- Philip Rivers announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday
- The Colts’ starting QB job for the 2021 season is available
- With a loaded field of potential passers, see the odds for the Colts’ next starting QB
After a 17-year NFL career, Philip Rivers is finally hanging them up.
One of the most durable QBs of his generation, Rivers spent his final season with the Indianapolis Colts. Prior to that he had been the face of the Chargers’ franchise.
The Rivers’ solution was never a long-term one in Indy. Whether he called it quits or not, he was only there on a one-year deal. Odds were the man under center in 2021 would be different anyways.
And when you look at the field of replacements, it’s wide open.
Colts Starting QB Odds Week 1 of 2021 NFL Season
Odds as of Jan 20th
PFF gave the Colts passing attack a 74.7 in 2020, good for 14th. In more traditional areas they were 14th in passing yards and 11th in yards-per-attempt, but threw the 10th-fewest touchdowns.
Rivers’ price tag likely outweighed his production, but it was by no means a disaster. He had a better passer rating and QBR than his final season with the Chargers, and finished with over 4,000 yards for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons.
He wasn’t spectacular, but he was serviceable.
Reich Could Stick With Familiar Face
Colts’ head coach Frank Reich spent two seasons with Rivers and the Chargers. So he knew what he was getting in 2020.
Indy isn’t the only team looking for a starting QB, so Reich’s search could start with two guys he knows.
Oddly enough, both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles had the best years of their careers in 2018 with Reich and the Eagles.
Carson Wentz vs Nick Foles: 2018
Wentz was a frontrunner for NFL MVP in 2018, Then he tore his ACL. There’s a relationship there, but it seems like Wentz is staying in Philly after Doug Pederson got the boot.
Wonder if the Carson Wentz to the Colts talk starts flying around now…
— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) January 20, 2021
Both cost their teams significantly less in dead money if traded after June 1st, so a move for either would have to wait.
Eason, Rookies Not on Starting Radar
While there are a number of big-name quarterbacks at the top of the 2021 NFL Draft Board, don’t expect any of them to land in Indy. The cost is just too much.
The Colts pick 21st, and you could make a case for 15 teams ahead of them to take a QB. Maybe Mac Jones is even off the board by the time they pick. And with just seven selections (one per round), they don’t have the ammunition to move up.
Ballard on possibly taking a QB early in the draft: “Getting one will take y’all off my ass for a little bit but the moment he doesn’t play well, I’m getting run out the door.”
He also says they still like Jacob Eason’s talent. They are still evaluating him. pic.twitter.com/4g2dvNtlU2
— Indy SportsOne (@IndySportsOne) January 14, 2021
Don’t count on Jacob Eason opening the season as the starter either. The 2020 fourth rounder is the only QB on the Colts roster right now, but on a team expected to compete, it’s unlikely they hand him the keys. Especially since he didn’t take a live rep in 2020.
Two Names Jump Out for Colts at QB
There are two names here that could land in Indy. And one isn’t much of a surprise.
Jacoby Brissett is at the top of the list for a reason. While the star power isn’t there, Reich likes him. According to Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star, Brissett is beloved in the building and is viewed as a starting caliber QB.
With a lot to be decided on the QB market, and the ability to negotiate with him now, there’s a strong possibility he’s at least on the roster.
Unless Jacoby Brissett returns as the Colts starter in 2021, Frank Reich will be coaching his fourth different quarterback in four years:
2018: Andrew Luck (10-6, playoffs)
2019: Jacoby Brissett (7-9)
2020: Philip Rivers (11-5, playoffs)
— Jim Ayello (@jimayello) January 20, 2021
The other name is Andy Dalton. Charles Robinson reported the Colts had interest in him last year before settling on Rivers. There’s a chance they could circle back in 2021.
There are more intriguing options out there like Matt Stafford or Matt Ryan, but without a clear indication of what direction those teams are headed, it’s best to back Brissett.
The Pick: Jacoby Brissett (+350)