commanders clear $26,176,470 in cap space.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 27, 2023
Last year’s fifth round pick, Sam Howell, is on the roster, but with playoff hopes thanks to a strong defense, Washington figures to be active this offseason in upgrading the signalcaller position. The Commanders now join teams like the Falcons, Jets, Colts, Texans, Saints, and Panthers as teams seeking quarterback help, and can now go into this week’s NFL Draft Combine with that fully on their mind. Given they don’t have the draft ammo picking 16th to seem to get into the hunt for the No. 1 overall pick compared to the Colts or even Panthers who pick at 4th and 9th overall this year — unless they want to send out a boatload of future picks — it’s very possible they address their quarterback needs on the free agent market, where one would expect them to get in the mix for the top veterans out there.
Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo are the top names on the market, and while the Jets and Saints are also in the hunt, Washington can provide a pretty strong offer in terms of the team around the QB position. Terry McLaurin is a legit No. 1 receiver, the defense is a very good unit, and Bieniemy is going to be installing a new system, meaning a veteran like either Carr or Jimmy G could see Washington as a viable spot to chase a postseason berth in Year 1. There is also the lingering question of whether Lamar Jackson could hit the trade market, which is likely going to hold up any free agent QB deals getting done until his situation in Baltimore is clarified.
As for Wentz, it remains to be seen how the rest of the league views him. A team like Arizona could be a landing spot as they are preparing to go most of a season (if not a full one) without Kyler Murray and Wentz could be a cheaper stopgap starter on a team that would give him a chance to possibly revitalize his career. Otherwise, he could wait out the QB carousel and try and latch on with a team that misses out on a top pick or a top free agent, but one has to think his value is about as low as it’s ever been.