The draft pick compensation in trades for two former franchise quarterbacks are virtual locks as we continue Week 13 of the season.
Carson Wentz and Baker Mayfield’s trades this offseason came with conditional picks that depended on the respective QBs playing at least 70% of their teams’ snaps. In 12 games, it’s now mathematically unlikely that either quarterback will reach that mark in the regular season, and their former teams won’t become as draft-rich next spring.
When the Commanders traded for Wentz and his contract this offseason, they dealt a third-round pick to Indianapolis along with a conditional third that could turn into a second if Wentz played 70% of the snaps. (Teams also traded 2022 second-round picks.)
Commanders have played 834 attacking snaps so far this season, according to Pro Football Reference. Wentz starred in 422 of those shots. If the team is averaging around 70 snaps per game as it has in the previous 12 games, Wentz would need to play nearly six full games to account for 70% of the team’s total snaps for 2022. Washington is down to just five games and Taylor Heinicke start Sunday against the Giants.
“It has nothing to do with it,” a COs source recently said on whether the decision to continue riding with Heinicke as a starter was tied to the draft pick’s compensation. The Commanders are in the midst of a playoff push in a competitive NFC East, and they won’t allow the idea of a third-round pick becoming a second-round pick to influence what they do throughout the game. along a playoff series.
When Carolina traded Mayfield, the Panthers sent a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick to Cleveland who could turn into a fourth if Mayfield plays in at least 70% of the snaps. The former No. 1 overall pick has been benched twice this season, and he’ll likely be third on the depth chart a week from now when Carolina comes back from their bye and takes on the Seattle Seahawks.
Mayfield has played in 372 of Carolina’s 705 offensive snaps this year, according to Pro Football Reference. At this rate, he would need to play about five and a half games to reach 70%, and Carolina has only five games left.
So what’s next for these two quarterbacks? Wentz has the best chance of seeing the field again in 2022, but both men are set to go on separate teams in 2023.
Mayfield is out of contract in 2023. Carolina will most likely target a franchise quarterback in the first round of the draft. The Panthers drafted Matt Corral in the third round last year, and they’re more likely to retain Sam Darnold or PJ Walker than Mayfield, or even one of the three.
While the Commanders are 2-4 with Wentz at center and 5-1 with Heinicke starting, the latter hasn’t quite played like a world champion in six games. The team is definitely improving with Heinicke starting, and there’s a lot to be said for that. But Heinicke’s performance wasn’t so spectacular that head coach Ron Rivera couldn’t return to Wentz in December if he needed to.
There’s no guaranteed money left on Wentz’s deal, and commanders can cut it this offseason without penalty. Depending on how Heinicke finishes the season, he could be in line for a new contract in Washington as a pending free agent. Washington also drafted Sam Howell in the fifth round of the 2022 draft.