The future of the Indianapolis Colts and the Philadelphia Eagles hinged on the Carson Wentz trade, which took place on Feb. 18, 2021. Wentz and the Eagles had a fractured relationship that was beyond repair, as the former Eagles quarterback was looking for a change of scenery from the franchise he spent playing for the first five years of his NFL career.
The Colts were looking to reunite Wentz with his former offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, as Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich and the organization were looking for a franchise quarterback after the retirement of Philip Rivers. The match appeared made in heaven for Indianapolis as Philadelphia was set for a period of rebuild with Jalen Hurts as the team's quarterback in 2021.
The optics have changed for both franchises. On the one-year anniversary of the blockbuster deal, here's how the Colts and Eagles both fared.
Colts receive: Carson Wentz
Eagles receive: 2021 third-round pick and 2022 conditional first-round pick
The Eagles received a conditional first-round pick from the Colts in the deal, with some parameters. Philadelphia received the 2022 first-round pick from the Colts if Wentz:
- Played 75% of the snaps in 2021
- Played 70% of the snaps in 2021 and the Colts made the playoffs
Wentz reached the 75% threshold in December, so the pick became a first-round selection from Indianapolis. If Wentz didn't reach any of those parameters, the pick would have been a 2022 second-round selection. The Eagles ended up receiving the 16th overall pick in the draft from the Colts.
How the Colts fared with Wentz
Wentz completed 62.4% of his passes for 3,563 yards with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a 94.6 passer rating, a bounce-back season after he was one of the worst quarterbacks in football in his final season with the Eagles. Wentz wasn't as good in the second half as he was the first half, completing 61.1% of his passes for for 1,365 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions (87.1 rating). He averaged just 170.6 yards per game compared to 244.2 in the first half of the year, where Wentz completed 63.3% of his passes for 2,198 yards with 17 touchdowns to three interceptions (100.1 rating).
Indianapolis rallied to win eight of its next 10 games after a 1-4 start to the season and needed to just win one of its final two games to clinch a playoff berth, even with Wentz's performance dipping in the second half of the year.
The Colts failed to seize the opportunity, missing the playoffs entirely after falling to the Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars, the latter of which finished with the worst record in the NFL. Wentz played a huge role in the collapse, completing just 58.9% of his passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns and an interception (80.6 rating) in the final two games.
Missing the playoffs in Year One of the Wentz era wasn't in the Colts' plans.
How the Eagles fared with Hurts
Hurts completed 61.3% of his passes for 3,144 yards with 16 touchdowns to nine interceptions for an 87.2 rating on the year, and he was just the second quarterback in Eagles history to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 750 yards in a season -- and the eighth to reach those numbers in NFL history.
Hurts also led all quarterbacks in rushing yards (784) and rushing touchdowns (10) in 2021 while also ranking fourth in yards per attempt among all NFL players (564). His 10 touchdowns are the most ever by an Eagles quarterback in a season, and his 784 rushing yards trail only Randall Cunningham for the most by a quarterback in team history.
He completed a season-high 66.7% of his passes for 709 yards with three touchdowns to just one interception for a 101.3 passer rating in leading Philadelphia to the playoffs over his last three regular-season games. Of quarterbacks with 50 pass attempts, Hurts was seventh in the league in passer rating over the last three games he played (Week 15 to 17, as Hurts didn't play in Week 18 with the Eagles' playoff spot clinched), ninth in passing yards, and third in yards per attempt (8.75).
The Eagles rallied from a 2-5 start to making the playoffs with a 9-8 record -- the same mark as the Colts.
The Colts are actually considering moving on from Wentz after just one season with the franchise, not getting the vote of confidence from general manager Chris Ballard and owner Jim Irsay in the days after the end-of-season collapse.
Indianapolis would suffer a dead-cap hit of $15 million if it released Wentz, who has a cap number of $28,294,119 in 2022 -- with three years remaining on his four-year, $128 million extension he signed with the Eagles in 2019. Wentz's 2022 salary would become fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2022 league year -- so the Colts would have to make a decision on his future in the next few weeks.
Wentz may not even be on the Colts' roster by the time the Eagles used that first-round pick from the Colts. Philadelphia has three first-round picks in the 2022 draft at its disposal (No. 15 from the Miami Dolphins, No. 16 from the Colts, and No. 19 as its own), which is the most by any team in the NFL.
The Eagles have plenty of draft capital to improve their roster around Hurts, or they can package those draft picks in a trade for a superstar quarterback. Hurts has been endorsed by general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Nick Sirianni as the team's quarterback in 2022, but those plans can change if the Eagles get an opportunity to upgrade at the position.
If Philadelphia sticks with Hurts, the Eagles are in excellent shape in using those picks to strengthen their roster and use another year to develop and evaluate their quarterback. The Colts are still looking for their next franchise quarterback, and could be in a disastrous situation if they stick with Wentz for 2022 (who has proven not to handle adversity very well).
One year after the Wentz trade was made, the Eagles are the winners of the deal. They received Smith by using the Colts' pick to move up in the 2021 draft, a 2022 first-round pick in the mid-teens, and a playoff spot in a transition year.
The Colts missed the playoffs with Wentz, lost a first-round pick, and may be moving on from the quarterback they spent premium draft assets to acquire after just one season. Pour one out for Roseman.