Before accounting draft prospects, the list is long of starting quarterbacks who will be and could be available this offseason. It’s a situation the Colts will monitor closely. Less than a month out from free agency, they remain undecided on incumbent starter Jacoby Brissett.
But as owner Jim Irsay would tell it, the young QB is trending upward.
"I think that Jacoby is on the rise and you got to give him time to develop," Irsay told reporters at a Sunday news conference with local media. "People forget that Peyton [Manning], one of the greatest ever — in my opinion the greatest — 3-13 in ’98, 2001 6-10. All of a sudden Jacoby goes 7-9, it’s like the world’s falling apart. We had a lot of injuries, special teams wasn’t outstanding, and the combination of those things and Jacoby being a starter for the first time, that’s a lot to overcome. 7-9 isn’t bad."
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It also wasn’t good for a team that won 10 games and advanced to the Divisional Round the year prior. Of course, that was with a healthy Andrew Luck, who would shockingly retire just a few weeks before the 2019 season. Irsay noted GM Chris Ballard and coach Frank Reich recently had dinner with the former franchise QB. The longtime owner intimated he’s left the door open for a reunion but has gotten no indication that Luck plans to play football again. Indy is thus operating under the assumption he won’t.
With Brissett under contract for just one more season, Irsay reiterated that the club’s plan at QB is fluid. It’s probably worth noting the Colts hold the No. 13 pick in the first round.
"All options are open and on the table," he said. "I’ve never quite been in a year where this was so unusual. … Chris and Frank and I have really talked about this and, man, we’re really open-minded. There’s a lot of ways this thing could turn. But right now Jacoby is the starter."
In an alternate universe, the Colts could have been trotting out Russell Wilson. According to Irsay, the club planned to select him in the same 2012 draft in which it claimed Luck with the top pick, only to see the Seahawks take Wilson sooner.
"We were going to take Russell Wilson the year we took Andrew, in the fourth, but he was gone in the third," Irsay said.
Mind you, the Colts had the first pick in the third round, No. 64 overall, where they selected tight end Dwayne Allen. Wilson went 11 picks later. Interestingly, this was also the draft in which the Redskins drafted Robert Griffin III second overall and then Kirk Cousins in the fourth round.
Whoever lines up at quarterback for the Colts in 2020 figures to have one of the better left tackles protecting him. Irsay said the front office has been in contact with impending free agent Anthony Castonzo and expects him to return.
"I think there’s a strong likelihood that he will come back," Irsay said.
The owner added that reports on the Colts pursuing an extension with running back Marlon Mack are incorrect.
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