The 2022 NFL offseason has not been kind to Carson Wentz. A month after the Colts quarterback failed to guide Indianapolis to the playoffs, ESPN reported Indy expected to trade or release the former Pro Bowler, just one year after trading a first- and third-round draft pick to acquire him. Team owner Jim Irsay, meanwhile, has all but campaigned for Wentz to be replaced. But general manager Chris Ballard didn't provide any clarity on Wentz's future, except to confirm it's uncertain, while addressing reporters at the scouting combine on Tuesday.
"I don't have a direct answer for you," Ballard said of Wentz's standing as the Colts' QB. "We're working through it. Jim Irsay and (coach) Frank (Reich) and I will sit down over the next 10 days and figure out where it's going. Ultimately, we'll do what's best for the team -- for the Colts -- both in the short term and in the long term."
Asked if Wentz could still be the team's short- and long-term answer under center, Ballard doubled down on the ambiguity.
"As we sit down and work through whether Carson's the best long-term answer or not ... we're not there yet," he said. "I'm not there yet. And that's something that we'll talk about as a group and move forward. And whatever decision we make will be the best one for us."
Ballard's comments echo February reporting from The Athletic's Zak Keefer, who indicated Colts decision-makers have been weighing Wentz's future since the team's Week 18 loss to the Jaguars. Ballard, Irsay and Reich held a closed-door meeting following the season to discuss the QB position, per Keefer, with Irsay especially expressing interest in pursuing alternatives.
Ballard, for what it's worth, did not rule out Wentz returning in 2022, even noting that the two held an hour-long meeting in the GM's office earlier Tuesday: "It was good. It was really good. I think handling -- learning to handle the criticism -- (is important). Most of it's (been) pretty fair. It'll be interesting to see how he grows from this. I think he will."
But when asked if teammates have campaigned for Wentz's role moving forward, he downplayed the notion that there's a consensus in the building about the former Eagles QB's future.
"I think I've gotten viewpoints from a lot of different people," Ballard said. "At the end of the day, Mr. Irsay and I will make the decision we think is best for the organization."
The Colts can save over $13 million by releasing Wentz this offseason, or up to $28.29 million via trade. In either case, however, it's unclear which QB they would target as a clear upgrade, with big names like Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson seemingly unlikely to be available and other options -- like Jimmy Garoppolo and Teddy Bridgewater -- offering varying skill sets.