Lucas Robins (@LucasRobins on Twitter):
Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson are the top 2 options to upgrade from Wentz as the slam dunk surefire upgrades that would make the Colts possible contenders. Rodgers could look to return to Green Bay potentially and has had some retirement talks recently, but while the back-to-back MVP might be a short-term answer, he is the biggest QB upgrade possible on the field for 2022.
While Wilson isn’t an MVP QB yet and regressed in 2022 due to injury, he was arguably a top 5 QB in each of the previous four seasons and consensus top 10 QB throughout that time despite porous pass protection and inconsistent weapons outside of Lockett before DK Metcalf’s arrival. Russ isn’t as old as Rodgers and should be a more medium to possible long-term solution to the QB position. Still, there are obstacles to acquiring him due to having another two years on his contract and a no-trade clause that he has to waiver to be traded.
It would take a deal that would convince the Seahawks to trade their franchise QB for a significant amount of picks while simultaneously needing to convince Wilson to waive the no-trade clause. Adding players to the deal to send to Seattle would sweeten it from their perspective, but it might risk Wilson viewing Indy as a less appealing spot depending on the departing player(s). New Colts Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley and long-time Vice President of Player Personnel Ed Dodds have connections to Seattle’s current staff and likely have gotten in contact about a potential trade. However, convincing both the Seattle front office & the Wilson camp to a deal will be a tough balancing act of negotiations to perform successfully.
Beyond the top 2 options is the tier of QBs who are either lateral or slight upgrades, but depending on the trade cost, it would not be worth making a move. Derek Carr & Kirk Cousins are small for sure upgrades and have shown to be solid franchise QBs. They have more consistency in the mental aspects of passing than Wentz while providing a solid mix of ball velocity and arm strength and decent maneuverability in and outside of the pocket. It might not move the needle as much, but it would be an upgrade for 2022. However, both have one year left on their deals and need long-term extensions. Trading for Kirk would be more costly cap-wise than Wentz, but because of that, his cost to acquire should be lower. Carr has played at a similar level to Kirk and will be cheaper than Kirk cap-wise, but this cost more to acquire in trade value. However, I don’t see either as options that are worth potential trades.
There could be attempts to get a developmental QB in the draft depending on who is available at the 47th overall. Carson Strong could be an option, though with him seeming to answer concerns about his knee injury with his performance in the Senior Bowl, he could be gone in round 1. Athletic developmental players like Malik Willis & Desmond Ridder could be options but are rawer and need a lot of coaching to live up to their potential.
Zach Schankerman (@TheRealZschank on Twitter):
I think the Colts should look at all their options to replace Carson Wentz. If Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers is available, I would push hard after them because I think this team is at least a playoff team with one of them and possibly a super bowl contender with a couple of other moves. If you couldn’t get one of them, I would try to get a guy like Jimmy Garropolo or Teddy Bridgewater and look towards 2023 for a long-term QB option. That way, you remain competitive enough to make the playoffs without sacrificing long-term assets to stay in QB Purgatory.
Sebastian Bench (@BenchSebastian on Twitter)
Russell Wilson is the only realistic option that I’d confidently say is better than Wentz. If Wilson is available, forget all the reasons I laid out for keeping Wentz. If he’s available, you pursue Wentz with a Stafford to the Rams style deal. Wilson’s talent, football IQ, fitness, character, and age would make him a great fit for this Colts team.
Outside of Wilson, the plausible options are harder to assess. Aaron Rodgers is undeniably a brilliant Quarterback, but he’s likely in the final few years of his career. I suspect he’d retire immediately if he helped the Colts achieve their goal of another Super Bowl. When Rodgers retires, do the Colts want to be back in QB purgatory in a few years? Especially in the prime of Buckner, Nelson, and Leonard’s careers?
A group of Quarterbacks could be available this offseason but aren’t clear upgrades over Wentz or would cost too much capital for the improvement they would bring. For the right price, Carr, Cousins, Garoppolo, or Mayfield could all be worthwhile upgrades. However, even if they are upgrades over Wentz, the capital required to acquire them could still be too great. There would also be the possibility the Colts keep giving up Wentz style hauls for good but not great QBs that don’t work instead of a larger haul to get their long-term Quarterback. In terms of a current free agent or backup QBs, I think Mariota would be the best option, but it likely isn’t the long-term solution.
Mason Roach (@MasRoach45 on Twitter):
While many QBs can replace Carson Wentz, I truly think there is only one realistic replacement: Russell Wilson.
Russ is a realistic replacement because it has been reported how much Colts’ Owner Jim Irsay likes him. Russell Wilson has also been linked to leaving the Seahawks for multiple seasons now. Of course, Wilson is coming off a subpar season to his standards, as he shows that he is no longer invincible. In my opinion, Wilson has plenty left in the tank for a few more opportunities to try and capture another Super Bowl ring. I think Wilson is the Colts’ number one target, and they should pound the table until they acquire him.