What would it cost the Colts to release Carson Wentz?

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Let's be clear, the Indianapolis Colts are unlikely to part ways with quarterback Carson Wentz. Coach Frank Reich has been 100% behind his quarterback throughout this season. Wentz's overall performance was fine, even if his play at the end of the season was unacceptable.

"He’s our quarterback and we’re gonna learn and grow from this year," coach Frank Reich said to media following the game. "There were a lot of bright moments for Carson.”

Cutting Wentz would cost the Colts $15 million in dead cap space according to overthecap.com; that's his guarantee salary from the contract he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019. The Colts could get off the dead cap hit if they traded Wentz but would likely need to include a draft pick to entice another team to take him

According to spotrac.com, the Colts are currently projected to have approximately $57 million in cap space, the seventh most in the NFL. Releasing Wentz would free up another $13 million but the Colts, of course, would need to acquire another quarterback, an unexpected cost.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) presses on one of his eye black strips during the second quarter of the game on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) presses on one of his eye black strips during the second quarter of the game on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

For the season, Wentz completed 62.4% of his passes for 3,563 yards with 27 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, an 94.6 passer rating with 32 sacks. But over the final four games, Wentz completed 55.2% of his passes for 615 yards with 5 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, an 83.5 passer rating and 10 sacks.

Wentz is owed non-guaranteed salaries in 2023 ($26 million) and 2024 ($27 million) with no dead cap money attached if he's released.

“It sucked honestly," Wentz told the media following Sunday's loss. "I’m kind of in disbelief. It's hard to fully reflect on everything right now; it happened so fast. It hurts right now and there's a lot of reflection to come.”

The Colts dealt their 2022 first-round draft pick (and a 2021 third-rounder) to the Eagles -- who made the playoffs -- for Wentz.

Again, don't expect the Colts to move on from Wentz but his play at the end of the season has the team asking questions about the most important position in sports for the fifth consecutive season.

Contact IndyStar Deputy Sports Editor Nat Newell at (317) 444-6182 or nat.newell@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NatJNewell.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts: What would it cost to release Carson Wentz