The Indianapolis Colts are a team built to win now. While they are built to run the ball, it is impossible to win without a quality quarterback. However, this could be Philip Rivers’ final season.
The Colts should be thinking ahead to try and figure out their teams quarterback situation. If they land a quality quarterback, they could be Super Bowl contenders.
Although Rivers is very good at moving the ball downfield, his turnovers are very costly. He is a high-risk, high-reward quarterback. The Colts may opt to go with a quarterback who takes care of the football. The offensive line and run game are the strength of this team. A more conservative quarterback may be the smart choice.
While big money quarterbacks get more notoriety, there are plenty of quarterbacks looking for a chance to prove themselves again. Ryan Tannehill and Teddy Bridgewater are two examples of solid veteran quarterbacks signing team-friendly contracts.
Indianapolis may look to add a quarterback looking to prove himself for a lower price while they continue building the core of their team.
Free agency is one option, but the upcoming NFL Draft has a lot of very talented quarterbacks. With so many teams set at the QB position, some of these quarterbacks may fall. The Colts may even be willing to trade up to land a star quarterback as well.
Whoever the Colts get, they will have a lot of talent around them. Here are four quarterback options the Colts could look at in the offseason to replace Philip Rivers.
Sam Darnold – New York Jets
Every indication is that the New York Jets will hold a top-two pick in the upcoming draft. That means either Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields. It is unlikely that the Jets will pass on either of those talents.
It is also very likely the Jets will be getting a new GM and a new head coach. Typically when this happens, coaches like to bring in their own guys to help set an identity. There is likely going to be a new starting quarterback for the Jets next season.
While he has been less than spectacular for the Jets in his tenure, Sam Darnold shows flashes of greatness. The Jets have done absolutely nothing to help Darnold grow as a quarterback. If the Jets are going with a new QB, it’s likely they will look to trade Darnold.
On the Colts, Darnold would have weapons and a very good offensive line.
Although he will likely come at a price, the Colts should be willing to pay that price. A late second or third-round pick is well worth it for a player who could be a franchise cornerstone. Darnold has a lot of arm talent, but due to a lack of playmakers he has struggled with the Jets.
Zach Wilson – BYU Cougars
This draft class is full of talent at the quarterback position. Many quarterbacks have the talent to be the face of an NFL franchise with some time and good coaching. One player who likely would be higher on draft boards if this were 2019 is Zach Wilson.
Wilson has a tremendous arm and there are flashes of greatness in his game. While he likely won’t be the star Trevor Lawrence is, he could be a steal for the Colts in the mid-to-late first round.
While he has fantastic arm strength and is very good at throwing on the run, there are areas of improvement. Wilson can at times get too caught up in making the big play, which results in sacks. He also had some issues with accuracy in 2019.
Another concern is his size. Although he is 6-foot-43 he is only 210 pounds. Wilson will need to add some muscle or else injuries may become a concern.
While Wilson isn’t perfect, he has a lot of potential. There is risk taking him late in the first, but that risk could yield a high reward. Wilson is athletic, throws a beautiful ball, and as he matures he will understand not every play will be a home-run.
He reminds me of a Russell Wilson level talent, but there’s risk of him being a Johnny Manziel without the off-field issues. Wilson would be a better fit than Philip Rivers.
Trey Lance – North Dakota State
With all the spotlight on Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields, Trey Lance is going relatively unnoticed. He is a quarterback with a ton of talent. He can run the ball almost as well as he can throw.
The North Dakota State prospect has unbelievable potential. Lance is the perfect fit for a Colts team that loves running the football. Designed QB runs are a possibility and many teams are moving away from the prototypical pocket quarterback and looking to add more athleticism behind center.
There are some concerns with Lance. The first issue is he wasn’t very precise as a passer in North Dakota States lone game this year. He has been away from football for virtually a whole season. Lance also never faced a truly great defense.
His accuracy can get spotty at times as well, but the upside is undeniable. The Colts would likely have to move up in the draft to get him, but it would be worth it to add Lance to an already very talented team.
We have seen Carson Wentz play at a fairly high level in the NFL. He also went to North Dakota State, so the competition disparity is a little less worrisome. Lance is also statistically a much better quarterback than Wentz was while playing for the Bison.
This would be a very wise decision if the Colts opt to go with the North Dakota State prospect.
Jameis Winston – New Orleans Saints
There was some temptation to put Dak Presscot here, but after watching the Cowboys struggle they would be foolish not to re-sign their star quarterback. However, Jameis Winston could be on the move next season.
Before backing up Drew Brees, Winston was the league leader in passing yards. Winston is a gunslinger, much like Philip Rivers. If the Colts want to keep being aggressive with their passing attack, Jameis is a perfect fit.
While he is responsible for the first 30 touchdown, 30 interception season in NFL history, Winston has talent. A lot of those issues could have been because Winston couldn’t see downfield. He had corrective eye surgery in the offseason, and we will see how that effects his game.
With Drew Brees out for at least a few weeks with a punctured lung, Winston has a chance to showcase his skillset. If there’s a noticeable improvement to his game after the eye surgery, he could be a fantastic option for the Colts.
While his style of play will likely cause some turnovers, Philip Rivers is doing the same thing. There is a very good chance that the Colts would be able to sign Winston for relatively cheap. Indianapolis could continue building a strong defense and improving other areas of their game.
The Colts’ commitment to their run game would limit Winton’s turnovers. The Colts could still be a contender with Jameis Winston under center.