Is Indianapolis the likeliest trade destination for Carson Wentz?

NFL: OCT 04 Eagles at 49ers
SANTA CLARA, CA – OCTOBER 04: Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws a pass during the NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers on October 4, 2020 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. (Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire)

Barring some crazy turn of events – where Carson Wentz is forced back in, leads the team to the playoffs, and wins a few playoff games – we all know the big talking point around the Philadelphia Eagles is Carson Wentz and his future with the organization. Most assume his future with the Eagles – at least as their starting quarterback – is likely over. Getting out of his contract, though, is a challenge. 

The Wentz contract is a bit of a doozy, and cutting him would eat up a massive portion of the Eagles’ salary cap. Restructuring is not an option either, as his new contract does not even kick in until 2021. That leaves one option – trading Carson Wentz.

Most, if not all teams, will view Wentz as an expensive reclamation project. His numbers have hit career-lows this season, and he seems to have lost the confidence that once made him a favorite to win MVP

He will need to go to the right situation with the money to afford him. Two teams fit that definition in 2021 – the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. Both teams have the money next season to afford Wentz and have a starting quarterback who is a free agent in 2021. 

Bill Belichick and Cam Newton did not have a great season in New England. New England will finish with less than ten wins for the first time since 2002 and – most likely – miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. 

Frank Reich and Philip Rivers are having a successful season together in Indianapolis. The team has above 90% odds to make the playoffs and could win the AFC South for the third time since Peyton Manning’s last season there in 2010. 

Reich and Rivers were together before – back in the San Diego days. The numbers Rivers posted with Reich are some of the best of his career. Reich also worked with Wentz in his career – coaching Wentz to his best season. But are the numbers good enough, and is the relationship between Reich and his former quarterbacks sufficient for a team like Indy to take on Wentz and his massive contract? 

Stat Comparison: Rivers and Wentz with and Without Frank Reich

Philip Rivers Three Seasons with Frank Reich

  • 2013: 4478 passing yards, 32 TDs, 11 INTs, 69.5 cmp%* 
  • 2014: 4286 passing yards, 31 TDs, 18 INTs, 66.1 cmp%
  • 2015: 4792 passing yards, 29 TDs, 13 INTs, 66.1 cmp%

*career-high and led NFL

Philip Rivers Three Seasons After Reich Left

  • 2016: 4386 passing yards, 33 TDs, 21 INTS, 60.4 cmp%
  • 2017: 4515 passing yards, 28 TDs, 10 INTS, 62.6 cmp%
  • 2018: 4309 passing yards, 32 TDs, 12 INTs, 68.3 cmp%

Carson Wentz Season with Frank Reich

  • 2016: 3782 passing yards, 16 TDs, 14 INTs, 62.4 cmp%
  • 2017: 3296 passing yards, 33 TDs, 7 INTs, 60.2 cmp%

Carson Wentz Season without Frank Reich  

  • 2018: 3074 passing yards, 21 TDs, 7 INTs, 69.6 cmp% (11 games)
  • 2019: 4039 passing yards, 27 TDs, 7 INTs, 63.9 cmp%
  • 2020: 2630 passing yards, 16 TDs, 15 INTs, 57.4 cmp% (12 games)

Rivers-Reich Reunion in 2020 

  • 3507 passing yards, 20 TDs, 9 INTs, 68.1 cmp% (through 13 games)

Carson Wentz & Frank Reich Reunion? Stats Unknown 

Stats wise you can argue Philip Rivers’ best season of the last seven years came under Frank Reich (2013). Wentz’s best season (2017) also came with Reich on the coaching staff. However, Wentz and Rivers were both quality starting quarterbacks in two of their three seasons without Reich.

Wentz improved his competition percentage by over 9% (from his last season with to his first season without Reich). His rank also improved from 25th to third overall. Rivers made three straight Pro Bowls from 2016 to 2018. He also posted the season postseason record (1-1) in three years with and without Reich. 

Reich is a great coach, and his tenure in Philadelphia should never be underappreciated. However, his quarterbacks have and have not had success with and without him. Rivers is having success in 2020, reuniting with Reich this season, but no one would say he is one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Wentz should be entering in prime now, but the cost of his contract and the fact not everything is linked to Reich will have the Eagles most likely trade partner unlikely to pull the trigger on a trade. 

Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire