INDIANAPOLIS – Here we go again.
The Colts once again face injury questions with their starting quarterback.
Carson Wentz had surgery on Monday to remove a bone from his injured left foot. Wentz will miss anywhere from 5-to-12 weeks, which means it’s a real possibility that the Colts will need to find a different starting quarterback early in the season. Even if Wentz would be ready in 5 weeks, that would leave just 3 days of practice before the season opener against Seattle.
In deciding how to handle life without Wentz, the Colts could go several directions.
Listening to the podcast, fans will know that I would like to Eason throw into the fire to see what you have in the young gunslinger.
But, I fully realize, other options could be more enticing to Chris Ballard and Frank Reich.
Let’s take a closer look at 4 options the Colts could go with at quarterback:
Start Jacob Eason
–Pros: This is the guy taking the starting reps right now in practice and will seemingly do so for the immediate future of camp, and in the preseason, too. Going with Eason would give the staff a terrific opportunity to (finally) evaluate their 4th round pick from 2020 in very real settings. Eason’s big arm would also inject some verticality into this passing offense. This move also wouldn’t ‘cost’ the Colts anything in terms of cap space or draft picks. It would also help most from a continuity standpoint, especially if Wentz only missed a game or two.
–Cons: Eason has never put on a jersey in an NFL game, regular season or preseason, let alone thrown a pass. Questions about his accuracy and progressions are there. Would Eason be ready to handle one of the toughest stretches to start an NFL season the league has ever seen?
Go With Brett Hundley
–Pros: Hundley is with the Colts (signed with the team on Saturday) so has already started to get some playbook work, and reps in practice. He has 9 career starts (3-6 record), experience that dwarfs Eason. Hundley brings more athleticism to the position than Eason, which could give more of a Carson Wentz-style QB, whereas Eason is a bit more stationary. Similar to Eason, this move wouldn’t exhaust major resources.
–Cons: Hundley is 3-6 as a starter, hasn’t made a start in the league since 2017 and is a career 59.1 percent passer with a yards per attempt of 5.6. Such a move would mean the Colts don’t feel comfortable seeing Eason as the starter, thus further delaying a true evaluation on the former 4th round pick.
Sign A Different Veteran QB
–Pros: This is something that will be fluid over the next month, given the list of names that are available right now. That list will grow as teams make cuts. It’s likely that making another veteran QB signing would give the Colts an upgrade over what they currently have, particularly in the experience department. If the level of QB play would improve, could the Colts salvage the start of the season, until Wentz returns?
–Cons: It would cost money, with the Colts having around $11 million in cap space (with a Darius Leonard extension on the horizon). Like was stated above, such a move would mean the Colts don’t feel comfortable seeing Eason as the starter, thus further delaying a true evaluation on the former 4th round pick. No matter when this signing was to happen (early or late August) this also would mean a QB with little familiarity in Frank Reich’s system would be cramming a bit to get ready for Week 1. That includes getting on the same page with pass catchers.
Trade For A QB
–Pros: Making a trade would, theoretically, give the Colts the best possible quarterback. That would be from a talent and experience standpoint. Doing this would give the Colts a better chance at getting through that early schedule gauntlet still in playoff/division position. If you are all-in on the 2021 season and seizing the opportunity in the present, this is the route to go.
–Cons: This is going to cost some draft capital, in all likelihood. And that means the Colts would be down two draft picks for 2022. Would a trade be worth it if Wentz’s absence is not expected to be too long? Like was stated above, such a move would mean the Colts don’t feel comfortable seeing Eason as the starter, thus further delaying a true evaluation on the former 4th round pick. No matter when this signing was to happen (early or late August) this also would mean a QB with little familiarity in Frank Reich’s system would be cramming a bit to get ready for Week 1. That includes getting on the same page with pass catchers.