Jacoby Brissett used to be considered one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL.
But Andrew Luck´s sudden retirement thrust Brissett into a starting role.
After 16 games as a starter, Jacoby Brissett is still considered one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL.
And the Indianapolis Colts are looking for their next starting quarterback.
While hanging out on the sidelines in Houston, I asked Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett what he thought of some rumors about the quarterback situation in Indy. “Just doing my job” #Colts pic.twitter.com/R8N4qoYr9R
— Dianna (@diannaESPN) March 9, 2020
With $84 million in cap space and a full set of draft picks, the Colts have options.
Pundits and fans are quick to offer all kinds of suggestions and possibilities.
Folks mentioned the Colts in the same social media entries as 8 free agents and 6 draftable quarterbacks.
And that was just yesterday.
— PFF (@PFF) March 8, 2020
Phillip Rivers is mentioned so often that his signing will almost seem anticlimactic.
Chris Ballard´s attention to Jordan Love makes him the best bet if Indianapolis drafts their next starter.
If free agency and the draft don´t offer enough possibilities, Nick Foles and Derek Carr are on the trade market.
Naturally, the Colts have been linked to both.
How Will the Colts Decide?
Chris Ballard and Frank Reich have been mum on the subject of their next quarterback.
Except for when they insist the jury is still out on Brissett.
NFL tampering rules play a role in their silence.
But they don´t talk about their draft plans, either.
How the team addresses their other holes might play a role in selecting their next quarterback.
Jim Irsay will be involved in the #Colts monumental QB decision this offseason.
How might Irsay’s involvement impact things in that decision?https://t.co/rbaTsiq96M
— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) March 3, 2020
It won´t do much good to hire a strong-armed rookie if Ballard can´t add a deep-threat wide receiver.
Selecting one of the top rookies precludes the need for an expensive veteran.
But if they wait for the later rounds, a bridge has to be found while the rookie is groomed.
There are some free agents capable of assuming the franchise passer role.
Then the Colts could use their draft picks on defense and receivers.
Irsay on the Colts quarterback situation: “All options are on the table.” Says he’s excited about the opportunities available and the future of the team.
— Heather Lloyd (@TheBlueMare) February 23, 2020
Or maybe the team is serious about giving Brissett another chance.
Ballard can shore up the rest of the team and use a top draft pick on his quarterback in 2021.
But here are the three best options for the Colts at quarterback.
1. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Chris Ballard might be enamored of Jordan Love.
But Tua Tagovailoa is simply better in both measurable and intangible ways.
Tagovailoa was the consummate top draft choice until he broke his hip last fall.
1.Bengals Joe Burrow QB LSU
2.Redskins Chase Young DE Ohio st
3.Colts(Lions) Tua Tagovailoa QB BAMA
Colts trade first Round Pick 13rd overall and Second Round Pick 34th Overall
4.Giants Jeff Okudah CB Ohio St
5.Dolphins Jordan Love QB Utah St
6.Chargers Isaiah Simmons LB/S Clemso
— Mario Salazar (@SuperStarcomedy) March 3, 2020
The former Alabama quarterback passed some critical physical tests this month.
He was cleared for light football duty.
Concerns about the healing process, especially blood flow and bone density, were dismissed.
So now the Colts only have to worry about his quarterbacking skills.
Tagovailoa is a strong-armed quarterback with enough touch to drop soft passes over the defense.
He completed an amazing 55-percent of passes thrown over 25 yards at Alabama.
Tua Tagovailoa (my #1 rated QB in this 2020 NFL draft Class)
Just sit back and enjoy… pic.twitter.com/QHVgfdFeqX
— @𝐂𝐅𝐁𝐋𝐢𝐯𝐞𝟐𝟒𝟕™ (@CFBLive247) February 26, 2020
It´s too early to tell if his mobility is affected by his injury.
But the Colts have an excellent offensive line and Tagovailoa has excellent poise in the pocket.
The only concern might be his left-handedness.
Lefties spin the ball differently than righties, and receivers need to get used to it.
They will, and that makes it worth trading up to the third or fourth pick to beat the Dolphins to their choice.
2. Teddy Bridgewater, Saints
Teddy Bridgewater was a 2014 first-round draft pick of Minnesota.
He played in a Pro Bowl before a devastating knee injury cost him his job in 2016.
Bridgewater´s doctors thought he might lose his leg.
But the quarterback beat the odds to return to the football field.
Teddy Bridgewater listed as top QB option for the Colts in free agency https://t.co/zD95Lbce5T
— Indiana Sports Coverage (@IndyCoverage) March 6, 2020
Backup roles in Minnesota and New Orleans helped him prove he was physically healed.
But starting five games for an injured Drew Brees in 2019 should earn him a starting role somewhere in 2020.
Bridgewater wasn´t flashy or spectacular for the Saints.
The correct answer is Teddy Bridgewater. My bias answer is James White. https://t.co/nEJGXSpl1g
— Pat Pryor (@patpryorgraphic) March 11, 2020
But he won all five games in Brees´absence by being accurate, mobile, and caring for the ball.
All told, Bridgewater threw for 1205 yards with 9 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
He completed 70-percent of his passes and showed he can move around with no ill effects.
Bridgewater probably won´t command top dollars for his services.
But at age 27, he could be the Colts starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.
A contract loaded with reasonable incentives could bolster an affordable salary enough to land Bridgewater.
3. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers
Chris Ballard is not one to spend a lot of money on splashy free agents.
But when it comes to a quarterback, he´d be hard-pressed to pinch pennies.
Jameis Winston threw for a career-high 5109 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2019.
Yet Bruce Arians and Tampa Bay decided to let him test free agency.
— Brian Hackney (@ProFootball411) March 11, 2020
His 30 interceptions, including an NFL record 7 pick-sixes, proved too much for the Buccaneers.
He was more likely to end a game with an interception than a comeback drive.
But what if Winston identified and repaired his interception problem?
2019 seemed to be an anomaly.
His career interception rate of 3% soared to 4.8%.
But Winston recently underwent corrective eye surgery to fix his vision.
— Larry Brown (@LBSports) February 12, 2020
Could fuzzy eyesight explain Winston´s erratic passing results?
It´s hard to say until we see results on the field.
That´s why this is a better idea if the Colts limit the years or can lower the salary demands of Winston.
Signing the former Buccaneer means the Colts have no interest in a rebuild.
What About the Other Rumors?
Frank Reich can adapt an offense to fit his personnel and their strengths.
One prime example is how he adapted the Eagles offense to make Nick Foles a Super Bowl MVP.
Jacksonville is anxious to dump Foles and his inflated salary on somebody.
— The Jaguars Wire (@TheJaguarsWire) March 8, 2020
Ballard could pull off a Brock Osweiler-type trade, giving up nothing to land Foles.
But that sounds like a late panic move if something else doesn´t work out.
Should the Colts draft a less-ready passer, Phillip Rivers does make the most sense as a bridge.
Tom Brady playing in the House that Peyton Built is too weird to consider.
The Giants and the Colts are not expected to pursue Tom Brady in free agency, according to a report. pic.twitter.com/qCHyBLVwpR
— Samuel Reis (@leumas1111) March 2, 2020
Case Keenum is a worthy backup plan if Rivers goes elsewhere.
Ryan Tannehill could be a long-term answer like Bridgewater unless 2019 was a fluke.
Marcus Mariota would serve no purpose other than to provide some competition to Brissett.
Any of the top four quarterbacks in the draft are worth a shot with Brissett ready to back them up.
But we like Tagovailoa, Bridgewater, or Winston with 20-20 vision the best.