The Indianapolis Colts are one of the few teams in the NFL who doesn’t know who will be the first quarterback for the 2022 season and beyond.
They were cautious in the process mostly because the moves were out of their control. First, they had to wait for Aaron Rodgers’ domino to fall. Then it was Deshaun Watson’s Dominoes. Both have happened and until Saturday morning, the ponies are still impatiently waiting.
This is not really due to a lack of options. It might be because there are no inspirational options right now, but they do have chances. General Manager Chris Ballard will likely be waiting to get the best value possible, but doing so means losing some of their options.
Because of their need in this position, any quarterback who becomes available remotely is linked to the Colts. No matter who the ponies bring, they will likely have to draft a newbie in April. But we won’t include them yet. This is mostly focused on trade routes and free agency.
So without further ado, here are the best quarterback options for ponies right now:
The Falcons did some major damage to their midfield this week. They may be returning to the ancient warrior with their tail between their legs after losing Deshaun Watson, but this bridge may already be burnt.
Ryan has two years left on his contract with caps reaching $24 million and $28 million, respectively. Compensation issues will be. Ryan will probably be the most expensive option on the market for the Colts even if the hawks are losing leverage in business negotiations.
I think giving up the 42nd overall pick (for any available quarterback) would be too costly as it takes the Colts out of the race in favor of the rookie quarterback. But they may have to meet in the middle at one of their picks in the third round (#73 or 82) to make a deal. Anything cheaper than that would be valuable.
Will Ryan make the Colts a Super Bowl competitor? Mostly not. But he does give them a fantastic opportunity to win the degree and would be a great mentor for a rising midfielder.
Jimmy GQ was the favorite to be traded to the Colts earlier in the season, but the hype has subsided a bit. It doesn’t really matter, because Garoppolo is somehow traded.
While it’s not all that exciting, Garoppolo is the type of midfielder who can be a good captain in the locker room while blocking the attack from shooting to the foot. The upside with the Garoppolo is very limited and it will be a one-year lease before the Colts try again to find a long-term option.
But if the Colts want to compete in the South Asian Open wide, it’s probably one of the best options, and that doesn’t mean much.
Mariota never lived up to the hype as the second overall pick with the Titans. But after spending the last two seasons working under Derek Carr with the Raiders, there’s an opportunity for an Oregon product to come to life. The commotion was definitely loud when entering the free agency.
Mariota is an excellent example of low risk/high reward for ponies. He fits in very well with the RPO attack that Frank Reich likes to run while giving the Colts quarterback who’s willing to check and have a midfield look at the strikers.
Mariota has always been praised for his leadership and personality in the locker room, so the Colts won’t have to worry about that. Plus it would be much cheaper and the ponies would still have all their draft choices.
The ponies are said to have an interest in Benston, after they reached out earlier in the week. With Winston out of a torn ACL, he probably still has the highest cap of all Colts options right now.
Winston isn’t the best for the Colts offense, but Reich can make it work. The former showed efficiency improvements under Sean Payton in 2021 before tearing up the AFC Champions League, so there is promise that his checkered playing is behind him. But as Colts fans have learned from Carson Wentz, the entirety of a player’s career is more telling than one season out of the ordinary.
However, the biggest question with Winston will not be on the field. He has a rough history off the field when it comes to sexual assault allegations. Winston was suspended for three games in 2018 after the league concluded he had “violated the personal conduct policy by touching the driver in an indecent and sexual manner without her consent”.
For the team that says they value the character highly, they will have to answer tough questions about his history.
To some of you, this may sound low to Mayfield. The former No. 1 overall pick on the block after the Browns were traded for Deshaun Watson. But trading Mayfield’s token capital draft is exactly what the Colts did with Wentz.
We have to believe that ponies are smarter than that. Throughout his four seasons, Mayfield has not shown the upside that will make the Colts a competitor. This AFC landscape is getting more and more difficult for the molts not to take a shot at a midfielder that can take them to multiple levels. Mayfield is not that player.
Trading premium capital for a midfield player with reported leadership issues and inconsistent play is exactly what the Colts did with Wentz. The only difference here is that Mayfield hasn’t had a season of MVP caliber to hang his hat.
If the Colts really want to secure their future, they’ll roll with Ehlinger as a start to 2022. This will likely result in the Colts getting a Top 10 pick in the 2023 Draft, which is expected to have a strong quarterback.
It wouldn’t because a Brass Colts wouldn’t even think of a tank like this — even if it meant getting a quarterback franchise. Ponies probably wouldn’t view Ehlinger as a rookie and might be right in that sense, but the mess that would arise with him as the start would be entertaining until about week eight.
Ehlinger may have in mind for the starting role but he is not expected to go down to that.