Should LA Rams kick tires on Carson Wentz if he is released?
Okay, so here we are in the winner’s circle. For the first time in the history of the LA Rams franchise, the Rams are the reigning Super Bowl Champions and have won the Lombardi Trophy for the city of Los Angeles. Now the question becomes, how do you follow that up?
By becoming even more competitive, for starters. But doing that involves a lot of work, planning into the wee hours of the night, and most importantly, jumping on those unique opportunities that present themselves over the course of an NFL season. One such opportunity could be presenting itself in the very near future.
That ‘opportunity’ could come in the form of a young quarterback whose career was hoped to be resuscitated with the Indianapolis Colts in 2021. That’s right, I’m talking about former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
Now, why should the LA Rams give him the time of day?
Toxic, until he no longer is
The problem with having the right quarterback backing up the starter is that you must have the ‘right guy’ ready to go if and when anything happens to your starting quarterback. The LA Rams were quite fortunate to get 21 games out of starting quarterback Matthew Stafford in the 2021 NFL season.
Unfortunately, the limited amount of work from backup quarterback John Wolford was not promising. In just 24 offensive snaps in cleanup work, he threw the football just four times for one completion for five yards. He also threw an interception. The Rams were able to adapt their Jared Goff-led offense to Wolford’s skillsets. But that seems to no longer be the case now that the offense is led by Stafford.
Until now, the Rams simply did not have the budget to afford any type of quarterback upgrade. Now? Wentz was traded from the Eagles to the Indianapolis Colts. Through the season, it appeared that Wentz would get the Colts into the playoffs. But their final game loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, a must-win game that saw Wentz perform one of his worst games of the year, ended the Colts’ hopes for a playoff appearance.
Of course, the word out of Philadelphia after the team fired a very popular head coach Doug Pederson suddenly blasted the headlines with stories about Wentz being uncoachable, a bad teammate, and a bit of an NFL Diva. Now, keep in mind that stories like that come with an agenda, and there were more than a few upset persons among the Eagles organization after Pederson got the ax.
Was this a bit like the same narrative about Odell Beckham Jr. after he wanted to be traded? It smacks of that same hurtful message that gets ‘leaked’ to the press.
The true test was how would Wentz redeem, himself for the Colts. He played better. He threw far fewer interceptions. Yet he failed the Colts as well.
But the failure for the Colts could become the opportunity that the Rams may exploit. Although Wentz struggled at times for the Colts, he can still throw the football, still win football games, and can even pull the ball down and run with the football. And his pocket passer presence is more closely aligned to Stafford’s style than Wolford’s.
Sign, stash, and ship
Of course, one of the reasons to acquire a talented backup quarterback in years past is no longer the rule. But perhaps now is as good of a time to revisit those old strategies. In this scenario, the Rams would sign Wentz for a team-friendly one-year deal. Over that time, the Rams would give him some work, perhaps the fourth quarter of blowouts. Perhaps the Rams would even factor in specific offensive plays to use him with some offensive chicanery.
Then, after a year of quietly rebuilding his reputation, he can go out and sign with a new team, and in the process generate the consideration for an awarding of a compensatory pick for the team the following year. If no team shows much interest, the Rams could re-sign him, and then trade him to another team if and when their roster is suddenly in need of a viable starting quarterback.
We’ve seen a number of veteran quarterbacks with diminished reputations take cheap one-year prove-it deals in hopes of winning back more market value. For the Rams, if the price is not right? They simply look away. The pressure is on Wentz right now to earn his way back into the good graces of NFL teams.
In either scenario, the LA Rams would benefit from a better quarterback insurance policy and would be able to exchange the player for a future draft pick. Of course, this strategy would only work if the value of Wentz has truly fallen to a ridiculously low level. I believe that after the Colts’ experience, it very well may have.