Should Commanders have let QB market settle before trading for Carson Wentz?
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Commanders have a new quarterback in Carson Wentz. Some fans understand the front office was backed into a corner and others are still reckoning with why it jumped the gun on the wildly inconsistent signal caller.
Based on their previous history of whiffing on big-name QBs, the Commanders likely felt pressured into trading for Wentz after they came up empty-handed after offering Seattle three first-round picks for Russell Wilson.
The Commanders were also said to have checked in on Aaron Rodgers, but we all know how unlikely that was. For Rodgers, it was either stay in Green Bay or get traded to Denver. After Wilson got dealt to the latter, the two-time reigning MVP predictably signed a monster extension with the Packers.
That begs a pertinent question: was Washington justified in pouncing on Wentz as early as they did or should they have exercised patience and let the quarterback market settle and unfold before appointing their next starter?
Did the Commanders jump the gun by trading for Carson Wentz?
There’s two schools of thought here. On one hand, the Commanders didn’t want to risk losing out on another bidding war for a star QB.
Deshaun Watson would have filled that bill and then some, and Washington reportedly conducted due diligence on the three-time Pro Bowler. In fitting fashion, he became available for trade just days after Washington acquired Wentz.
Last Friday, a grand injury declined to indict Watson on the lawsuits filed by 22 different women who accused him of sexual misconduct. Before you could even blink, Watson waived his no-trade clause for Cleveland 24 hours later.
By default, that made Baker Mayfield available. Though he comes with baggage and a vibrant personality, it’s worth arguing if the former No. 1 overall pick would have been a more worthwhile investment for Washington than Wentz.
While you could argue Wentz is more talented, Mayfield is only 26 years old and will earn just $18.585 million on his fifth-year option next season. That number pales in comparison to Wentz’s whopping $28 million cap hit for 2022.
It’s obviously easy to say in hindsight, but maybe the Commanders jumped the gun by acquiring Wentz in this regard. On the flip side, though, could they really have expected Mayfield to become available? They can’t predict the future and Cleveland was committed to Baker at the time of the Wentz trade.
Furthermore, the Browns weren’t viewed as a Watson suitor at the time. The entered the sweepstakes extremely late and didn’t get over the finish line until they offered Watson a contract the Falcons weren’t willing to match.
In turn, the Falcons’ aggressive pursuit of Watson ended their long-standing marriage to Matt Ryan, who has since been traded to the Colts for a third-round pick. That begs the question of whether the Commanders overpaid for Wentz (a likely second- and third-round pick) to ensure they made an upgrade.
There’s so many variables to consider, but the Commanders reportedly passed up a handful of quarterbacks to net Wentz. At the end of the day, we’re happy with Wentz, but we understand fans who have qualms with the front office’s impulsiveness to fill the QB hole as soon as humanly possible.
Sure, Watson and Ryan were likely unattainable, but Mayfield might feel like the one that got away for Washington. The good news is Wentz’s contract (like Baker’s) makes it easy for the Commanders to dump him for nothing while saving cap space in the process if things don’t go according to plan in 2022.