Commanders trading back in first round would complete Carson Wentz trade

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAR 01: Ron Rivera, head coach of the Washington Commanders speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAR 01: Ron Rivera, head coach of the Washington Commanders speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Washington Commanders have made a trade! Carson Wentz is officially a Commander, and it comes with some changes to the 2022 NFL Draft for Washington. The Colts will receive pick No. 73 in the 2022 NFL Draft, a conditional third that can become a second in 2023 if Wentz plays over 70% of snaps, swap second-round picks with Washington this year, and send a 2022 seventh-round pick to the Commanders.

Washington also took a hit to their cap space by taking on all $28 million of Carson Wentz’s salary for this season, but the contract carries no guaranteed salary next year. The attention for Washington now turns to their draft plans.

The Commanders should consider trading back in the first round after acquiring Carson Wentz.

Up until now, I along with many others believed that the No. 11 overall pick was guaranteed to be the future at QB for the Commanders. Washington is banking on Wentz this season and my thoughts now turn to Washington flipping the 11th overall pick to make the Wentz deal A LOT sweeter than we think. Maybe Washington is playing chess not checkers, and I believe I see the plan.

With the QB1 situation figured out, Washington has now positioned itself to trade back in the first round with a team that still has a need at QB in a draft of limited quality starting QB prospects, and acquire some extra draft picks in doing so.

The remaining teams still in dire need of a QB are Carolina, Seattle, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay. The free agent market for quarterbacks is sizzling out and all that remains are Deshaun Watson (pending legal charges), Jimmy Garoppolo, Jameis Winston, and Mitch Trubisky, so teams must look to the NFL Draft next.

Carolina and Seattle are the first two  teams that can take a QB at picks 6 and 9, but my attention goes to the Saints at 18, and the Steelers at 20 who are trade-up candidates. Yes, the Saints would love to re-sign Winston, but with Sean Peyton gone Winston might seek a new location and possibly a reunion with the Bucs. The Panthers may try to build their offensive line in the first round, and Seattle is interested in Watson, which might make a QB fall a couple of spots to 11. If you want “your guy”, you have to make sure you go get them.

I spoke to Malik Willis at the Senior Bowl who mentioned Coach Tomlin spending extensive time with him at the Senior Bowl, and showed a lot of interest in the QB.

If Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis last until pick 11, the Steelers will be calling, and the Saints will be at the phones as well if they lose Winston in Free Agency. Could staying put at 11 be tempting for Washington if a guy like CB “Sauce” Gardner, or a top WR are available?

Absolutely, but in a draft this deep, there would still be a top WR along with many other options for Washington available if you trade back which I will discuss in a later article. The more enticing option would be what would come out of trading back to the 18-20 range.

I look back at prior NFL Draft trades similar to what this would be, and the one that stands out the most is the Cardinals trading the 15th overall pick, a third-round pick, and a fifth to trade up to pick 10 with the Raiders to snatch Josh Rosen (yikes).

Washington could trade back to 18 or 20 and expect to receive a third- and fourth-round pick, which could mean retaining back a third-round pick traded for Wentz this year, and the fourth possibly coming next year.

The Saints hold two fourth-round picks this year (118 and 136), and might be more willing to trade away their 2022 third-round pick. If the Steelers trade their 2022 third-round pick they would still have their second (pick 52) and their fourth (pick 137) this year to build their team after drafting their QB.

Washington would then have many options to consider in the 2022 NFL Draft with a slate of picks again. The Commanders would have a first this year still (pick 18 or 20), pick 47 in the second round, recover a third back this year (84 or 100), a fourth, a sixth, their seventh, and a seventh from the Colts to round out the draft.

Washington could still be in a great position to draft a quarterback his year if they wanted one to sit for a year, or build a team around Wentz and take a QB next year if he doesn’t work out with no financial loss in releasing him.

That Carson Wentz trade isn’t looking nearly as bad as we thought now is it? If this plan goes accordingly, Washington would’ve picked up Wentz by technically only paying his contract this year, turning next year’s third-round pick into a fourth-round pick, and receiving a seventh this year.

Yes, many Washington fans rushed to be disappointed in the trade package, but there’s still so much more left to be discovered heading to the 2022 NFL Draft that could turn into Washington finally doing something smart with a plan in place.

Related Story. How Wentz trade impacts Commanders' 2022 salary cap. light