Why the March 18 deadline is vital for Colts QB Carson Wentz
The Indianapolis Colts are under somewhat of a deadline when it comes to their decision surrounding the future of quarterback Carson Wentz as a major contract point occurs on March 18.
With so many reports coming out about Wentz and the potential trade the Colts are trying to make, the date of March 18 is often brought up. It’s an important date for both the Colts and Wentz—along with any team potentially trading for him.
March 18 is the third day of the new league year. On that day, Wentz’s contract will guarantee $7 million of his base salary as well as a $5 million roster bonus. That $5 million bonus is actually from a move the Colts made last offseason by splitting up a $10 million bonus over two years in 2021.
Nate Atkins of The Indianapolis Star laid out how the contract works for the 2022 season:
So, if he’s still on the Colts by March 18, he will be owed $27 million. The final $1.3 million comes if he is still on the roster by the regular season.
How this will impact potential trade negotiations remains to be seen. It’s unlikely the Colts will find a trade partner willing to take on all $28.3 million in 2022—as well as the remaining two seasons to follow. Though, the two seasons after 2022 have no guaranteed money tied into the contract.
But the Colts could use this slightly to their advantage in negotiations. Since it’s been made clear that money won’t be an obstacle, the Colts could offer to eat a large portion of the contract (likely the $15 million already guaranteed) so that Wentz’s potential new team would only owe him $13.3 million for the upcoming season with the chance to cut bait after 2022 without penalty.
As volatile as Wentz was in 2021 with the Colts, paying a league-average starting quarterback with his built-in upside $13.3 million for a season may be enough value for a team to take a chance on the 29-year-old.
Fortunately, it will also give the Colts a few days to negotiate with any potential replacements in free agency. The legal tampering period opens on March 14.
The Colts seem to be pretty out on Wentz for the future. Whether that means a deal happens before March 18 remains to be seen. There’s still a chance they run it back for another season and cut bait without penalty in 2023.
It’s just hard to buy into that notion considering all of the smoke that’s surrounding the situation.
Either way, the Colts are going to want to make a decision before the March 18 deadline due to the contract implications.
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