Chris Ballard says former Eagle Carson Wentz may have been cut even if Colts made playoffs

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Wentz probably would have been cut even if Colts made playoffs originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

How bad were things in Indianapolis this past year?

So bad that the Colts probably would have released Carson Wentz even if they beat the Jaguars on the final day of the season and made the playoffs.

This surprising revelation came from Colts general manager Chris Ballard in an interview with Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk.

“I think we still would’ve had some hard discussions,” Ballard said. “Just the way we played down the stretch, and we knew we needed to make some improvements in that area. … When we know something’s not a good fit, don’t just try to justify it. Let’s move forward.”

Wentz and the Colts needed only to beat the 2-14 Jaguars, one of the worst teams in football, on the final day of the season to reach the playoffs, but they fell behind 26-3 before losing 26-11. Wentz threw for just 185 yards and had two costly turnovers. It was the Jaguars’ biggest win over a team with a winning record in more than four years.

"I mean it stung, I’m not going to lie to you,” Ballard said. “I went into a dark place, too. I’ll tell you what losing does, and especially the way it happened. It really makes you take a hard look at everything you’re doing and probably makes some harder decisions that you might not have made.

“So (we were) really evaluating everything we’re doing from top to bottom. … We think we have a good football team and needed some change and needed some tweaks. We think we were able to do good work this offseason to get us moving back in the right direction.”

Even though Wentz put up decent numbers — 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions — it became clear quickly the Colts were considering moving on from the second pick in the 2016 draft after just one year.

In March, less than a year after the Colts traded their 2022 first-round pick and a 2021 third-round pick to the Eagles for their former first-round pick, the Colts shipped Wentz to the Washington Commanders for two third-round picks, one of which can become a second-rounder.

Less than two weeks later, they acquired Matt Ryan from the Falcons to replace Wentz. Ryan turns 37 next week.

It was an embarrassing episode for the Colts, especially considering that Wentz had his best season as a pro under Reich with the Eagles, going 11-2 in 13 starts before suffering a season-ending injury that set up Nick Foles' Super Bowl heroics.

“We all knew we were going to get egg on our face,” Ballard said. “That is what it is, but at the end of the day it’s about doing the right thing for the organization. I think even if we would’ve ended up in the playoffs, we would’ve had some hard discussions going forward.”

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