- The Washington Times
Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay appears more than happy his team no longer has Carson Wentz.

Speaking publicly for the first time after trading the quarterback to the Commanders, Irsay told reporters that it was “very obvious” the Colts had to move on from Wentz after just one season. The Colts finished 9-8, but missed the playoffs because of back-to-back losses — including a Week 18 defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Wentz didn’t play well in either game and Irsay didn’t shy away from it.

“I think the worst thing you can do is have a mistake and try to keep living with it going forward,” Irsay said at the NFL owners meetings Tuesday. “For us, it was something we had to move away from as a franchise. It was very obvious.”

Irsay was particularly dismayed over Wentz’s performance against the Jaguars — a team that finished the season just 3-14. The quarterback threw for just 185 yards on 17 of 29 passing. 

The owner said a starting quarterback has to “pick you up and carry you” in a game like that. 

“No disrespect to Jacksonville, but I mean, they’re the worst team in the league,” Irsay said. “You play well and hard for the first quarter or so, and they’re looking to go to their locker room and clean it out. “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. You say, ‘My God, there’s something wrong here. It needs to be corrected.’ 

“I think that we feel like we did.”

The Colts replaced Wentz by trading for former Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan — a move that Colts general manager called “damn lucky.” According to The Athletic, Irsay confirmed that his team was going to move on from Wentz even if they didn’t find a trade partner. If the Colts hadn’t, they would have had to eat Wentz’s $15 million bonus.

The Commanders gave up multiple draft picks — swapping seconds and two third-rounders, one of which can become a second — instead. 

Irsay said Indianapolis’ meltdown “clearly wasn’t an accident” — indicating there was a larger problem at play. He revealed he spoke with multiple veterans about the team’s chemistry, holding conversations that he said were “very concerning.” 

Irsay said he came away with the impression that “something’s wrong here” and it needed to be fixed.

So, they sent Wentz to the Commanders.

Carson is not the scapegoat,” Irsay said. “It simply didn’t work out for us and what we are trying to accomplish. I mean, he’s a good man, a good father and a guy who put a lot of effort into the year and worked really hard and wanted to have success. It just didn’t work out. 

“And sometimes you feel like you have to move on because you can’t always persuade people to do things differently if they don’t want to do them differently.”

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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