As the fourth and final season of the Frank Reich era nears its end, the Indianapolis Colts will likely be starting a sixth different quarterback. They will have had five different quarterbacks their first four seasons. The team is likely to look to upgrade the starting position this offseason through the draft or free agency. If Sam Ehlinger is healthy enough to start in September, he could get the chance to take over the starting role in the coming months.
The Colts were willing to move on from Carson Wentz last offseason without a viable Plan B. Their free-agent class was thin, and they had no first-round draft pick. The team was ready to move on. Wentz reached out to Jim Irsay, the owner, to clear the air. They spoke after a meeting. During that meeting, Wentz expressed gratitude for the opportunity.
Ryan is an experienced player with 14 NFL seasons under his belt. Ryan is expected to be respected in the Colts’ locker area, just like Carson Wentz in Atlanta and Philip Rivers in Atlanta. He is expected to be the sixth different player in 2022. The Colts will not find another quarterback with a better record of playing at the final whistle. Ryan hasn’t been a dominant player in the playoffs; his final-quarter numbers were mediocre.
The Colts have other options than Jones to choose a quarterback. Jimmy Garoppolo would require a high-end trade package and would start next season as the seventh or eighth best quarterback in the AFC. That’s the safest route, but he isn’t ELITE and the Colts’ chances of making the playoffs this year are slim. The Colts might have to draft someone from either the draft or the free agent market. Regardless of which route they take, the Colts will end up with a quarterback they’re unlikely to be able to develop over time.
Jimmy Garoppolo: The Colts could also consider trading for Jimmy Garoppolo, who was a favorite for a trade earlier this offseason. He has the traits of a good leader and can keep the offense from shooting itself in the foot. But the downside of this trade is his capped upside, and he would most likely be a rental for the Colts after a poor performance in 2017.
Sam Ehlinger: Despite having a reputation as a world-class talent with a questionable attitude, Ehlinger had a solid career with Texas. He played for four years with a so-so team before being traded to Atlanta. Ehlinger’s performance was so disappointing that the Colts decided to move on to a new generation. In the end, the Colts opted for Andrew Luck, a talented Stanford Cardinal quarterback. He was beaten up during his brief pro football career and had to accept the “suck for luck” campaign.
The Colts don’t have many options for a quarterback right now, but they do have a need and will likely draft a rookie in April. They will likely draft a young quarterback. Although there are no guarantees in the NFL’s future, a rookie quarterback could be a valuable asset in the long-term. It’s hard not to admire Luck’s ability overcome his injuries.