Heading into the 2021 season, there is one massive question facing the Indianapolis Colts: who will be their starting quarterback? Ever since drafting Peyton Manning in 1998, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback situation has been fairly solid. Aside from the year between Manning and Andrew Luck, of course. Since Luck retired early, it seemed it was Jacoby Brissett. But then they signed Philip Rivers before the 2020 season. With the news of Rivers’ retirement, there are four ways the Indianapolis Colts quarterback dilemma can be solved.
Who Will Be The Indianapolis Colts Quarterback in 2021?
The first option is likely the longest stretch. If the Colts felt like Eason could have been the quarterback of the future, they might not have signed Rivers in the first place. Regardless, Eason was selected in the fourth round of the 2020 draft with the 122nd pick.
Eason was a highly-recruited quarterback at Georgia and had a very good freshman year. After entering the 2017 season as the starter and subsequently getting injured, he lost the starting job to Jake Fromm and transferred to Washington. There, after sitting out a year due to transfer rules, Eason threw for 3,132 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Eason has not even appeared in a single game at the NFL level. With Rivers retiring and Brissett likely hitting free agency, Eason has to prove that he can be trusted to be the Indianapolis Colts quarterback. Unless he has been exemplary as the third-stringer and has convinced coach Frank Reich that he’s the man for the job.
Sign a Free Agent
There are quite a few quality free-agent quarterbacks on the market. As of now, it is estimated that the Colts will have nearly $65 million in cap room.
Dak Prescott, as of now, is set to hit the market. Considering how mum the Cowboys have been regarding their “negotiations” with Prescott, he could hit the market. It’s very unlikely, however, and they will probably just franchise tag the star quarterback.
Jacoby Brissett is the second-highest rated quarterback according to Spotrac‘s free agency tracker. Brissett may have an inside track, due to the shared familiarity. But it’s just as possible that Brissett may have worn out his welcome and would seek a fresh start.
Mitchell Trubisky and Andy Dalton are the only remaining starting quarterbacks remaining, even marginally. Cam Newton could have played his way into a new job, but his time in New England was less than ideal.
If they don’t sign Prescott or Brissett, don’t expect a splash quarterback signing.
Trade for a veteran
As of now, there are three quarterbacks who are likely to be traded. One has been confirmed, as Matthew Stafford requested a trade from the Detroit Lions on Saturday. The 2009 first-overall pick has had a statistically great 12 years in Detroit, passing for 45,109 yards and 282 touchdowns. Stafford has plenty of great football left. Give him a competent franchise with an elite offensive line, Stafford will lead Indy to the playoffs yet again.
Carson Wentz has also been linked to being traded, though nothing has been officially decided. The Philadelphia Eagles‘ quarterback has been much maligned over his career and carries with him a hefty contract. Despite playing like an MVP in 2017, Wentz has never solidified himself as an elite-level quarterback.
Only playing in 12 games in 2020, Wentz led the league with 15 interceptions. The Colts’ situation is more secure than the Eagles’. They have better receivers, offensive line, and running game. They wouldn’t need Wentz to be magical. He just needs to not complete passes to the defense.
The final on-the-block quarterback is Deshaun Watson. Watson is a top quarterback in the league and Indianapolis would have to give up a whole lot to get him. Taking away the obvious fact that it would be an inter-divisional trade that would send shockwaves through each franchise, Watson is worth just about any asking price.
It would never happen, but if Watson were the 2021 Indianapolis Colts quarterback, I’d consider them a super bowl favorite. Get him another weapon and they would rival the Kansas City Chiefs.
Draft a Quarterback
As it stands, the Colts have the 21st pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Barring a massive free fall by one of the top quarterback prospects, they will likely have to trade up.
Mac Jones, the quarterback from Alabama, is certainly a name to watch. He’s not considered to be a first-round worthy prospect by many of the pundits, but crazier things happen every year. Even then, the Colts could trade back and still get their guy. His playstyle fits what the Colts like to do. He’s very accurate one short and intermediate routes that allow his receivers to steal the show. Not to mention he could go from dumping off passes to Najee Harris to Jonathan Taylor.
His weakness is his mobility and athleticism. Now, where have we seen that before in an Indianapolis Colts quarterback?
Another name to watch, albeit a more likely selection in a later round, is Kyle Trask. Trask was phenomenal at Florida and was having one of the most prolific years in SEC history. This, just a year removed from Joe Burrow‘s magical run. However, recency bias is quite a drug. His performance in the Cotton Bowl was…terrible. Given, he was missing every established weapon due to opt-outs. Even then, his throws were off and he looked rattled from the get-go.
Regardless, Trask is quite an intriguing prospect. He’s got the size, the strength, and all of the other tools you want.
Plenty of Options for the Colts
As a whole, the Indianapolis Colts are a solid team. They will have to either re-sign or replace a number of players like T.Y. Hilton, Justin Houston, Malik Hooker, and Xavier Rhodes. But whoever ends up as the Indianapolis Colts quarterback in 2021 will have a favorable situation to walk into. It’s all up to Reich: will he go with an established veteran or an unrealized youngster?