The 2020 season ended in heartbreak for the Indianapolis Colts. They fell to the Buffalo Bills 27-24 in the wild-card round after a commendable comeback effort. Heading into the offseason, Frank Reich and Indy have a big question mark around who will be the team’s starting quarterback going into next year.
This has been a lingering question for the Colts since last offseason, given that Phillip Rivers isn’t getting any younger. The Colts are in the position to go after almost any quarterback they want because of their cap space and assets. There were even rumors Carson Wentz could come to Indy, reuniting him with Frank Reich. If Reich gets his way, the Colts won’t be going after Wentz this offseason.
The Colts are seen as a perfect landing spot for Carson Wentz
The Colts have been one of the teams that could become a great spot for Wentz to end up if the Philadelphia Eagles want to move him. The Eagles benched Wentz against the Green Bay Packers for Jalen Hurts. Hurts showed flashes of his potential, signaling that Wentz was on his way out of Philly. The reports that he and head coach Doug Pederson’s relationship was “fractured beyond repair” by ESPN’s Chris Mortenson only supported those thoughts.
Wentz going to Indy makes a lot of sense. The Colts have the cap space to work around his contract, there is a solid offensive line to protect him, and the weapons at Wentz’s disposal would be numerous if he was with the Colts. Not to mention he would have the security of a defense that was one of the best in the NFL this season. The big key to Wentz working in Indy would be Frank Reich as the head coach.
When Carson Wentz was playing the best football of his career, Reich was his offensive coordinator. In 2017, Reich was the play coordinator for the Eagles, the season where Wentz threw for 3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns, and seven interceptions in 13 games. The on-field success was great, but the off-field relationship Reich and Wentz had was more important. Reich’s ability to hold Wentz accountable and coach him with patience proved beneficial during their time together.
The prospect of Wentz joining his former coordinator in Indy has garnered mixed reactions. Some see it as a great move for both sides; some see it as a mistake. Indianapolis could be in the market for a quarterback, depending on what Phillip Rivers decides to do. It seems like Frank Reich has already decided who he wants under center for the 2021 season.
Frank Reich wants Philip Rivers as his starting quarterback next season
The Colts signed Philip Rivers to a one-year contract last offseason. This year, he played reasonably well, throwing for 4,169 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions per ESPN. He led the Colts to an 11-5 record, getting them in the playoffs for the first time since 2014. After the wild-card loss to Buffalo, Rivers wasn’t sure of what his NFL future would look like. He is 39 years old and will become a free agent.
“Whatever is God’s will for me and my family, if it’s here playing another year in Indy, then we’ll be here,” said Rivers per ESPN. Rivers posted the third-best completion percentage of his career (68%) in his lone season in Indy. If it were up to Frank Reich, Rivers would be back in Indy as the Colts starting quarterback.
“As I sit here right now, yes, I want Philip Rivers to be my starting quarterback next year. I think Philip still has a lot of good football [left],” said Reich. Even though Reich wants Rivers as his quarterback next year, it isn’t his decision. Owner Jim Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard will have a say in deciding whether Indianapolis will bring Rivers back.
The quarterback situation in Indy will be one of the bigger storylines throughout the offseason. They have multiple avenues to explore potential quarterbacks, but they will need one because they won’t have many on their roster going into 2021.
The Colts’ offseason quarterback situation
Indy is going to need a quarterback next season. With an excellent defense and a plethora of offensive weapons, this Colts roster has the talent to compete for a Super Bowl. They have the No. 21 pick in the draft, making it unlikely they draft and take time to groom a young quarterback.
Rivers and backup Jacoby Brissett are going to be free agents this year, which means the Colts will have one quarterback under contract going into the offseason. Jacob Eason, who is was their fourth-round draft pick in last year’s draft. Eason is nowhere close to being the starter, signaling the Colts will need to sign or acquire one.
In the scenario the Colts want to bring Rivers back like Reich does, it would likely cost them around the $25 million they paid him last offseason. It would likely be another one-year deal, as the Colts won’t want to invest too much more in a quarterback approaching 40. If the Colts’ brass don’t want Rivers for another year, there are some potential quarterback trades that could interest Indy. They would just need to have the right assets for their trade partner.
It doesn’t sound like Frank Reich has any interest in a reunion with Carson Wentz in Indianapolis. He wants Philip Rivers back for a second season with the Colts because of their success this past season. The Colts front office will have to sign off on it, as their minds are on doing what is best for the organization.
All stats courtesy of ESPN