Eagles agree to trade QB Carson Wentz to Colts for two draft picks

The Carson Wentz saga in Philadelphia is finito.

The Eagles agreed to trade Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-rounder, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Thursday, per a source informed of the situation.

The 2022 conditional second-round pick becomes a first-round selection if Wentz plays 75 percent of the snaps in 2021, or 70 percent and the Colts make the playoffs, Garafolo added.

ESPN first reported the news.

The trade cannot be finalized until the new league year begins on March 17.

The Colts have long been the obvious landing spot for Wentz, given the QB's relationship with head coach Frank Reich. Wentz's best years came with Reich as the Eagles offensive coordinator in 2016-2017. The thought process follows that if anyone can help turn around the struggling signal-caller, it's Reich.

With Indy the clear destination, GM Chris Ballard was able to stand his ground without selling the farm. Indy not having to give up a first- or second-round pick this year allows Ballard to build around a playoff-ready squad.

Wentz's play deteriorated last season as he struggled with footwork, decision-making and accuracy. He was ultimately benched for Jalen Hurts by former coach Doug Pederson, and the situation became untenable in Philly.

While the Philly brass spoke of new coach Nick Sirianni, who came from Reich's staff, helping fix the former No. 2 overall pick, Wentz pushed for a trade out of town. The signal-caller got his wish and preferred destination in a reunion with Reich.

The Eagles didn't get a huge haul in return for a QB it signed to a $128 million extension in 2019. Given there wasn't much of a market for a struggling signal-caller with an injury history and significant salary, getting a pick that could turn into a first-rounder -- given the relatively attainable conditions if Wentz stays healthy -- is better than most in Philly could have hoped for in return.

Trading Wentz two years after inking him to an extension will leave the Eagles with $33.82 million in dead money on their 2021 salary cap, the largest dead cap hit in NFL history (surpassing Jared Goff's $22.2 million in L.A.). The willingness to take on that dead money underscores Philly's desire to cut bait with the QB regardless of the costs or return.

Heading to Indy, Wentz is theoretically in a better situation than he left in Philly. The Colts offensive line is significantly better, even with questions at left tackle. Indy has offensive pieces in running back Jonathan Taylor and wideout Michael Pittman, and a top-five defense. The lack of a quarterback with Philip Rivers' retirement was the biggest question in Indy.

Acquiring Wentz gives Indy a QB with upside if he stays healthy and returns to form under Reich. Unless Wentz's play improves drastically, however, Indy still must buffer the signal-caller. A solid ground game and improved play-calling could be the perfect recipe to get the 28-year-old back on track. In 2019, before he bottomed out this year, Wentz wasn't playing better than Rivers did in 2020 in Indy, so the QB alone doesn't significantly raise the Colts' profile.

Given the options on the free-agent market, Ballard is taking a gamble that Reich is the key to helping get Wentz back to his pre-ACL injury form from 2017 when the QB was an MVP candidate. It's a good gamble for Ballard. If it doesn't pay off, and Wentz gets hurt again or struggles, Indy didn't sink too many assets. If it clicks for Wentz behind a better O-line, the Colts found an answer under center.

For Philly, Hurts currently moves to the QB1 role after showing brief flashes down the stretch of the season. The question heading toward the draft is whether GM Howie Roseman believes Hurts is the future or whether using the No. 6 overall pick on another QB is prudent.

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