The move saves Washington $26.176 million on the salary cap this offseason. Wentz had two years remaining on his contract but had no guaranteed money.
The Commanders also released defensive back Bobby McCain on Monday, saving $2.32 million on the salary cap. If he’s designated as a post-June 1 release, the Commanders would save $4.42 million.
Wentz can now sign with any team before the start of free agency. Frank Reich, his former coach with the Indianapolis Colts — also his ex-offensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles — is now the head coach of the Carolina Panthers. It’s possible that Carolina could serve as a landing spot for Wentz in a backup role.
Washington ended up trading two third-round picks and swapping second-round picks in 2022 to acquire Wentz from Indianapolis last offseason.
But after throwing a combined seven touchdown passes in his first two outings, Wentz and the Commanders’ offense struggled. The team scored a combined 55 points in the first two games but only 47 over his next four starts. The offensive line did not protect him well, and the run game during that stretch was inconsistent at best.
He broke his right ring finger in a Week 6 win over the Chicago Bears, sidelining him for the next eight games. He returned to play the final two series in a 37-20 loss at the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 24. Washington started him the next week but he was ineffective, completing 16 of 28 passes for 143 yards and three interceptions in a 24-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns. He was named the third quarterback for the finale.
Wentz, the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft, was traded by Philadelphia in the 2021 offseason after losing his starting job to Jalen Hurts. He lasted one season as the Colts’ starter. He threw 27 touchdown passes to seven interceptions with the Colts.
In seven seasons and 92 starts, Wentz has thrown 151 touchdown passes to 66 interceptions. Injuries have disrupted his career. He tore his left ACL in 2017, spoiling what many considered an MVP season; and he hurt his back the next year.