Player for Browns to watch No. 1: Carson Wentz, QB
The Browns could have drafted Carson Wentz in 2016, but chose to trade back for Corey Coleman and a flock of draft picks. Eventually, Cleveland wound up with Denzel Ward and Joe Schobert, so it wasn’t terrible. However, the immediate return was Corey Coleman. He could run fast and came from Baylor, the same school that brought us Josh Gordon. What could be better?
At one point Wentz was being hailed as a potential MVP candidate for Philadelphia, though he eventually got injured. Philadelphia won the Super Bowl anyway with Nick Foles as the quarterback.
Wentz wound up with a four-year, $128 million contract extension, with $107 million in total guarantees. His salary cap hit this year is $28.3 million this season, good for sixth overall. He’s probably overpaid, but hey, good for him.
His rival in Washington is Taylor Heinicke, whose cap hit is $3.4 million, or 39th in the NFL. Heinicke is 5-3-1 on the season versus 2-4 for Wentz, though completion percentage and INT percentage are about the same.
Wentz seems to have great talent, although there are rumors that he doesn’t have great people skills. In Indianapolis, he managed to get embroiled in controversy over Covid vaccines. Fairly or not, he could not hang on to his starting job.
Coach Ron Rivera was not at all certain that Wentz deserved to regain his starting job over fill-in Taylor Heinicke but ultimately decided to trust the veteran one more time.
One thing that Browns fans might take away from all this is that Kenny Zampese might be a really good quarterback coach. Recall that Zampese was the quarterback coach when Baker Mayfield had a very good rookie season in 2018.
When he was purged by Freddie Kitchens, perhaps out of fear that he might be too friendly with Hue Jackson (heck, he might be wanting hugs or something!), Mayfield backslid in 2019. Zampese also did very well with Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer at Cincinnati. Let’s keep an eye on Zampese in the future.