INDIANAPOLIS – Now, the quarterback’s in place.
A month after the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles agreed on a trade that delivered a new triggerman for Frank Reich’s offense, it’s official.
The start of the NFL’s new league year – Wednesday at 4 p.m. – means all trades and free-agent agreements are consummated. And that means the Colts get their QB1 for the present and, they hope, the foreseeable future.
Wentz, 28, arrives in Indy and steps into the void created when Philip Rivers retired after one season with the franchise. The Colts assume the final four years of his contract, valued at roughly $128 million, but essentially their commitment is for two years and $47 million.
The Eagles receive a third-round pick in the April draft along with a 2022 second-rounder that becomes a first-rounder if Wentz plays at least 75% of the snaps or takes 70% of the snaps and the Colts reach the postseason.
Although things remained in limbo until Wednesday, Wentz already has participated in throwing sessions with Michael Pittman Jr. and Dezmon Patmon on the West Coast.
Coach Frank Reich’s familiarity with Wentz undoubtedly played a major role in the trade. He was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator in 2016-17, Wentz’s first two NFL seasons.
“We’re excited to add Carson to our team and know he will contribute to the culture that we’ve established here,’’ general manager Chris Ballard said in a statement released by the team. “We believe that Carson’s relationship with Frank and his familiarity with our offensive staff made this the right move for our organization.’’
Added Reich: “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to coach Carson again and he will be a fantastic addition to this organization. I have the utmost respect for him as a competitor and his integrity as a man. Carson will bring great leadership to our locker room and will be an asset for the Colts both on the field and in our community.’’
The Colts’ quarterback room consists of Wentz, 2020 fourth-round draft pick Jacob Eason and Jalen Morton.
Ballard made certain to keep one of his own when he signed running back Marlon Mack to a one-year, $2 million contract. He also extended one-year restricted tenders to wide receiver Zach Pascal, tight end Mo Alie-Cox and safety/special teams standout George Odum. Pascal and Alie-Cox were given the second-round level of $3.384 million while Odom received the lowest tender ($2.133 million).
Previously reported free-agent deals are in the books.
That includes defensive end Denico Autry joining AFC South rival Tennessee with a three-year, $21.5 million contract and quarterback Jacoby Brissett relocating to Miami on a one-year, $7.5 million deal.
Also, safety Tremon Smith, who was not offered a restricted tender, signed a one-year, $1.113 million contract with Houston.
On the market
A slew of players find themselves on the open market after their contracts with the Colts expired Wednesday.
The list includes: wideout T.Y. Hilton, defensive ends Justin Houston and Al-Quadin Muhammad, linebacker Anthony Walker, cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and T.J. Carrie, safety Malik Hooker, tight end Trey Burton and offensive tackles Le’Raven Clark and Chaz Green.
There’s every chance a few of those players are re-signed if they are unable to find acceptable contracts on the open market. The team’s need at wideout and edge pass rusher could result in Hilton and Houston being re-signed. Same with Rhodes at cornerback.
At the start of the new league year, the Colts have $39.1 million in cap space, according to overthecap.com. That does not reflect the Mack contract.
Ballard and his staff always are looking ahead in terms of shaping the roster and take into account looming extensions for All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard, right tackle Braden Smith and running back Nyheim Hines. At some point All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson also will be given a mega-extension.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.