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Commanders release QB Carson Wentz

The Washington Commanders announced on Monday that they have released quarterback Carson Wentz.

Wentz played a single season in Washington after arriving via trade last offseason. The Commanders acquired Wentz from the Indianapolis Colts with hope of reviving the former first-round pick's career after he lost starting jobs in Indianapolis and with the Philadelphia Eagles team that drafted him second overall in 2016.

Washington acquired Wentz in exchange for two third-round draft picks and a swap of 2022 second-round picks in the Colts' favor. Wentz made seven starts in Washington and was benched on multiple occasions.

The release will save Washington $26.17 million against the salary cap and further clears the path for 2022 rookie Sam Howell, whom head coach Ron Rivera said would start the offseason atop the quarterback depth chart. Wentz will become a free agent.

Dec 24, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA;  Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz (11) runs onto the field before the start of the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Quarterback Carson Wentz is on the move again, this time it isn't as a result of a trade. (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)

Will Wentz start again in the NFL?

The move marks an end to the four-year, $128 million contract extension Wentz signed with the Eagles in 2019. He ended up making roughly $105 million on the deal that had one non-guaranteed year remaining before his release on Monday. Will it also mark the end to Wentz's career as an NFL starter?

Wentz started his first five seasons in Philadelphia and emerged as an MVP candidate during his second campaign that saw him average 253.5 passing yards per game while tallying 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But he suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 14 of that season, and Nick Foles replaced him as the Eagles went on to win their first and only Super Bowl title.

Wentz returned and played three more seasons in Philadelphia, but showed significant decline in consecutive seasons after signing his four-year extension. The Eagles went 3-8-1 in games Wentz started in 2020 as he led the league with 15 interceptions thrown and 50 sacks taken. Philadelphia eventually benched Wentz in favor of then-rookie Jalen Hurts and traded him to the Colts the following offseason.

The Colts went 9-8 and missed the playoffs in Wentz's single season in Indianapolis before last offseason's trade sent him to Washington. Wentz completed 62.3% of his passes for 219.4 yards per game with 11 touchdowns, nine interceptions and 26 sacks taken in eight appearances for the Commanders in 2022.

Sam Howell time in Washington?

With the Commanders eliminated from the playoffs, Rivera went with Howell over Wentz at starting quarterback in Washington's season finale against the Dallas Cowboys. Howell completed 11 of 19 passes for 169 yards with a touchdown and interception and added 35 yards and touchdown on the ground in the 26-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

In the win, Howell showed flashes of the form that initially made him a first-round prospect at North Carolina before regression in his final college season saw him slide to the fifth round of last April's draft. It was enough for Rivera to give Howell a leg up for the starting job in Washington next season.

Washington now has a decision to make with Taylor Heinicke, who's started 24 games over the last two seasons after emerging in Washington's playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. The five-year pro will be a free agent this offseason barring a new deal with the Commanders.