This morning, Jan. 20, Philip Rivers announced his retirement from the NFL after 17 seasons. This isn’t a legacy piece or a debate on his qualifications for the Hall of Fame. Rivers was only a member of the Colts for one season — a season in which the Colts made the playoffs, but exited after a loss to the Bills in the Wildcard Round.
Rivers was obviously never going to be the long-term answer at quarterback for the Colts, but he got the team back to the playoffs, so I can’t argue with the results. However, now the Colts quarterback room is in a precarious situation post-Rivers retirement and Jacoby Brissett entering free agency.
So what are the options? There have been plenty thrown out on social media over the last month, so I’m here to sort through them and give my personal favorite options. So, let’s get into it:
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1. Trade for Matthew Stafford
Assuming the Lions are smart enough to attempt to get something for Stafford and not just cut him this offseason, the Colts need to strongly consider this as the best option moving forward. Stafford has long suffered in Detroit, and is entering his age 33 season with two years still left on his current contract. He’s thrown for 4,000 yards in eight of his 12 seasons in the NFL and only failed to reach that mark in one season where he played all 16 games.
Stafford is by no means one of the NFL elites, but he is a more viable option than Rivers was entering this season. The roster is playoff caliber and the Colts have the second most cap room available entering the 2021 offseason. Going to get Stafford will keep the Colts in playoff contention, but they’ll need to upgrade the weapons if they want to challenge the top of the AFC.
2. Sign Dak Prescott
This one is a long shot considering the Cowboys could hit Dak with another franchise tag, but this is a wishlist, so I’m keeping it at #2. Dak got off to a strong start last season — 1,865 yards and nine touchdowns on 68 percent completion percentage through four and a half games — before his season-ending ankle injury.
Sure, there’s concern with him returning from a gruesome ankle injury, but giving Dak a better defense, offensive line, head coach and general manager would allow him to lessen his load. He wouldn’t have to throw for 450 yards in losses anymore and could take time to adjust post injury.
It’s not likely to happen, but Chris Ballard should certainly consider it and make a run at Dak to force the Cowboys hand.
3. Gamble with Jacob Eason
Eason came into college as one of the top quarterback prospects in the country. He played one season at Georgia before being beaten out by a true-freshman Jake Fromm in his sophomore year. He finished his career at Washington, throwing for 3,132 yards and 23 touchdowns on 64.2 percent completion percentage.
No one besides those inside the Colts organization know what they’ll be able to get from Eason in a starting role. He was serviceable in college, but being unseated as a starter by Jake Fromm is tough to get past for me. It would certainly be a gamble to roll with Eason, but it would allow the organization to upgrade several other positions should they choose this option.
4. Trade for Deshaun Watson
This is an even longer shot than signing Dak, but boy oh boy, this would be great. It would take a king’s ransom to even make the Texans consider the trade, but it would absolutely be worth it.
I’ve been enamored with Watson since the first national championship game he played against Alabama in college, and he’s only improved since then. Certainly the Texans aren’t dumb enough to trade him within the division, but it would give the Colts their franchise quarterback for the next decade. At least he’ll likely be out of the division very soon.
5. Look in Free Agency
There are some young quarterbacks entering free agency this offseason who could be worth a look at a discounted price — Mitchell Trubisky and Jameis Winston to name a few. I don’t think anyone on the open market is worth a look as a long-term solution, but anyone available is available for a reason.
Trubisky could look better in a different system and in a fresh start. Winston could be improved after a year of learning under Drew Brees and Sean Payton. Fitzmagic looked solid this year, but has never been great in a full season of work. Sure, they’re worth a look, but there are much better options on the table and this should be a last resort.
There are more options available to the Colts for their QB solutions, but these are my top five. I don’t want to hear any Carson Wentz comments and how he played under Frank Reich. He’s a bad quarterback now and I don’t see any coach remedying that.
Let me know your top options on twitter @samuel_murphy20 and be sure to follow @brkdwn_sports on twitter for more great sports and gambling content!