The day has come. We can finally (officially) talk about it. The Washington Commanders have traded for quarterback Carson Wentz, giving them an answer at the position.
Washington fans should already be familiar with Wentz, as he spent five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. But let's take a closer look at Wentz and five things you should know about the Commanders' new quarterback.
1. He's performed well in the NFC East.
After spending a year with the Indianapolis Colts, Wentz is heading back to the NFC East, and based on how he's performed in the past, that should mean good things for the signal-caller and his new team.
Wentz currently has a 16-9 record against NFC East teams (some quick math says that's almost a 2:1 ratio). Not only did that lead to two division titles, but it also helped the Eagles reach the No. 1 season in the NFC with a first-round bye in 2017. For some clarification, Wentz did sustain a torn ACL in Week 14 of that season, but his 11-2 record before that went a long way to lock up a playoff spot.
During that 2017 season, Wentz was undefeated against NFC East opponents, but let's break down his record against each team even further. He's 4-4 against the Cowboys, 5-3 against Washington and 7-2 against the Giants.
One of Ron Rivera’s favorite sayings is that "the best way to win the division is win within the division." Well, Wentz tended to do that in a division that hasn't had a repeat winner since the 2003-05 seasons.
2. He was a Top 10 quarterback in terms of touchdowns and QBR.
The Colts' 2021 season ended on a sour note. They responded to a 1-4 start with an 8-2 stretch, only to lose back-to-back games to close out the season. Wentz did have his struggles, but his overall stats for the year are encouraging.
By the time the regular season had come to a close, Went was 10th in touchdowns (27) and ninth in QBR (54.7). The passing touchdowns led the AFC South in 2021, but here's some more context for that number: Washington hasn't had a quarterback throw that many passing touchdowns in a single season since 2017. The person who had the next-closest number was Taylor Heinicke, who had 20 last season.
And in terms of the QBR, Washington hasn't had a quarterback record a similar number since 2017.
So, Wentz's past numbers would show that he is a statistical upgrade compared to what Washington has had under center in several years.
3. His presence should be a benefit for Washington's pass-catchers.
Wentz has shown multiple times that he has one of the stronger arms in the NFL. He had the 12th-highest average completed air yards and the ninth-longest completed air distance. That should perk up the ears of the Commanders' offensive coaches and their young receivers.
In Indianapolis, It was second-year pro Michael Pittman Jr. who benefitted the most from Wentz's arm. He more than doubled his production from 2020 to 2021 with 1,082 yards and six touchdowns.
Wentz will now be paired with Terry McLaurin, who is fresh off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Wentz has already seen what kind of damage McLaurin can do, and he's excited to work with the standout receiver.
"I watched him light us up in Philly, and I'm like, 'That dude's special,'" Wentz told senior vice president of media and content Julie Donaldson. "So I'm excited to get on the field and experience that speed firsthand."
4. He just wants to win.
Many players have goals they want to hit each season, whether it's hitting a certain number of touchdowns or yards. Don't count Wentz among those people; to him, winning is the only thing that matters.
"I just need to get more wins in that win column," Wentz said, "whether that's throwing the ball 50 times or it's throwing the ball 20 times or whatever that looks like."
Those words should please Rivera, who has preached the concept of being a team-first organization since he first came to Washington in 2020. And Wentz has heard about some of the team's reputation since Rivera took over. He knows that the Commanders' roster is full of players who just want to win, and it sounds like that has him ready to get to work.
"So whether somebody's rushing for 100 yards in a game or [we're] throwing for 200 or 400, it doesn't matter," Wentz said. "All we want to do is come in and win together."
5. He wants to be a leader in the locker room.
Being a leader is expected of a quarterback, and that's a fact Wentz is well aware of. That's been required of him since he was the No. 2 overall pick in 2016. And when it comes to leading a locker room, his philosophy is simple: be available for all of his teammates.
"On the field is one thing, but off the field, I want to be there and be supportive," Wentz said. "My family and I both want to be supportive of them and their families and significant others."
At the same time, Wentz will have high expectations for his teammates. He wants to make sure everyone is held accountable as they try to get the Commanders moving in the right direction. After hearing that, it should provide more clarity into why Rivera, who values character as much as on-field talent, would want Wentz on his roster.
"I look forward to doing that here," Wentz said. "And I've heard nothing but great things about the locker room and the guys and the culture that's here. So I just look forward to being a veteran presence."