The Indianapolis Colts have traded for a quarterback each of the last two offseasons. But one NFL insider hasn’t ruled out the Colts searching the trade market again this offseason to find a new signal caller for the 2023 season.
The Athletic’s Jeff Howe wrote that “the two most logical” possibilities for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is to either stay in Green Bay or retire. But there are scenarios where the 4-time MVP signal caller could land with a new team for the 2023 season.
Howe listed the Colts among seven potential destinations for Rodgers if he’s traded.
“It feels like an extreme longshot, but every QB-needy team in the league was anxiously monitoring Rodgers’ decision last offseason,” Howe wrote. “If they think there’s even the slightest chance Rodgers could be available, it’d be organizational malpractice not to make a call.”
How Long of a Longshot is Rodgers to Colts?
When Rodgers elected to stay in Green Bay last offseason, he signed a new 3-year, $150.8 million deal. That doesn’t even kick in until the start of the 2024 season, and Rodgers will count as a $59 million cap hit during the second year of the contract in 2025.
That deal makes it seemingly highly unlikely the Packers trade Rodgers this offseason. But Howe wasn’t willing to rule out quarterback-desperate teams such as the Colts inquiring about Rodgers’ availability.
Indianapolis is certainly desperate to find a long-term solution at quarterback. The key word in that phrase, though, is “long-term.” Even if Rodgers returned to his 2021 MVP form, he is likely another mere stop gap behind center for just one or two years. Rodgers turns 39 on December 2.
The other major obstacle in a Rodgers-Colts trade is the compensation. Howe speculated that Green Bay could receive at least one first-rounder, if not two first-round picks, for Rodgers if he reassures his new team that he will play at least two more years.
If the Colts really want Rodgers, they could make his cap hit work, but potentially giving up a 2023 and 2024 first-round choice is a steep price to pay for a quickly aging signal caller.
Rodgers has dealt with a lot of change this season in Green Bay. He has a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He lost his favorite target in Davante Adams and his offensive line has struggled with injuries. The Packers defense has underperformed too.
But Rodgers isn’t playing as well as he did last year either, and it’s shown in his statistics. Rodgers owns a 64.8% completion percentage, his lowest since 2019. He’s also on pace for about 30 passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Rodgers is dealing with a rib injury and may not start in Week 13. But if he doesn’t miss any games and continues his current interception pace, he will tie a career high that he hasn’t hit in the category since his first year of starting in 2008.
Matt Ryan’s Future With the Colts?
While Rodgers coming to Indianapolis in a trade is unlikely, the fact that the Colts are being mentioned among potential suitors for the Packers quarterback speaks to the current situation for the Colts behind center.
Owner Jim Irsay hyped Matt Ryan has a potential 3-year solution. But he may be off the Indianapolis roster before the 1-year anniversary of the team’s trade for him.
It’s possible the Colts cut Ryan, who leads the NFL in giveaways after Week 12 (along with Josh Allen). While that will mean Indianapolis taking an $18 million cap hit, releasing Ryan will also save the team more than $17 million in salary cap space.
Unless the Colts elect to draft a quarterback and let Ryan tutor that young signal caller for a year, the likelihood that Ryan is done in Indianapolis after this season appears to be rising with each poor offensive performance.
If the Colts forego quarterbacks in the draft and want a different starter, a cheaper option on the free agent market seems to be a more likely fit than Rodgers.
Baker Mayfield, Teddy Bridgwater, Jacoby Brissett and Andy Dalton should all be available, and while none of them are close to Rodgers’ play, even with the Packers quarterback approaching 40, none of those signal callers will cost Indianapolis two first-round picks.