Odds are Carson Wentz goes back to being a backup — but where might surprise you
The days of seeing Carson Wentz suit up as an NFL team’s starting quarterback are likely long gone. After a series of years underperforming for three different teams, Wentz was released by the Washington Commanders. Yes, Wentz’s time in the spotlight may be closed, but his time in someone else’s shadow not named Nick Foles is just beginning. So, who is going to land him? More importantly, what team would make the most sense? Well, if you take a look at the betting odds, the favorites are…the Kansas City Chiefs?
With Chad Henne retired, KC could use an experienced No. 2 QB
According to OddsChecker US, the Chiefs are being given +300 odds, or an implied 25 percent chance, to snag Wentz. But why would they want him? OddsChecker spokesperson Kyle Newman says, “Chiefs longtime backup quarterback Chad Henne just retired. They need a replacement and are likely looking for a high-end one. Wentz fits the bill.” All of that is true, and with the Chiefs’ Super Bowl window still wide open, having a solid backup who could potentially carry the team on a deep postseason run should Patrick Mahomes go down may be enticing, but let’s not forget that Wentz has to share the same feelings.
Is Wentz really ready to give up on the hopes of earning tons more cash as a team’s starter? There has to be some team out there that is still willing to take a chance on him, right? And even if no team is willing to give him starter money, wouldn’t Wentz want the opportunity to prove he’s worth that type of money?
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m just a crazy whippersnapper who doesn’t understand what appeals to a guy like Wentz. That said, there are several other teams listed on Wentz’s odds board that make more sense at a glance. The Atlanta Falcons are being given +700 odds or an implied 12.5 percent chance — tied for the fourth-best odds of any team. They just released Marcus Mariota and look like they are going to roll with Desmond Ridder in 2023. Now, Ridder didn’t look atrocious when given the opportunity to start toward the end of last season. Four games, zero interceptions. Even with only two touchdown passes, the ball control is promising.
There may be options for Wentz to start somewhere
The NFC South is wide open for the taking. The Falcons have one of the younger rosters in the NFL — the sixth-youngest in 2022. Tom Brady is gone. The Saints are in cap hell. The Panthers have zero idea what they’re going to do at quarterback — though they met with Derek Carr — and are heading into 2023 with a new head coach, albeit one with previous head coaching experience already in Frank Reich, a known QB whisperer. Carolina is the most worrisome team given its litany of draft picks and promising finish to 2022, going 4-2 in its last six games. Still, the Falcons’ door to take over the division is open, and you’d think they’d want a serviceable backup capable of leading an offense should Ridder not work out, which is still a huge possibility. That seems like a much more logical conclusion to jump to than “the Chiefs need a backup, so they’re going to get Wentz.”
There are cheaper options out there
Of the many quarterbacks available this offseason, Wentz may be the most expensive of any backup option. The Chiefs are currently in the red when it comes to cap space according to Spotrac. Why would they go for such an expensive option to sit on the bench when guys like Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Case Keenum, Jacoby Brissett, and Taylor Heinicke are all available, are close or superior to Wentz’s talent level, and probably cheaper?
At this point in time, I still believe Wentz can be more than just a bona fide backup. Is he good enough to be a franchise guy? Not at all, but for a team with an unproven commodity at starter, or just looking to keep their head afloat while they peruse through the draft or wait for a big-name free agent to come along, Wentz makes a lot of sense.
What about the Green Bay Packers if Aaron Rodgers leaves?
One team that isn’t even listed on Wentz’s odds that I think makes a lot of sense is the Green Bay Packers. Of course, that’s assuming Aaron Rodgers leaves the team. Obviously, it’s too early to tell whether or not he will remain in Green Bay, but the odds say that it’s more than likely that Rodgers heads to Vegas, New York, or Tennessee. In that scenario, the Packers would obviously turn to former first-round pick Jordan Love. We haven’t seen much of him. If the Packers trust him, awesome, but through two years in the NFL, he’s started just one game, thrown 83 passes, and has as many touchdowns as interceptions. If the Packers want to ensure they continue competing in the NFC North, grabbing an emergency veteran makes sense. Yes, he’s expensive, but their starter in this scenario would still be on a rookie contract, so Wentz’s contract probably wouldn’t do much damage to their cap situation.
While the Chiefs obviously want to grab a second-string signal-caller they can trust and not have to rely on the likes of former seventh-rounder Chris Oladokun or the undrafted Shane Buechele — who some guy on Twitter who describes himself as a bastard in his bio made sure to tell us was active all year so another couldn’t sign him off the practice squad “knowing he’s the future backup” — Wentz seems too pricey for the Chiefs. Given the dire need other teams have at quarterback, I find it much more likely that someone else will be willing to pay the man more than what Kansas City would reasonably offer. While the Chiefs are the favorites, I’d be absolutely shocked to see him on that sideline in 2023.