Carson Wentz trade gives Commanders incentive to start Taylor Heinicke at least two more games

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Taylor Heinicke will remain the Commanders’ starting quarterback for at least one more game. The terms of the Commanders’ trade with the Colts give the Commanders a strong incentive to keep Heinicke under center for at least two more games.

If Wentz plays at least 70 percent of the Commanders’ offensive snaps this season, the Commanders have to send a second-round draft pick to the Colts. If Wentz plays less than 70 percent of snaps, the Commanders send the Colts a third-round pick.

Sunday’s game will be the fifth that Wentz has missed, and five games is 29 percent of a 17-game season. So if Wentz were to return to the starting lineup after Sunday’s game, Wentz would likely finish with just over 70 percent of the snaps, and the Commanders would have to send the Colts a second-round pick.

If Heinicke starts just once more beyond Sunday, that should push Wentz under the 70 percent threshold, and the Commanders would only have to give the Colts a third-round pick.

It’s possible that none of this will matter, as Wentz may not get cleared to return from his broken finger next week.

And it’s also possible that Rivera will just decide to stick with Heinicke because the Commanders have been a better team since Wentz went down. The Commanders are 3-1 in games started by Heinicke and 2-4 in games started by Wentz this season.

And that points to the question of why the Commanders traded for Wentz in the first place. When the Commanders traded for him, they gave up draft picks for the privilege of taking over Wentz’s $28 million salary cap hit for this season. If the Commanders had just stuck with Heinicke, who spent most of last season as their starter, they could have used those draft picks and that $28 million in cap space to bolster the rest of their roster. If they’re 3-1 with Heinicke, just imagine how good they could be with Heinicke and good players they might have drafted or acquired in free agency with that $28 million.

But that’s all in the past, and there’s nothing the Commanders can do about that trade now. Except not compound their mistake by going back to Wentz and costing themselves a second-round draft pick.

27 responses to “Carson Wentz trade gives Commanders incentive to start Taylor Heinicke at least two more games

  1. The biggest incentive for them to sit Wentz is that he sucks, and Heinicke gives them the best chance win.
    They made a mistake by trading for him and all the consequences that came with it, but it doesn’t mean that they have to continue that failure by having him start anymore games.

  2. For the second straight season, a team is having to determine how much or little they should play Wentz in order to influence how much they have to pay for their mistake. Which team is next year’s victim?

  3. This should serve as a lesson to any GMs who want to get their head coach fired; trade for Carson Wentz.

  4. Wentz is on his third team in three years and in the games he played for his third team in three years, he was in the either outright bad or barely serviceable. You don’t need more than the eye test for this one, especially considering neither of these guys is the longterm answer as a franchise QB. The team plays better with Heinicke so you play him. The end.

  5. I think it is more a statement of how desperate teams are for exceptional QB play. Commanders took a shot on Wentz and it didn’t work. Seems petty to criticize them for that. There are plenty of career backups who do well for a 4-5 game stretch only to stink it up over the long term. If Commanders thought Wentz was worth the shot, then take it. And if he stinks, then move on.

  6. Watching his backup Nick Foles take the Philadelphia Eagles to and win the Super Bowl(and subsequent SB MVP) completely broke Carson Wentz. He hasn’t been the same since.

  7. Wentz is better than a lot of starting QBs. That’s why he keeps getting opportunities. This isn’t the first example of that. Teams should have someone on their staff that can evaluate QBs. It’s a QB league, and evaluating QBs is the number one thing all teams need to get right.

  8. The unanswered question is “Why did WFT pursue Wentz in the first place?” It was an amateur move made by an overmatched front office.

  9. The terms of the contract were based on snaps, not games played. Your math is flawed by that measure. Every single game has a different number of snaps and they can vary by 20+ on a weekly bases. You’d need to add the total number of offensive snaps then divide by the number of snaps per quarterback; not the number of games played.

  10. Heinicke is a pretty good backup QB, but Washington wants someone who can win them games. If they got the Wentz from a few years ago, then giving up a 2 for a QB that can be a difference maker and could be around for 5+ years settles the QB situation that has been an issue for more than a generation. Keeping Heinicke as the starter automatically keeps you on that QB search for another year and you get those same results you saw last year.

  11. As a former Wentz fan, it’s clear his career is over. He may get to be a backup. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bust like him before. He was anything, but that for his first two years. Then he started a decline that had some ups and downs, followed by a steep decline in 2020 through 2022. Weird.

  12. Heinke is easy to root for but he reminds me of Ryan Fitzpatrick a bit. Good enough to win you some games but not a 17 week starter. Heinke had the reigns last year and it showed he wasn’t THAT guy. Glad he’s getting a second stint and balling out but he likely isn’t the answer at QB for them next year either.

    Now trading for Wentz was weird no matter how you look at it, financially it ability, what we’re they thinking?

  13. As said above, the whole Nick Foles coming in and winning the SB has given Wentz PTSD. In other words, his confidence is past the point of no return. The only thing that can fix him is a complete 180 by having a breakout game that’s never going to happen.
    On the brighter side tho, at least he’s rich. 🤷🏼‍♂️

  14. Taylor Heinicke is a gadget, a novelty the Commanders are not making the playoff with him as their starting QB… Taylor Heinicke makes too many mistakes and bad reads and unless they play against teams that beat themselves like the Eagles did Monday night or the Refs missing and making bad calls they are going to have a tough time winning football games. But because the Commanders don’t have a capable QB on the roster they have to play Taylor Heinicke.

  15. Both QB stats this year:
    Wentz. 6 games. 1,500 yrds
    10 TDs. 6 INTs QB rating of 84.1

    5 games 840 yrds
    5 TDs 4 INTS QB rating of 82.0

    The difference in record is Washington got the #1 RB back healthy (and other injured players back) and they played their strength which is Running the ball. That’s how they beat the Eagles. When Wentz was starting they had horrible play calling and didn’t prioritize running the ball which in turn freed up Wentz to his strengths like play action and screens. Wentz is by far the better QB..The Colts brought in Matty Ice and finally figured out they sucked because of the coach NOT QB. So Ryan and Wentz wasn’t the problem, just like Wentz isn’t the problem in Washington..its the coach.

  16. The Commanders are lucky Heineke actually looks a lot better than Wentz or else they’d be accused of a tank job for starting him after Wentz is ready to go. And with the ethical problems that team has, there’d be real grounds for suspicion.

    As it is, the whole team looks better with Heineke in there. Can’t blame em for keeping him on the field.

  17. cookerduff123 says:
    November 19, 2022 at 9:27 am
    For the second straight season, a team is having to determine how much or little they should play Wentz in order to influence how much they have to pay for their mistake. Which team is next year’s victim?
    My money is on Indianapolis. After the hiring of Jeff Saturday, I wouldn’t be shocked

  18. This is starting to look like when Seattle kept trying to replace Dave Krieg. They traded for Cardinals first rounder Kelly Stouffer in 1988, they drafted Mark McGwire’s brother Dan in the 1st round in 1991, and then finally did it picking Rick Mirer second overall in 1993. Ironically I think Wentz’s career is starting to resemble Mirer’s: a second overall pick stuck bouncing from team to team. Luckily for him, since he was drafted that high, there’s always going to be a coach that has an idea for an offense he’ll fit. He’ll get a fourth chance, and a fifth, and a sixth, and it could lead to a Vinny Testaverde like comeback eventually if just one of them fits.

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