The Indianapolis Colts surprised many fans this season as they were one of the better teams in the NFL and were a few decisions away from beating the Buffalo Bills. However, this Colts team was held back by one position and that was the quarterback. Phillip Rivers lack of mobility and arm strength limited what this offense could do. The Colts have a top 5 defense and the 3rd most cap space in the league so they are in prime position for a Super Bowl run for years to come. Heres how they could address the quarterback situation after news that Phillip Rivers retired broke.
Jacob Eason/Jacoby Brissett
The first option for the Indianapolis Colts is to look into their backups or the draft. Their two backups last year were Jacoby Brissett and rookie Jacob Eason. Brissett, as the starter, led the Colts to a 7-9 record. Brissett, however, was very inconsistent with his play. He had moments of brilliance, but he was indecisive and inaccurate for most of the games he played. With Brissett at quarterback the Colts were in the bottom half of the league with pass plays of 20 plus yards. Brissett had the Colts in position to win games, but had costly mistakes like taking sacks and not going through his progressions. However, Brissett had limited weapons outside of TY Hilton and with the addition of Micael Pittman, the emergence of Campbell and Pascal and cap space to sign a receiver, Brissett could flourish in Indianapolis.
Eason has yet to play an NFL snap but reports are that the Indianapolis Colts are impressed with what they are seeing. Eason flourishes out of play action and is not afraid to take risks down the field.. With a top 5 O-Line and top 5 running back core, this system that the Colts could adopt would put Eason in a great spot to succeed. However, he doesn’t go through his progressions and he still needs to work on his mechanics. I would like to see a quarterback battle between the two for at the very least, the backup spot.
Draft a Quarterback
In the draft, the Indianapolis Colts should look for quarterbacks late. One prospects I identified is Kyle Trask. They could land Trask in the second to third round. Although he needs to improve his decision making, Trask has a good build, strong arm and is an accurate passer. Sitting behind a veteran for a year could set Trask up to be a good starter in the NFL.
Another option for the Colts could be Mac Jones from the University of Alabama, however, he is a projected first rounder. Jones was a great college quarterback but benefited from the best offensive line and arguably best receiving core in college football. Alabama quarterbacks also have had the tendency to fall out of the league, much like Ohio State quarterbacks. Jones is an accurate passer, good decision maker, great passer and field vision. However with a one year sample size its hard to judge how Jones will pan out in the league.
Trade For Matthew Stafford/Carson Wentz
The least likely option, but also the chance that gives the Colts the chance to compete now is to trade for either of these two quarterbacks mentioned. Stafford has been criminally underrated in his career and with Detroit not looking like a winning team, Stafford wants out. I would trade a first rounder and a third rounder along with a young quarterback prospect like Eason. This move gives the Colts a top 10 quarterback and would shoot them to a top 3 team in the AFC.
Wentz would be cheaper, but you do not know what you will get out of him. He had his MVP caliber season under Frank Reich in 2017 in which he threw 33 touchdowns 7 interceptions and 3296 yards in 13 games. However, if reunited with former OC Frank Reich, Wentz could return to his 2017 form. I would trade a second, third and fifth round pick for Wentz. A trade for Wentz would boost the Colts to a top 5 team in the AFC, but there is also more risk that comes with Wentz.
The Colts have a win now window with a top 5 defense, a top 5 offensive line and great running backs. They are lacking playmakers on offense and need a quarterback to stretch defenses vertically. With the third most cap space in the league, the Colts are in prime position to make big moves in free agency and solidify themselves as a top team in the NFL.