— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) March 21, 2022
This came just days after the Colts traded Carson Wentz, their previous starting QB, to the Washington Commanders for two third-round draft picks.
Plenty of observers seem to think it is an improvement for Indianapolis.
But there are also plenty of people who think it didn’t do enough to become a truly elite team.
The team is coming off a season in which it finished 9-8 but narrowly missed the playoffs due to losing its final two regular season games to the Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars.
The question is, are the Colts now Super Bowl contenders with Ryan on board?
The Colts Certainly Have A Strong Team
Ryan brings the Colts arguably their best QB since Andrew Luck retired a few years ago.
Ryan formerly held that title for the Falcons, a team that he led to Super Bowl LI, only to blow a 25-point lead to the New England Patriots.
That season, he was named league MVP after throwing for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns against just seven interceptions while posting an eye-popping 117.1 passer rating.
Sure, he has declined a bit of late (he is 36 years old, after all) but he still completed 67 percent of his passes in 2021 for 3,968 yards and 20 touchdowns, despite playing on one of the NFL’s weakest offensive units.
Running back Jonathan Taylor has become the new star in Indy after a breakout season of 1,811 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 5.5 yards per rush.
In addition, Michael Pittman Jr. is a strong wide receiver who put up 1,082 yards last season.
Both he and Taylor are only entering their third seasons and should have plenty of room for improvement and refinement.
Now, Darius Leonard, the Colts’ First-Team All-Pro linebacker wants the team to sign Ryan’s old right-hand man to bolster the offense.
@juliojones_11 aye man hear me out! Matt have already thrown you a lot of touchdowns in the dome in Atlanta, y’all could finish what y’all started in Atlanta in the dome here in Indy! 👀
— Darius Leonard (@dsleon45) March 21, 2022
After a number of seasons in Atlanta, Julio Jones got traded to the Tennessee Titans a year ago.
Once one of the league’s most prolific wideouts, he has been slowed by injury in the last two campaigns.
The Titans recently released Jones, and he is still available and returns to form, the Colts would have one of the NFL’s better offenses.
The Case Against Ryan And The Colts
Unfortunately for the Colts, the simple fact is that Ryan just isn’t an elite NFL quarterback, especially at his advanced age.
Perhaps a few decades ago, when the league was more based upon the running game, such as the one Taylor provides the Colts, they would be able to contend with a good-but-not-great QB.
But in today’s NFL, they’ll need more than a declining Ryan.
Most of all, the rest of the AFC is simply too good.
One could make the case that there are as many as nine QBs in the conference who are currently better than Ryan.
In addition, multiple AFC teams, including the Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills, have made additions that will make them stronger this coming season.
In the end, unless the Colts successfully petition the NFL to let them move to the NFC (we kid), they just don’t have enough to contend for a spot in the Super Bowl.
Simply making the playoffs may be tough for them in such a loaded conference.