Listen Live

INDIANAPOLIS Alright, the Colts will have a new quarterback for a 6th straight season opener.

From Scott Tolzien in 2017 to Carson Wentz in 2022, the Colts have had a revolving door at the most important position in sports.

That’s astonishing, but it’s also reality.

Where do the Colts now turn for a new quarterback with Carson Wentz traded to Washington on Wednesday (and the Colts getting a nice trade haul in return)?

Let’s examine the three options:

1. Trade for a quarterback: Are we down to Jimmy Garoppolo as the only realistic trade option in 2022? One would think Josh McDaniels didn’t take the Raiders job thinking he wanted Derek Carr out. With Russell Wilson in Denver, Aaron Rodgers staying in Green Bay and Deshaun Watson unlikely to be in play, this avenue to pursue for the ‘quickest, most lucrative’ fix isn’t as flushed with options as you’d like it to be. With Garoppolo, you’d be taking on a similar contract that Wentz carried, and the question remains how much of an upgrade it would actually be. Sure, Garoppolo has experienced playoff success, but he also had two special pass catching weapons this past season in San Francisco that aren’t in Indy. He might be steadier than Wentz, even a slight improvement, but his individual play in the postseason has held his team back from reaching the peak of the mountain. Then you have the health element. Jimmy G just had shoulder surgery which is going to sideline him for a substantial part of the offseason. Does that create some pause for the Colts, given the desire for offseason work between the new QB in a new offense with new personnel? Garoppolo, 30, tore his ACL in 2018 (missing 13 games). Ankle issues in 2020 caused him to miss 10 games in 2020. And now this throwing shoulder ailment will sideline him, potentially into training camp. Again, typically a trade offers the path to the quickest fix and have the Colts in a position to be a January-type team next year. But is Garoppolo that guy? One would probably slot Kirk Cousins, if available, or Matt Ryan, below Jimmy G, for a variety of reasons. For those curious about Jordan Love, the Colts were not fans of his leadership actions entering the draft in 2020. If the Watson trade domino falls in the AFC, that’s where a Baker Mayfield could factor in.

2. Sign a free agent: If you want to cry, then look at the list of free agent quarterbacks in 2022. Ryan Fitzpatrick? Cam Newton? Andy Dalton? Marcus Mariota? Jameis Winston? How about Jacoby Brissett? It’s one of the grimmest looking quarterback free agency classes in years. The question you are weighing here is are those names an upgrade over Wentz? That’s highly debatable. Hell, would throwing Sam Ehlinger into the fire be that worse off than some of these names? Such a signing would likely keep the Colts in quarterback purgatory. Resource wise though, this is the safest move and does bring some change at QB. How much though? Would it make sense to sign one of these veteran names and then double back in the draft with a higher QB pick there?

3. Draft a quarterback: In the AFC this season, the Titans, Colts and Broncos were the only teams who didn’t draft their starting quarterback. It’s difficult (very difficult) to find the long-term answer at QB unless it comes from the draft. Drafting the right guy isn’t easy, but it’s the clearest path to (potential) sustained success. Plus, selecting a rookie with identified traits in the early-ish rounds—one that has a clear NFL mind (compared to a re-tread QB via trade or free agency)—would give Frank Reich something to develop for really the first time in his Colts head coaching career. Isn’t that playing to Reich’s coaching strengths? Of course when looking at the 2022 Draft, the quarterback class is weak, historically weak. With Wednesday’s trade, the Colts are now selecting at No. 42 overall, so 10 spots outside of Round 1. They have some extra draft capital too, with an additional 3rd rounder in 2022 and 2023 (that could turn into a 2nd rounder), added. Could the Colts find a QB in the 2nd round (Derek Carr was drafted 36th overall in 2014 and Jimmy Garoppolo was taken 62nd overall in 2014, too) or trade up higher, possibly even to the back end of the 1st round (a la the Ravens with Lamar Jackson at No. 32 overall). Such a selection would take some patience and development, but the reward could be huge. Again, none of these answers offer obvious solutions. But an exhaustive look at it a must.