Chiefs free agent grades: Carson Wentz signing earns positive marks for KC

Let's take a look at our latest free-agent grade for the Kansas City Chiefs.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Earlier this week, the Kansas City Chiefs signed quarterback Carson Wentz to serve as a backup for All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the upcoming 2024 season. This move is significant for both parties, as it provides the back-to-back Super Bowl champions with an experienced signal caller in the event that Mahomes is unable to play.

Wentz was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles with the second overall pick in the 2016 draft. He had an MVP-like season before suffering a season-ending back injury, after which Nick Foles led the Eagles to victory in Super Bowl 52.

Wentz struggled with injuries thereafter and was eventually replaced by current Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Wentz then played for the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Commanders in subsequent seasons, where he failed to replicate the success of his earliest years in the NFL.

In the 2023 season, Wentz began as a free agent before signing with the Los Angeles Rams midway through the season to serve as a backup for Matt Stafford. Wentz made one start for the Rams in Week 18 against the San Francisco 49ers, where he completed 17 passes for 163 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception in a 21-20 victory.

Despite the ups and downs of his career, Wentz has shown that he still has the talent and ability to be a decent quarterback in the NFL.

Andy Reid's Affinity for Veterans

As the head coach of the Chiefs, Andy Reid has shown a preference for having proven veterans as backups for his starters. Matt Moore, Chad Henne, and most recently Blaine Gabbert have all backed up Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes has been a reliable starter, missing only two games due to injury in 2019 following a knee dislocation.

When Mahomes sat out due to his injury, backup quarterback Matt Moore wou in for the dynamic play caller, and went 1-1 as the starter. This was enough to keep the Kansas City Chiefs train on the tracks until Mahomes returned.

In the 2022 Divisional Round against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mahomes was taken out of the game due to a high ankle sprain, and backup Chad Henne led the Chiefs' offense on a lengthy drive that ended with a Travis Kelce touchdown. Henne's drive was a significant factor in the Chiefs winning the game.

Reid's preference for experienced backups stems from the need to have players who can effectively and efficiently run the offense whenever called upon, regardless of the circumstances.

Why Carson Wentz in particular?

Wentz has demonstrated the ability to distribute the ball effectively and run the ball when necessary. He has also shown that he can adapt to different offensive systems, which will be crucial in Andy Reid's offense. Wentz's primary drawback has been his injury history, but the Chiefs are hopeful that they will not need him to be a long-term starter. If needed, he can simply step in and maintain the team's dynamic offense while Mahomes is out.

The details of Wentz's contract have not been released, but it is reported to be a one-year deal. If Wentz proves to be a reliable backup, other teams may consider giving him a chance as a starter while still only 32 years old, and the Chiefs can be confident that their offense will remain formidable if Mahomes is sidelined.

This is a great signing for the Chiefs. Wentz brings a lot of game time experience and has a 48-46 record showing two things: he has played a lot of games, and he's also won a lot of games. That being said, the only time I want to see Wentz taking meaningful snaps is in a Week 18 contest where the Chiefs are resting their starters. But in the case Wentz is asked to step up, I have confidence he will step up in a big way for the Chiefs.

Grading the signing: B+