What is the Indianapolis Colts’ Plan At Quarterback?

This morning, it was announced quarterback Phillip Rivers will be retiring from the National Football League. The 39-year-old gunslinger spent 16 years with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers before heading to the Indianapolis Colts for what turned out to be his last season in the league.

Now I could go into a deep dive of Rivers’ resumé, but there is another topic at hand that needs to be discussed: what are the Colts going to do about quarterback?

When talking about filling a position for any team, there are always four ways they can go: sign a free agent, draft a replacement, trade for a player, or manage with what is on the roster already.

Looking at the roster of the Colts, they currently have one quarterbacks on the active roster: Jacob Eason.

Eason was selected in the fourth-round of this past year’s draft, and based on reports they like what they have seen from him. That is despite the rookie getting no real playing time.

So if the Colts -who have a Super Bowl caliber roster right now- go into the season with Eason as their starter, they could be playing with fire.

With that being the case, it is likely the Colts go in one of the other three directions. They could draft a guy, but I am not sure any of the pro-ready quarterback in this draft class could fall to the 21st pick in the first round (maybe Mac Jones or Trey Lance?).

So if we knock of both ideas of drafting someone or going into the year with what they have, that leaves free agency and the trade market.

On the trade front, there are only a few options. Deshaun Watson is the obvious name to point out, but there is no way in hell the Houston Texans trade their star within the division.

Another prime candidate to be traded is Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz, but who knows where things stand with him and the team after the firing of Doug Pederson.

Sam Darnold of the New York Jets is another guy, but that is also in wait and see mode. That is considering the fact that New York has the second pick in the draft, prime position to snag up either Justin Fields or Zach Wilson. That is pretty much all she wrote on the trade front. I mean, something unforseen could happen in the offseason but I don’t know what that would be. Maybe Matt Ryan being let go by the Atlanta Falcons? Maybe the San Francisco 49ers cut ties with Jimmy Garopollo? Who knows.

Then comes free agency. A place where the Colts went fishing last year to catch ol’ Phil. This year, there is no Rivers on the market. The list of free agent quarterbacks includes (but is not limited to)

  • Jacoby Brissett
  • Dak Prescott
  • Jameis Winston
  • Mitchell Trubisky
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Tyrod Taylor
  • Andy Dalton
  • Cam Newton
  • Joe Flacco

You can pretty much cross of Prescott because the Dallas Cowboys seem willing to pay up for their star quarterback even after his gruesome ankle injury. Taylor, Newton, and Flacco can also be crossed out because during their playing time this season, they showed their best years are behind them and they do not have a ton left to give.

That leaves Brissett, Fitzpatrick, Winston, Dalton, and Trubisky. The Colts may try and re-sign Brissett, but the fact remains that they went out and got Rivers last offseason. They didn’t believe the former New England Patriot as their starter: that experiment had a mediocre outcome at best.

Fitzpatrick has shown he still has something to give, but I don’t see the Colts as a fit. His gunslinger mentality doesn’t really jive with the way the Colts played this year. Run the football, play good defense, don’t turn the ball over.

The same thing could be said about Winston and Trubisky, but do to both their young age (both 27) and draft pedigree, Frank Reich and company could be thinking that they have the keys to unlock their potential.

And last but not least, you have Andy Dalton. The former Cincinnati Bengal played pretty well for the Dallas Cowboys this year, and he is more than serviceable. The problem with him is that he isn’t anything special, and his playoff record speaks for itself.

It will be very interesting to see the route that the Colts take. My favorite idea is bringing the aforementioned Wentz to Indy to team back up with his former offensive coordinator. The year Wentz was with Reich was the year he was well on his way to a MVP award. Still, that situation in Philadelphia has to resolve itself first.

But after all is said and done, I honestly think that Indy ends up bringing in Dalton. He is veteran quarterback that can bridge the gap until Eason (or some other rookie) is ready. Dalton is better than Brissett, and could give them a chance to win week in and week out with their awesome ground game and their strong defense. The Red Rifle also won’t cost any trade assets, and will probably be available at a decent price.

Who do you think ends up under center for Indy in 2021? Leave your comments below!

– Jarrod Ribaudo (@jarrod_ribaudo on Twitter)

Featured image courtesy of Twitter / @TimeoutSP

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