The Indianapolis Colts entered the 2022 NFL offseason with several important questions to answer. They had made it abundantly clear they wanted to trade Carson Wentz, they didn’t have a left tackle on the roster, their wide receiver room was weak, and their defense was in shambles.
This, of course, was all happening fresh off an utterly embarrassing Week 18 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, which knocked Indy out of the postseason picture altogether. The Colts needed to make significant changes all across the roster. The only question was, how?
The Colts swapped Carson Wentz for Matt Ryan
No matter what happened with the rest of the team, Colts owner Jim Irsay was hellbent on replacing Carson Wentz this offseason. He didn’t even care if general manager Chis Ballard or head coach Frank Reich agreed. For reasons that will likely never be revealed to the public, Irsay wanted Wentz off his football team ASAP.
This resulted in a bit of a jumbled mess in Indianapolis. The Colts successfully traded Wentz to the Washington Commanders (they even got good draft capital back in return). However, it left the Colts with no clear plan of attack at the QB position moving forward.
They didn’t have enough first-round picks in hand to make a serious run at Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson, and the free agency market was barren. The Colts’ best options post-Wentz trade appeared to be Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. Not great.
However, thanks to a massive stroke of luck, the Atlanta Falcons decided to put the full-court press on after Deshaun Watson. This unsettled Matt Ryan, making him expendable in trade talks even after Watson chose the Cleveland Browns. The Colts swooped in and snagged the soon-to-be 37-year-old Ryan for a third-round pick.
Why Jim Irsay thanks the ‘football gods’ for landing Matt Ryan
Once the dust settled on the Wentz and Ryan trades, Jim Irsay offered some profound insight into how the two deals went down. Irsay spent most of his time criticizing and bashing Wentz (which is not a great look from Irsay at all). However, his brief comments on Ryan paint the picture of an organization that had no clue what they were doing this offseason.
Irsay said he is “extremely grateful to the football gods” for landing Ryan this offseason. Clearly, the Colts did not envision Ryan becoming available this offseason. Instead, Irsay was happy to force his front office into dumping Wentz without a clear follow-up plan.
There’s a real scenario where the Colts would have been forced to sign Mariota or Winston this offseason, effectively eliminating them from the hyper-competitive AFC playoff picture.
Did the Colts do enough this offseason?
While everyone is high-fiving each other for landing Ryan this offseason, it’s important to note the Colts haven’t done much concerning their other roster weaknesses.
They still don’t have a left tackle, they missed out on all the notable wide receivers this offseason, and the only defensive upgrade has been DE Yannick Ngakoue, a slightly above-average pass rusher at best.
It’s even more important to note that Ryan isn’t the Ryan he was a few years ago. The long-time Falcons starter ranked 18th in passer rating and 22nd in QBR last season — both well below Wentz.
There’s a half-decent chance Ryan is a downgrade compared to Wentz.
Regardless, Irsay has made his bed this offseason, and now he will have to sleep in it. Only time will tell if his obsession to get rid of Wentz was justified.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.