The NFL’s 2021 quarterback spin cycle hit one other gear Thursday, information rising that the Philadelphia Eagles had agreed to trade Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in a deal that had been extensively anticipated following Philip Rivers’ retirement in January.
Indy fills what looks like its perennial gap underneath middle, whereas Philly picks up two draft picks, per experiences, to speed up a rebuild within the aftermath of a four-win season and last-place end in what was a putrid NFC East in 2020.
Though Wentz certainly will not be the final QB to wish a change of deal with card this 12 months, he ought to command headlines for the subsequent few days – so no higher time to look at who’s getting the very best and worst of this transaction.
Wentz: He wanted to start out contemporary coming off the worst season of his five-year profession. He plummeted to profession lows in completion share (57.4%), QB score (72.8) and passing yards per recreation (218.3) in 2020 whereas tying for the league lead with 15 interceptions and absorbing an NFL-worst 50 sacks whereas the Eagles spiraled from perennial contender to a crew tanking in Week 17 whereas Wentz watched in avenue garments.
Now he is reunited with Colts coach Frank Reich, who was Wentz’s offensive coordinator throughout his first two years in Philly, together with the 2017 season when he appeared on monitor to win league MVP honors till a torn ACL in Week 14 prematurely ended his means to contribute for the eventual Super Bowl champions. Wentz and Reich are additionally bonded by their Christian religion – and it ought to assist Wentz figuring out Reich nonetheless has religion in him coming off a marketing campaign when he repeatedly made poor choices on the sector and appeared to be affected by a confidence disaster.
Jalen Hurts: A second-round decide in 2020 who changed Wentz within the lineup to start out the ultimate 4 video games, Hurts presumably enters 2021 because the Eagles’ new starter. As is usually the case with rookie passers, Hurts was persistently inconsistent – however he did make some spectacular throws for a crew devoid of frontline receivers and brings a working aspect to the desk that can take Iggles followers again to the times of Randall Cunningham and Donovan McNabb. Hurts ran for 3 touchdowns and averaged almost 70 yards together with his legs in his 4 begins. Still, it is going to be noteworthy to see what new Philadelphia head coach Nick Sirianni, who was simply plucked from Reich’s workers, desires to do. He’s spent a lot of the final decade efficiently collaborating with pocket passers like Rivers, Andrew Luck and Jacoby Brissett and might foyer for one more given the Eagles choose sixth total within the upcoming draft.
Chris Ballard: Seemingly in scramble mode ever since Luck’s gorgeous retirement in the course of the 2019 preseason, the Colts GM has capably stuffed his seemingly annual pothole as soon as once more. A 12 months after signing an getting old Rivers in free company, Ballard seems to have discovered a longer-term answer in Wentz, who, per ESPN, will price the Colts a 2021 third-round draft decide and a conditional 2022 second-rounder that might escalate to Round 1 primarily based on how a lot Wentz performs in 2021. Ballard will lose a bit of the cap area he so deftly accrues by taking over the rest of Wentz’s four-year, $128 million extension. Still, for a loaded Colts crew in any other case constructed to win now – a tiebreaker price them the AFC South crown in 2020, after they barely misplaced at Buffalo within the wild-card spherical – Ballard has shrewdly answered his largest offseason query with out giving up something near what the Rams had to surrender for Matthew Stafford.
Lions GM Brad Holmes: While juxtaposing the Wentz freight, Detroit’s new personnel boss seems extra intelligent than ever for extracting three draft picks, together with two first-rounders, from the Rams in trade for Stafford. Ballard and Holmes each willingly accepted questionable contracts – the Lions are actually liable for Jared Goff’s – however Holmes raked in fairly a bounty to take action.
49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo could possibly be the subsequent quarterback who finds himself with a one-way ticket. Ballard’s transfer shrinks the availability aspect of the vet QB equation whereas additionally establishing a pleasant framework for what San Francisco GM John Lynch would possibly ask from potential suitors.
Teams searching for QB assist in April: The 2021 draft might characteristic as much as 5 passers within the first spherical – golf equipment just like the Jaguars, Jets, Falcons, Panthers, Bears and Patriots all probably available in the market. Ballard’s transfer means these organizations have one fewer succesful competitor to take care of.
Rookie QBs: This 12 months’s incoming class of passers now learns that what was most likely essentially the most attractive opening underneath middle league-wide has closed – although Ballard certainly would have needed to climb out of the twenty first spot to get one in all them. Welp, fellas, higher probability now that Bill Belichick could possibly be your first boss out of faculty …
Bears: Widely perceived to be the Colts’ major opponents for Wentz’s providers, a crew that made an sudden dash to .500 and the NFC’s last playoff berth in 2020 should return to the drafting board because it seems to improve from Mitchell Trubisky, who’s headed totally free company, and Nick Foles.
Trubisky: Indianapolis appeared like a fairly good various for him, too – a possible alternative to resurrect his profession underneath Reich’s tutelage whereas enjoying with a significantly better supporting solid. Hard to see the No. 2 decide of the 2017 draft returning to Chicago … although it is equally arduous to foresee him enjoying anyplace as an unchallenged starter in 2021.
Brissett: Luck’s alternative in 2019, when he began 15 video games, any faint hopes Brissett retained that he could be restored atop the Colts’ depth chart are dashed. With free company forward, perhaps he will get a shot in Chicago or New England. But it appears extra probably he returns as Indianapolis’ backup.
Titans: They cut up with the Rivers-led Colts in 2020, however a greater total file in AFC South video games gave Tennessee the division title despite the fact that Indianapolis had an identical 11-5 file. Rivers’ retirement briefly made the Titans appear to be runaway favorites for one more first-place end in 2021. That appears far much less probably now.
Eagles: They rid themselves of an albatross contract and a participant who had change into problematic not 12 months after orchestrating a outstanding run to the NFC East crown (following a 5-7 begin) because the presumed face of the franchise for years to return. Still, GM Howie Roseman most likely took one thing within the vary of 60 cents on the greenback to maneuver Wentz coming off his worst 12 months, and has to suck down a file $33.8 million cap hit whereas absorbing the useless cash from Wentz’s signing bonus. Roseman additionally most likely has a a lot greater query at quarterback now than he did final month, even when this transfer was nearly definitely incumbent. But a crew that simply had a three-season streak of playoff appearances snapped most likely wants to return to grips with the very fact it might not return for a while.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis
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