In an NFL Combine media session Tuesday at the Indianapolis Convention Center, Colts’ general manager Chris Ballard addressed the team’s failure to secure a playoff berth at the end of the 2021 season. Unsurprisingly, this led to questions about Carson Wentz’s future with the franchise.
When asked if the team wanted to stick with the QB, Ballard said, "Not saying we don't, but in the long-term best interest for us, as we sit down and work through whether Carson's the long-term best answer or not is the best way I can put it… We're not there yet. I'm not there yet. And that's something that we'll talk about as a group and move forward. Whatever decision we make will be the best one for us."
Ballard sounds like a lover scorned, and who can blame him? The Colts were at the 1-yard line, and they couldn’t finish the drive.
Naturally, fantasy owners likely see “we’re not there yet,” and begin to wonder what the future could be for the other playmakers in Indianapolis should the Colts choose to move on from Wentz.
But before we speculate, let’s look at a few key facts:
- Wentz is guaranteed $15 million with his current contract for this year. The Colts don’t have a first-round draft pick (they gave that to the Eagles in return for Wentz), and there isn’t a great free-agent QB pool.
- Indianapolis ended the season 9-8 with Wentz throwing for 3,563 yards and 27 passing touchdowns. All in all, Wentz did what the Colts needed him to do: open up the run game for Jonathan Taylor.
Behind a strong offensive line and with Wentz under center, Taylor had a breakout sophomore season, rushing for 1,811 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns. Taylor had 10 100-yard rushing games and five two-plus touchdown games, including a monster five-touchdown game vs. the Bills – a top defense -- in Week 11. The Colts went on to win all but one of those 10 games.
In total, Taylor accumulated 2,171 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns.
Michael Pittman Jr. also had a strong sophomore campaign, albeit somewhat streaky, as Wentz’s number one target. Pittman saw 127 targets for 1,072 yards and six touchdowns. Should the Colts move on from Wentz, the big-bodied receiver has the most room to improve going into his third year. Wentz completed 68.5% of his passes to Pittman, while completing 78.4% of his passes to Jonathan Taylor. Pittman finished the season as the WR15 in fantasy, while Jonathan Taylor finished as the RB1.
For his part, Wentz finished as the QB13 in fantasy, ahead of Derek Carr, Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson.
Could Indianapolis move on from Wentz? Sure. Will they? I doubt it.
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