The Washington Commanders knew they were taking a risk sending multiple picks to the Indianapolis Colts for quarterback Carson Wentz. In addition, Washington would be on the hook for his entire 2022 salary of $28 million.
The Wentz experiment went as many expected it would go. He played in eight games, making seven starts, and Washington went 2-5 in the games that Wentz started.
Sure, the Commanders had offensive line problems in 2022, but Wentz’s presence often made those issues worse than if Taylor Heinicke or Sam Howell were under center. Wentz was sacked nine times in a Week 3 loss to the Eagles.
ESPN recently used analytics to break down which NFL quarterbacks were bargains in 2022 — and which ones were not. The way ESPN’s formula works, the more money you make, the more that is expected from you.
In addition to the formula, ESPN breaks the quarterbacks into tiers. The top tier is “Established starters not on rookie deals,” which means quarterbacks on their second contract or more. There were 15 quarterbacks in that tier, with Patrick Mahomes as the biggest bargain. Mahomes counted almost $31 million against the salary cap in 2022 and came in with 52.24 points over expected value.
Wentz ranked No. 11, with -59.14 points. Believe it or not, there were four quarterbacks ranked below Wentz in this category, and they were Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson. Watson, of course, missed 11 games due to a suspension and signed a controversial fully-guaranteed contract last offseason.
The next category was “Rookie-deal starters.”
Players such as Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts were ridiculous bargains in 2022, playing on rookie contracts. All three are eligible for extensions this offseason.
Next up, there were “Journeymen quarterbacks.” Guess who landed here? That would be Heinicke. Considering Heinicke’s cap hit was $2.8 million, a lot wasn’t expected from him, yet he produced 17.37 points over expected total, which was No. 6 in this category. Geno Smith was a runaway bargain here.
Washington rookie quarterback Sam Howell wasn’t listed, as he started only one game for the Commanders in 2022.