The Denver Broncos are in desperate need of a quarterback for the 2022 season, and although Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson are atop everyone’s wishlist, there’s a very real possibility that neither wind up in the Mile High City.

Could Carson Wentz be a go-to backup plan at quarterback if the plans to land a superstar go south?

According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, via ProFootballTalk, it seems like the option will at least be on the table, as the Indianapolis Colts are reportedly looking to trade or release Wentz. That report makes the Colts’ decision to trade a first and third to the Eagles for Wentz’s services to be a complete failure.

That acknowledgment of failure likely drives down Wentz’s price from where it was a season ago, despite him playing well for much of this season in Indianapolis.

Why the Broncos shouldn’t target Wentz

So much of Wentz’s allure is based on his 2017 near-MVP season and — to a much lesser extent — his 2018.

Wentz's 2017 and 2018 season in the eyes of EPA

In 2017, Wentz led the league in expected points added per play, before declining to ninth in 2018. Since then though, his play has been horrific to the extent that it makes you wonder if he would even be an upgrade on Denver’s quarterbacking nightmare.

Sure, Wentz proved himself to be a quality NFL quarterback back in 2017 — something Drew Lock has never done —  but over the last three years, the impacts the two have had on their team have been incredibly similar. They both tend to play too chaotic, creating unnecessary turnovers, but whereas Lock is already rostered and relatively cheap, the Broncos would have to spend a considerable amount of money, and potentially draft picks, to secure Wentz.

Also, let’s not forget how long ago 2017 was in the world of the NFL.

Back in 2017, Denver was still holding out hope that Paxton Lynch would be the answer at quarterback, and in 2018, they were rumored to be in love with top-three pick Sam Darnold, who was touted by many as the next elite young quarterback. In other words, a lot has changed in the quarterbacking world over that span.

Banking on what a quarterback was so long ago when the overall trend has so clearly been that of regression is certainly concerning.

Wentz did show some signs of improvement in 2021, but as seen above, that’s not enough to outweigh just how gross much of the last three seasons have been for him. It should also be noted that Indianapolis was perfectly set up for Wentz to experience success, with Frank Reich (who got the best out of Wentz in Philadelphia) installed as offensive coordinator and a sturdy offensive line that could help Wentz avoid his bad habit of slipping into chaotic play.

Banking on Nathaniel Hackett being able to perfectly recreate that atmosphere for Carson Wentz, in his first year on the job, with no prior experience working together, is a massive assumption. Plus, even in that perfect atmosphere with the Colts, Wentz’s bad habits sprung up at the worst moments and kept the team out of the playoffs.

Why the Broncos should target Wentz

Let’s open this section by making the concession that there is plenty of reason for trepidation with Wentz and that he’s far from being an idyllic free-agent veteran quarterback.

With that said, if the Broncos strike out in their quest to land Wilson or Rodgers, they will be faced with slim pickings. Out of those limited options, Wentz might be one of the best, as he wouldn’t hurt the team moving forward and there’s a small glimmer of hope that he could recapture his former glory.

Although Wentz has two years remaining on his deal, he doesn’t have any dead cap left on it. That means the Broncos could easily add him via trade as a one-year band-aid, only to cut him the next offseason, without facing any ramifications.

Many of the other lackluster veteran options out there will require a multi-year commitment from Denver, and there aren’t many veteran options that have reached the peaks that Wentz has.

The Broncos could target a rookie in the draft, but — as the fan base has learned in recent years thanks to the aforementioned failures of Lock and Lynch — that can turn into a disastrous long-term commitment that precludes you from finding a quarterback solution in future years, especially when targetting a weak draft class.

Wentz is not a good solution, but he might be one of the best solutions Denver is left with.


Ultimately, adding Wentz seems like a bad idea now. The prospect of adding Rodgers or Wilson is still on the table, and it’s early enough into the draft season that fans can talk themselves into one of the quarterbacks in this year’s class.

That said, if the Broncos miss out on those veteran superstars and the quarterbacks in the class don’t dramatically improve their stock, they could once again find themselves in the desert at the game’s most important position.

Wentz could offer a brief reprieve from that desert, which the Broncos could quickly toss to the side once a better option presents itself.