Russell Wilson was traded from the Seattle Seahawks to the Denver Broncos on Tuesday afternoon and another bombshell dropped on Wednesday when it was reported that the Indianapolis Colts have traded starting quarterback Carson Wentz and a 2022 second-round pick to the Washington Commanders in exchange for second-and-third round picks in 2022, and a 2023 third-round pick that can become a second-round pick based on certain incentives and achievements.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich consistently sounded displeased with Wentz’s performance throughout the 2021 season, particularly in a playoff-fate deciding Week 18 defeat to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars that saw Wentz account for two back-breaking turnovers and less than 200 passing yards. For the Commanders, general manager Martin Mayhew gains a new starting quarterback after allegedly being denied an attempt to acquire Wilson from the Seahawks.
Ballard swung-and-miss on an attempt to solve Indianapolis’ longstanding issues at the quarterback position by acquiring Wentz last offseason, and is now left with no clear-cut starting signal-caller, and no first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Indianapolis is going to have to get creative as they prepare to embark on yet another search for a viable quarterback. We’ve identified three potential targets via free agency and the veteran trade market.
MARCUS MARIOTA, FREE AGENT
With no first-round selection in the 2022 draft, Ballard’s best course of action may be to identify a worthy reclamation project at the quarterback position in free agency. Marcus Mariota qualifies as one of the most intriguing options available.
The former Heisman-winning Oregon Ducks signal-caller has spent the previous two seasons backing up Derek Carr in Las Vegas and is now set to reach the open market next week. Mariota is expected to receive interest from several QB-needy teams in need of a high-upside starter, and the Colts now appear to be a strong candidate in the wake of the Wentz trade.
Mariota is not expected to return to the Raiders, who are comfortable moving forward with Carr under center. The Colts reportedly expressed interest in trading for Mariota last offseason before they ultimately set their sights on Wentz. Ballard now has a chance to acquire Mariota without parting with draft capital.
The Colts know Mariota extremely well, as he previously spent five seasons as the starting quarterback with their division rival Tennessee Titans. Indianapolis projects as a strong landing spot for Mariota.
JIMMY GAROPPOLO, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
It didn’t take long for the Colts to be mentioned as a potential landing spot for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo following news of the Wentz trade, as the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport immediately alluded to a potential deal between Indianapolis and San Francisco. Garoppolo is expected to be traded in the coming weeks despite leading the 49ers to an appearance in the NFC Championship Game in 2021.
The writing was on the wall for Garoppolo’s future in San Francisco the moment general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan traded a plethora of draft picks in order to move up and select North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance in last year’s draft. The 49ers are expected to move forward with Lance as their starter in 2022 as they continue to search for a willing trade partner to take on Garoppolo’s remaining contract.
Acquiring Garoppolo is somewhat tricky seeing that Ballard previously traded a first-round selection for Wentz. Parting with more draft capital in exchange for yet another borderline starting quarterback may be an unwise move for Ballard to explore, but desperate times lead to desperate measures. The Colts are now equipped with several mid-round selections in 2022 and 2023 as a result of the Wentz trade, and they could flip one of those picks to San Francisco in exchange for Garoppolo.
MITCHELL TRUBISKY, FREE AGENT
Mitchell Trubisky joins Mariota as the pair unite to form the most intriguing reclamation projects at the quarterback position on the open market. Trubisky signed a cost-effective one-year contract with the Buffalo Bills last season and did well to rehabilitate a previous fractured reputation after washing out of Chicago. The former No. 2 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft is expected to receive a ton of interest from QB-needy teams.
Trubisky reportedly developed well under the likes of head coach Sean McDermott, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey, and is now primed to take advantage of his next opportunity to earn a starting job. Receiving coaching tips from the same staff that helped develop Josh Allen has Trubisky better prepared for whatever should come next.
The 2022 draft class of signal-callers appears weaker than in previous years and the Colts are without a first-round selection. Ballard must identify a creative option as he attempts to solve Indianapolis’ quarterbacking issues. The Colts now possess the most salary-cap space in the NFL following the Wentz trade and can afford to partake in a bidding war for Trubisky’s services should other franchises throw their hat into the ring.
- Sep 29, 2023
- Sep 29, 2023