What are the Indianapolis Colts’ Options at Quarterback After Philip Rivers’ Retirement?

The Indianapolis Colts have a crucial offseason ahead of them. They are looking to reload their roster after finishing 11-5. They lost in the wild-card round to the Buffalo Bills and now can start their offseason. Heading in, Indianapolis has a big question mark around the NFL’s most important position: quarterback.

The Colts are going to have to find another quarterback to start for them next season. Philip Rivers announced his retirement from NFL after 17 seasons. With him walking away from the gridiron, it leaves the Colts in a tough spot. Who will be their signal-caller next year now that Rivers is retired?

The Colts’ current situation at quarterback

Before speculating about what Indy might do to address the quarterback spot, let’s dissect the Colts’ quarterback situation as it is right now. The team just learned of Rivers’ retirement, which was something they knew could happen. He was on a one-year, $25 million deal and had a high school football coaching job waiting for him once he called it quits. That leaves the Colts with two quarterbacks.

Jacoby Brissett was the designated backup during the 2020 season. He was on the last deal of his contract this year, so he will be heading to free agency. Brissett has experience running the Colts offense, doing so for two seasons as a starter. His impending free-agency leaves Indy with only one quarterback on the roster, their fourth-round draft pick Jacob Eason.

The Colts haven’t seen enough in Eason for them to be comfortable with him as No. 1 on the depth chart. Indy is definitely in the market for a quarterback, and they have a plethora of options for how they want to acquire one.

The Indianapolis Colts’ free agent and trade options at quarterback

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When it comes to getting a quarterback, the Indianapolis Colts could go about this multiple ways. One way is that they could get a quarterback in the free-agent market. If they decide to do this, a few names might interest them.

One name that jumps out is Jameis Winston. He served as a backup this year in New Orleans but threw for over 5,000 yards in 2019 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The turnovers are a huge issue, but Frank Reich can work with him on that. He’s shown promise of being a franchise quarterback, which is what the Colts are looking for. Ryan Fitzpatrick is also another intriguing name. Fitzpatrick is more of a stop-gap quarterback, giving the Colts time to groom a younger quarterback they acquire through the draft.

They could re-sign Brissett, given his familiarity with Indy’s system. He hasn’t shown he can be a franchise quarterback but gives the Colts a year or two to find one. Indianapolis can use some of their draft capital and assets to trade for a quarterback. A few quarterbacks could use a change of scenery, and Indy would be the perfect spot.

The biggest trade target could be Carson Wentz because of his history with Frank Reich and his tense relationship with the Eagles. Wentz’s contract would be the biggest hurdle if this trade were to happen. Matthew Stafford could also be a potential name. He has been great but has failed to achieve team success with the Lions. He has an injury history, so maybe the Colts can get him for a friendly price. 

It’s unlikely this happens, but Indy could make a call to their division rival. Deshaun Watson is unhappy in Houston and seems to want out. If the Indianapolis Colts can put a great package together, they might get Watson, who is a special talent.

The Colts can draft and groom a quarterback 

Trading a quarterback requires the Colts to give up some assets. They might not want to do that, which leaves them looking for a quarterback via the draft. There are some talented prospects the Colts could groom into their franchise quarterback. One of the potential prospects Indy could grab is Mac Jones.

Jones had a stellar season for Alabama, being a Heisman finalist. Completing over 77% of his passes, he can make every throw and can thrive in the Colts’ system. He’s shown poise in the pocket and has a humble attitude. Drafting Jones and having him sit behind a starter for a year or two would be the perfect scenario for Indy. 

The Colts can trade up in the draft to grab the higher-ranked prospects like Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, or Trevor Lawrence. But they would be getting a steal with Jones at 21, so trading doesn’t make much sense. Trey Lance Jr. is another prospect who could fall to Indy.

The Indianapolis Colts have a team that is ready to win now. However, they need a quarterback who can lead this team. They have multiple avenues to get one; they just have to choose the right one for their team. With Philip Rivers’ retirement, the Colts are on the hunt for the quarterback of the future.