ASHBURN, Va. (WAVY/AP) – The Carson Wentz experiment in Washington has ended.
The Commanders, who gave up multiple draft picks to acquire the quarterback from Indianapolis, announced Monday they have released Wentz. The team was able to get out of the final two years of Wentz’s contract without a salary cap penalty.
Wentz, 30, threw for 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions in eight games and went 2-5 as a starter. He was also sidelined for several weeks with a broken finger.
When former Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke had some struggles late in the season, Commanders coach Ron Rivera went back to Wentz, who threw three interceptions in a loss to Cleveland that took Washington out of the playoff race.
After that, Rivera named rookie Sam Howell as the starter for the regular season finale and the former North Carolina quarterback goes into the offseason as the starting QB.
Wentz, if he is signed by another team, would be joining his fourth team in as many seasons after starting his NFL career in Philadelphia.
The Commanders also released veteran safety Bobby McCain, which saves the team roughly $2.32 million in salary cap space.
McCain, 29, had four interceptions in 34 games over two seasons with Washington but none in 2022 for a defense that often played with three safeties on the field at once.
The Commanders must next decide what to do about standout defensive tackle Daron Payne, who led the team with a career-high 11½ sacks and could get a big payday in free agency. Putting the franchise tag on him at a price of $18.9 million — much less than the money saved by cutting Wentz — is one option.
If Payne is back, Washington’s defense will again have high expectations, especially with Chase Young fully healthy after recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee.
The Commanders are expected to change more on offense than defense after hiring two-time Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl-winning assistant Eric Bieniemy as coordinator and assistant head coach. That includes at quarterback after Wentz was shown the door.