Can Carson Wentz be a Fantasy Stud in Indy?
By: Jason Gold
Welcome to Indianapolis, Carson Wentz! The Colts and Eagles struck a deal for the former No. 2 overall pick on Thursday morning. In return for Wentz, the Eagles will receive a 2021 3rd round pick and a conditional 2022 2nd round pick that is likely to end up being a late 1st round pick.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news:
Philadelphia has agreed to trade Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick that could turn into a first, league sources tell @mortreport and me.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 18, 2021
For The Colts …
This represents the first time the Colts have had a “franchise” Quarterback since Andrew Luck retired. Indianapolis has thoroughly explored the trade market and made an offer to the Lions for Matthew Stafford. In the end, they end up with Wentz, who reunites with his former offensive coordinator, Frank Reich.
Reich was the OC for the Eagles when Wentz turned in a near MVP season for Philly when the team ended up winning the Super Bowl with Nick Foles. If anyone can get Wentz back to looking like he did that season it’s the Colts head coach.
Wentz will enter a pretty great situation in Indy. The team has a fantastic defense, great coaching staff, an elite offensive line and some nice playmakers. It is a far better situation than the one he’s leaving in Philly.
The Colts have a stellar running game with Jonathan Taylor and a offensive line headlined by Quinten Nelson, the best left guard in football. With T.Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman, Wentz has a couple of nice receivers and Indy will likely add some more weapons for him.
Chris Ballard, the Colts GM, had to give up a decent amount of draft capital to get Wentz and the team takes on a pretty large contract, but they clearly believe that reuniting Wentz with Reich will be a successful marriage. If Wentz is anything close to what he was a couple of years ago, the Colts are true Super Bowl contenders.
For The Eagles …
In order to trade their former franchise QB, the Eagles have to take on the biggest dead cap hit in the history of the NFL. In return they get a 3rd rounder this year and a 1st rounder in 2022 if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps this season for Indy. That’s not a small return, but it’s not even close to the haul the Lions got for Stafford.
The Eagles will now move forward with Jalen Hurts as the starter. Hurts played well in relief of Wentz and showed he is capable of winning games in the NFL. Whether or not he’s an elite QB in the NFL remains to be seen, but he’s clearly a valuable fantasy piece going forward.
Rumor has it that the Eagles are telling other teams that they will have an open QB competition and Hurts isn’t guaranteed to be the starter. In other words, they are open to picking a QB with a 6th pick in the 2021 draft. Ya, okay. That’s called a leverage play. The Eagles are going to try to build an offense around Hurts and will likely be in the market to trade the 6th pick to a team that wants to select Zach Wilson, Justin Fields or Trey Lance.
The Eagles have to get playmakers for Hurts and build an offensive line that will protect him in the pocket. If Philly ends up picking a 6th overall, they’ll likely take a top offensive lineman or a pass catching playmaker like Ja’Marr Chase, Devonta Smith or Kyle Pitts.
The biggest winners from a fantasy perspective are the QBs: Wentz and Hurts. Wentz is back to being an established starter and joins a team with an elite offensive playcaller and some good weapons. He should have real value in fantasy this season.
Hurts, now that he is the clear starter, will likely be a top 6-8 fantasy QB in 2021. It remains to be seen what sort of offense the Eagles build around the former 2nd round pick, but the blueprint is something similar to what the Ravens built for Lamar Jackson. Hurts isn’t as elusive as Jackson, but that offense would be a good place for the Eagles to start.
If they do implement a similar system, another big winner here could be Eagles RB Miles Sanders. Think about what Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins were able to do playing along side a mobile QB like Jackson.
The Colts pass catchers and running backs shouldn’t see much of a change on their fantasy outlooks going from Philip Rivers to Wentz, but if the Colts bring in a dynamic tight end like Hunter Henry in free agency, that could be a position to target. Wentz absolutely loves tight ends (see: Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedart).
All in all, this is another fun QB trade and turns the Colts in a Super Bowl contender and starts the rebuilding process in Philly.
For the NFL, this is also excellent. The more NBA style trades the NFL sees, the better.