It’s been a wild offseason for quarterbacks in the NFL. I mean, let’s face it — in most offseasons, the movement of one starting quarterback is a seismic event. This year’s tectonic movements are akin to the sinking of Atlantis.
Let’s recap some of the highlights:
- Brady retired, then unretired.
- Aaron Rodgers became the first NFL player to sign a contract valued at $50m per year. His cap hits in 2025 & 2026 are $59m and $53m.
- Russell Wilson was traded to the Broncos
- Deshaun Watson was traded to the Browns and given a 5-year, $230 million deal that is fully guaranteed
- Kirk Cousins signed a one-year, $35m extension with the Vikings
- Jameis Winston returned to the Saints
- Marcus Mariota went to the Falcons
- Baker Mayfield — well, no one is exactly sure where he’ll end up yet, but I imagine we won’t be seeing anymore “At home with Baker Mayfield” commercials hext season
- Mitchell Trubisky is the newest quarterback on the depth chart in front of Dwayne Haskins, this time in Pittsburgh
- Teddy Bridgewater is now a Miami Dolphin
- Tyrod Taylor is now a New York Giant
- Case Keenum will be chasing a ring as a member of the Buffalo Bills roster
- Colt McCoy will be doing the same in Arizona
Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Each week we ask questions of the most plugged-in Washington Commanders fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
Of course Washington entered the fray by agreeing to a trade for Carson Wentz in early March, sending draft picks to Indianapolis after Colts owner Jim Irsay seemingly inserted himself into the team’s football decision-making process and directed the front office to get rid of Wentz just a season after they had acquired him from Philly for a 1st and 3rd round pick.
The initial reaction from Washington fans was...not great.
But, by the time a week or so had passed, fans seemed to warm to the idea, or at least the chill seemed to come off a bit. This seemed to be driven by two factors. The first was seeing what happened with the rest of the QB market. The initial reaction to the Wentz trade announcement was in the wake of disappointment at hearing that Russell Wilson would not be a Commander, but would instead go to the Mile High City to play football. Wentz seemed to be a poor consolation prize. But as other teams quickly firmed up their QB positions with the likes of Winston, Mariota, Bridgewater, and Trubisky, Commanders fans seemed to move through the seven stages of grief at lightning speed.
The second factor was Wentz’s introductory press conference in Washington. It went about as well as it could. Carson Wentz came across to fans as a personable guy. He took responsibility for the Colts’ failure to make the playoffs last year; he patiently answered repeated questions about the recent “downs” of his career, and he talked about wanting to improve as a teammate and leader.
Even the atrocious yellow jacket over a burgundy shirt that he wore (which drew unflattering comparisons to Ronald McDonald, among others) seemed to work for him. It humanized him and showed that he was making a genuine effort to embrace the franchise and fan base from Day 1, and that Wentz didn’t mind giving up a little of his dignity to make that happen.
It all seemed to be moving in the right direction between Commander Carson and the Washington fan base.
And then the news broke on Monday that Falcons long-time quarterback Matt Ryan had been traded to the Colts as Wentz’s replacement.
The Twittersphere exploded. Had the Colts upgraded by getting a better leader and a smarter player? Or, had they gone backwards by trading away a 30-year-old athlete with upside for a 37-year-old signal caller whose best days are behind him?
Some felt the Colts front office, in the form of GM Chris Ballard, had gotten the best of Ron Rivera and his crew. After all, Washington was supplying the Colts with a 3rd round pick this season, which is actually a better pick than the 3rd rounder the Colts traded for Ryan. Next year, Indy will receive either Washington's 2nd or 3rd round pick, depending on Wentz’s 2022 snap count percentage. No matter what, some people argued, the Colts front office made out like bandits.
Others saw the difference in compensation as reflecting the difference in value, with the Commanders paying a higher price for a QB who is 7 years younger than Ryan and who has a higher upside. To these fans, Washington got a better QB with a brighter future, while the Colts settled for an aging veteran who has already started to regress. These fans clearly thought that the Commanders front office had gotten better value than the Colts, despite having given up more draft picks.
Just to be clear, here are the terms of the two deals:
Salary cap impact
And here are the cap hits for the two quarterbacks over the balance of their current contracts:
Over the next two seasons, Carson Wentz will cost the Commanders $54.46m compared to the $53.91m in cap space the Colts will surrender for Matt Ryan — a difference of just $550,000.
One way to look at these contract details is that the Commanders have an extra year of control over the quarterback at a price that is very reasonable (even attractive) in today’s quarterback market.
Of course, that point of view only makes sense if you believe in Carson Wentz as an NFL quarterback.
Click here to vote if viewing on a mobile device.
Take a minute to vote
The results of the poll will be published here on Hogs Haven later this week. In addition, you may want to sign up for the NFL Reacts email surveys that are sent out to Hogs Haven members every week during the regular season and several times during the offseason. Make your voice heard.