The Colts made an incredible trade yesterday, agreeing to send Carson Wentz to Washington, getting picks, and completely separating themselves from his contract. What became apparent after the news broke was that Indianapolis was getting rid of Wentz come hell or high water - and that may work to the 49ers’ benefit.
Zak Keefer of The Athletic has a fantastic article about how the relationship between Wentz and the Colts soured almost immediately:
“The issues with Wentz stretched back to before the season began, one source said, and over the course of the year, some grew frustrated at what they deemed a lack of leadership, a resistance to hard coaching and a reckless style of play, which had a role in several close losses this year.”
Keefer goes on to say that the Colts were going to move on from Wentz even if they couldn’t find a trade partner. Releasing him would have cost the team around $15 million while having no viable backup plan, no good free-agent quarterbacks, no good incoming rookie QBs, and no first-round pick - and they were still willing to do it.
That sour relationship might make Jimmy Garoppolo look pretty damn good to them.
Jimmy G. is beloved inside his locker room for all his faults on the field. Teammates from both sides of the ball constantly lined up to defend him from criticism. Some are even doing it now, knowing he’s not going to be on the team next year.
Garoppolo’s leadership has been praised from here to kingdom come throughout his tenure in San Francisco. In fact, it’s the quality that is most often cited when people are offering him praise.
As for hard coaching, few people are as tough on their quarterbacks as Kyle Shanahan. Whether it’s incredulous sideline reactions to poor play on the field or fiery rants on the sidelines, Kyle Shanahan isn’t afraid to let his quarterbacks hear it when they screw up. Jimmy Garoppolo has never expressed any problem with any of that. In fact, just the opposite.
Carson Wentz may have more physical ability, but Jimmy Garoppolo laps him when it comes to intangibles. The Colts will now have a new starting quarterback for the seventh straight year. Chris Ballard and Frank Reich need to win now, and they just went through a season with a petulant child at quarterback. Are they looking to go into 2022 with a quarterback that’s almost the exact opposite of the guy they just dumped? We may find out soon.
This story and more are featured in today’s 49ers in Five podcast. You can get up to date on everything you need to know with the team every weekday morning in about five minutes! Available everywhere podcasts are found.