Is a Carson Wentz trade to Chicago being held up because Wentz would prefer to play elsewhere? The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane believes that may be the case.
Wentz’s desire to play for the Colts over the Bears, whether it’s based in reality or not, makes sense. In Philadelphia, Wentz struggled behind a porous offensive line, with only a mediocre run game to support him. In terms of wide receiver weapons, his best options for most of the season were Jalen Rager (a rookie) and Travis Fulgham (a guy with three games and three targets heading into 2020).
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
The Bears’ offensive line was one of the weakest position groups on the roster until the team finally landed on a starting unit that began to gel towards the end of the season. The Bears ranked bottom-10 in rushing attempts, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in 2020. Their best receiver, Allen Robinson, could be on the way out of town leaving the Bears with Darnell Mooney and Riley Ridley? Maybe Javon Wims? Of course there’s a chance the team franchise tags Robinson, or brings in one of the many other wideouts available this offseason. But as things stand now, the Bears’ wide receivers room isn’t going to crack anyone’s Top-10 list.
Comparing the two teams, it’s reasonable to question why anyone would expect Wentz to play drastically better in Chicago. Unless you believe Bears quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo was the secret ingredient to Wentz’s success when the two worked together in 2016 and 2017. Or maybe the team drafts an offensive tackle with their first-round pick, and truly invests in developing the O-Line. Maybe the Bears do tag Robinson, keeping him in the fold for another year. In those cases, yes, maybe Wentz could turn things around. But a lot of pieces have to fall into place.
On the other hand, the Colts have a much stronger foundation on offense. Their line is one of the most reliable in the game, both protecting the QB and opening up lanes for running backs. In 2020 Philip Rivers was sacked 19 times in 16 games, good for an average of 1.2 sacks a game. Mind you, Rivers is not known for his athleticism evading the pass rush, so this number is even more impressive. In Philly, Wentz was sacked a whopping 50 times in only 12 games, giving him an average of 4.2 sacks a game. Unlike Rivers, Wentz is one of the best running QBs in the game, helping him escape the pass rush on occasion. Further, the Colts ranked in the top-10 for rushing attempts and rushing touchdowns (they were 11th in total yards), taking some pressure off of Rivers. That helped Rivers turn in one of the most efficient seasons of his career, in terms of completion percentage and interception percentage. Here, it’s easy to see how a move to Indianapolis could help things turn around for Wentz.
In the end, will any of this matter if the Bears present the Colts with the best deal for Wentz? There’s no indication Wentz has a no-trade clause in his deal, so does he have any leverage?
Apparently for Wentz the often torn-up grass at Soldier Field is still greener than whatever they’re using over in Philadelphia.