In an offseason without many top quarterbacks available in free agency, the Indianapolis Colts did well to land veteran signal caller Matt Ryan for only a third-round pick. But Colts owner Jim Irsay revealed Tuesday at the NFL’s annual owner meetings that Ryan was far from the only quarterback on Indianapolis’ radar.
Colts Insider Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star reports the Colts “were determined to explore every opportunity” at quarterback this offseason. That included trading multiple first-round picks to acquire a young signal caller.
“You know we looked at a young guy or two, it was probably one, but really, in the end, he wasn’t available, after all was said and done,” Irsay said. “For a number of other things happening, reasons, it would have had to been something else happening to make him available.”
Irsay did not name the quarterback the Colts were trying to acquire who ultimately was not available. NFL Writer Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports speculated that Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Arizona Cardinals signal caller Kyler Murray possess Irsay’s description.
“Among the players who fit Irsay’s profile include Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who is currently in negotiations with Las Vegas on a contract extension,” DeArdo wrote. “Another possibility may have been Kyler Murray, whose future with the Cardinals was under intense scrutiny earlier this offseason.”
DeArdo added that it’s possible Irsay is also talking about Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins or San Francisco 49ers signal caller Jimmy Garoppolo. But Cousins turns 34 in August, and trade speculation for Garoppolo this offseason has generally not included two first-round picks as compensation.
Colts Trade Carson Wentz
It wasn’t always clear this offseason who Indianapolis would land to start behind center for the 2022 season. But it was clear that Carson Wentz was not staying for a second season.
“It’s just, for us, it was just it was something that we had to move away from as a franchise,” Irsay told Colts reporter Zak Keefer of The Athletic. “It was very obvious.”
It became apparent for the Colts owner that a change was needed after Indianapolis suffered a blowout loss against the worst-record team in the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars, in Week 18 with a playoff berth at stake.
Irsay told Keefer he spoke to veterans on the roster and concluded from those conversations that something was off that “needed to be corrected.”
Trading for a young quarterback would have been preferable because of the turnstile the position has become in Indianapolis. The Colts have started five different signal callers in Week 1 the last five years, and they will start a sixth different quarterback in 2022.
Colts Find Value in Matt Ryan, Put Off Finding Longterm QB Solution
Trading for Matt Ryan won’t really end the revolving door at quarterback for the Colts. Ryan turns 37 in May and could possibly retire after his current two-year contract expires.
But other than his age, the Colts organization like what Ryan will bring to Indianapolis.
“I really feel strongly that Matt is what the franchise needs,” Irsay told The Indianapolis Star. “I really think we have an opportunity, and he’s young enough, to win a world championship with him. We feel like we have that capability.”
Furthermore, unlike a young signal caller who would have cost two future first-round picks (Indianapolis doesn’t have a first-round pick this April), the price tag for Ryan was just a third-round pick.