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Indianapolis Colts still to decide Carson Wentz's future with the team

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts are still working through the process that will decide quarterback Carson Wentz's fate with the franchise, general manager Chris Ballard said Tuesday.

"I don't have a direct answer for you," Ballard said at the NFL's scouting combine. "Jim [Irsay], Frank [Reich] and I will sit down over the next 10 days and figure out where it's going. Ultimately, we'll do what's best for the team in the short term and in the long term."

The Colts are in the position of possibly looking for their third different starting quarterback in as many offseasons. They gave up a third-round pick in the 2021 draft and a first-round pick in the 2022 draft to acquire Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles in February 2021.

Wentz threw for 3,563 yards with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season. What he rarely did, however, was take over games, especially in the final two weeks of the regular season, when the Colts needed just one win to make the playoffs. He didn't throw for more than 185 yards in either of those games, completing 58.9% of his pass attempts and throwing a total of two touchdowns.

Wentz's in-game decisions frustrated members of the organization at different times during the season, and Ballard said after the season that he wasn't ready to fully commit to Wentz for 2022.

"Ultimately, you have to have a guy you believe in and you can win with," Ballard said. Ballard was then asked why they didn't believe in Wentz.

"I'm not saying we don't," Ballard said. "I think as we sit down and work through whether Carson is the best long-term answer or not is the best way I can put it. We're not there yet, I'm not there. That's something we'll talk about as a group and move forward. Whatever decision we make will be the best one for us."

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on Super Bowl Sunday that the chances of Wentz returning to Indianapolis for a second season looked "bleak."

Wentz will get $15 million whether he's on the Colts' roster or not next season, but the team can save about $13 million if it releases him by March 18. His contract runs through 2024, though there is a potential out after 2022.

The quarterback position has been a nightmare for Ballard since he was hired by the Colts in the winter of 2017. After missing the 2017 season, Andrew Luck led the Colts to the playoffs in 2018, only to suddenly retire two weeks before the start of the 2019 season. Jacoby Brissett failed to secure the position long-term that season. Veteran Philip Rivers served as a bandage for the Colts in 2020, and the team expected that Wentz would stop the revolving door at the position.

But here the Colts are again, uncertain as to whom the Week 1 starting quarterback will be.

"I think about all the time," Ballard said. "Also with a measured approach, knowing you have to be right. Even if you might not be right all the time, that's the one position you have to keep firing away at until you get it right."