For the last few weeks it seemed like the questions surrounding the Colts and the future at QB were narrowed down to which prospect they will take in next month’s NFL Draft.
Despite not trading up to obtain the top pick, the Colts are publicly expressing confidence that they can find their “guy” at #4.
Plus, they found their veteran QB in Gardner Minshew with the expectation that, barring a substantial leap from the QB they draft, he will be under center Week 1 and can be the bridge to the next face of the franchise. (They can say all they’d like about Minshew having to compete for the job. That’s just coach speak. Of course he’s going to have to compete. Unless their prospect outclasses Minshew, he’s the starter to open the year.)
So that’s it right? Open and shut case. Colts sign the veteran + Colts draft the rookie QB = building towards championship contention?
Unfortunately, if it were that easy teams like the Browns, Jets, and Commanders wouldn’t go through QBs the way Joey Chestnut goes through hot dogs on the 4th of July.
Still, it’s as good a path as any. Take a rookie QB and the team friendly contract that comes with it, build around him aggressively, and hope you profit.
The Seahawks did it and won a Super Bowl with Russell Wilson. So did the Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes.
Other side of the coin, the Bengals did it and are on their last rookie contract window with Joe Burrow. They made it to a Super Bowl and lost. The Bills did it with Josh Allen and made an AFC Championship game.
Despite that, most Colts fans would kill for Burrow and Allen. One was a no brainer draft selection, the other was a project. Both turned into superstars.
It’s not guaranteed to work for the Colts, but at least they are drafting a rookie QB and have finally come to terms with the fact that a retread QB is not the answer.
They have come to terms with that…right?
Enter Lamar Jackson. A few seasons ago, he was the NFL MVP and belonged on the list of Top QBs in the sport. Since then? Injuries galore, statistical dips and a desire to get a massive fully guaranteed contract like the one Deshaun Watson received from the Browns last year.
Yet, it’s clear that when, when healthy, he’s a piece that can drag a team to a playoff berth. The difference in the Ravens with or without Lamar is night and day.
It’s important to note, however, that we have seen how far Lamar can take a team without a strong supporting cast. It’s a trip to the postseason…and that’s about it.
When looking at what the Colts roster looks like offensively compared to the Ravens of years past, there isn’t a massive upgrade present. (Except Jonathan Taylor is better than any RB Lamar has ever had).
Which brings us back to our initial question; are the Colts actually interested in Lamar Jackson?
Lamar Jackson to the Colts? 👀 pic.twitter.com/piFDHIKa3w
— PFF (@PFF) March 27, 2023
Indianapolis has to ask if bringing in Lamar Jackson on a massive contract makes them Super Bowl contenders from the moment they acquire him to the end of the deal.
With how the Colts roster is currently structured, plus the way the contract would handcuff them, the answer to that question is no.
More specifically, the Colts respect Lamar enough to “do their due diligence” but don’t view him as a viable solution in their quest to compete for Super Bowls.
If the Colts had Miami’s roster, where it feels like that offense is a dynamic QB away, I’d be leading the charge to bring Lamar here.
They aren’t on Miami’s trajectory though, and to bring in Jackson without presenting him with a clear upgrade in the offensive supporting cast department, would push the Colts into a dark space. A space where they are expected to win now, even though they would clearly be miles behind the real contenders in the AFC.
When taking everything into consideration, the stated interest in Lamar Jackson appears to be nothing more than a professional courtesy by the Colts.
At the end of the day, the plan should still be to find the QB in the draft. We have only 30 days until we find out who that QB will be.
Tuesday on The Fan Midday Show Joel A. Erickson of the IndyStar joined to give his thoughts on the Colts-Lamar Jackson rumors.
During the course of the chat Joel spoke on:
- the interest level of the Colts in Lamar Jackson
- comments made by Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard about Lamar
- what is most likely to happen with Lamar
- what he feels the Colts will do in next month’s NFL Draft
Listen to our full conversation with Joel A. Erickson below and don’t miss The Fan Midday Show, weekdays 12-3pm Eastern, on The Fan.
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