Wentz returned as a starter in Week 17 for a game against the Cleveland Browns that all but sealed his fate. Washington was 7-7-1 when Wentz took over from Heinicke and threw three interceptions and zero touchdowns in a loss that knocked Washington out of the playoffs.
Picks, sacks and boos lead Carson Wentz into an uncertain future
As part of their trade for Wentz, the Commanders traded 2022 second-round picks with the Colts and gave up a 2022 third-rounder and a 2023 third-rounder. Wentz had just one year left in the money. guaranteed on his contract, so Washington was able to make a clean cut without taking dead money — or money that would count against his cap — after one season.
For the first time in his career, Wentz will be a free agent. This offseason, he will be looking for his fourth team in four seasons, a sharp fall for the No. 2 selection in the 2016 draft.
With Heinicke set to hit free agency as well, Commanders will be looking, at least for now, to Sam Howell, a 2022 fifth-round pick who is the team’s only quarterback on the books. for 2023. Howell will enter camp as planned. starter, but coach Ron Rivera has indicated he hopes to add a veteran in some capacity, and new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has agreed there is a need for competition in the quarter room.
“I’m excited to get to know the kid,” Bieniemy said of Howell. “But more than anything, you always want to create competition. You want to make sure that we get the most out of the people who held that particular position.
What to expect from Eric Bieniemy’s Commanders attack
McCain’s exit is due in large part to the emergence of Darrick Forrest, a fifth-round pick in 2021 who has proven a vital part of the commanders secondary in 2022 after playing mostly on special teams as a rookie. . Forrest recorded a team-high four interceptions, along with two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 88 tackles.
McCain’s play at the free safety, along with Benjamin St-Juste’s performance at the corner, prompted Washington to move McCain to the slot as the third safety in Washington’s “Buffalo” nickel package. McCain’s versatility gave the team flexibility in how they used their defensive backs, and as Washington reconfigures their secondary again, adding more positional flexibility will be a priority.
Commanders have long valued defensive backs who can play in multiple places and can change during a game or even a series – players such as safety Kam Curl, who last season played primarily as a linebacker, and running back. corner Kendall Fuller, who can play inside and outside. .
The 2023 draft class is pretty deep on defensive back talent, and some analysts predict Washington will add a defensive back in the early rounds. But the team’s needs span many positions, including offensive line, tight end body, linebacker and, of course, quarterback.
For Rivera and the commanding staff and coaching staff, work begins in earnest this week, at the NFL’s scouting combine in Indianapolis — the same location Washington decided to trade for Wentz a year ago.