While teams are still holding their cards close to the vest, next month will officially kick off an NFL offseason that could be the busiest ever in terms of player movement at the quarterback position.
The names that could be on the move are well documented, but Jacoby Brissett seems to be getting lost in the shuffle. His situation is worth a closer look.
Why should teams want him?
Andrew Luck’s injury set up last season for disaster in Indianapolis. However, for a guy who was inserted as the starter less than two weeks after being acquired, Brissett did a heck of a job last year.
13 touchdowns, seven interceptions and an 81.7 passer rating is pretty good when you consider the circumstances in the above paragraph. Also, the roster only had two pro bowlers on it. Add in the fact that Indianapolis has a bad offensive line for a while now and Brissett’s 2017 campaign looks even better.
No quarterback is meant to take 52 sacks the way Brissett did last year. He was also sacked 14 times by Jacksonville alone. Of course, he probably needed to get rid of the ball quicker on some of those, but those numbers are still astronomically high.
Brissett has a unique perspective as to part of the reason why Luck has struggled to stay healthy in recent years. The last offensive lineman Indianapolis sent to the Pro Bowl was Jeff Saturday, who is now a television analyst. When the Colts offense did manage to put points on the board, the league’s 30th ranked defense gave them up just as quickly.
Despite all that, Brissett put his team in position to win a lot more than four games last year. They had the halftime lead in nine of their first 11 games, but did not have a coaching staff that could adjust or enough overall talent on the roster to finish games. When you take everything into account, it is clear that Jimmy Garoppolo is not the only former Patriots understudy that can be a long-term NFL starter.
The sample size is considerably larger for Brissett, but he is a far more attractive option for teams that need a quarterback than soon to be free agent AJ McCarron who is destined for a big payday despite putting up comparable numbers under far more quarterback friendly circumstances.
The teams preparing to woo McCarron in free agency should be calling the Colts about Brissett instead. This leads to an obvious question.
Is he even available?
Brissett is under the control of his current club for 2018 and beyond. So if he is going to play somewhere else, it will have to come via trade.
Given the questions surrounding Andrew Luck’s health, it is easy to see why the Colts may want to keep Brissett around. The last time the Colts franchise quarterback got hurt, they did not have a capable backup, went 2-14 and drafted Luck. Peyton Manning went to Denver and the rest is history.
Still, Indianapolis has lots of needs on the roster. The Colts are not going to be able to address them all in the draft and free agency. Brissett is one of few pieces they have that would entice another team.
Luck’s health is now apparently headed in the right direction. If the Colts can get additional draft picks, offensive line help or a serviceable defender for Brissett, they need to pull the trigger. Indianapolis can always draft a quarterback in the middle rounds to sure up the depth chart behind Luck.
The only opinions that truly matter here are those of new head coach Frank Reich, owner Jim Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard. Reich has said he wants to keep Brissett. Even so, we all know every player is available for the right compensation. We also know Irsay will have the final say for better or worse.
At the very least, Brissett would be a nice fallback option for the losers of the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes. Denver has to clear cap space to compete with teams like the Browns and Jets for Cousins. The Broncos will no doubt try to do that, but shipping a draft pick or a pass rusher not named Von Miller to Indy is not out of the question and may prove to be more realistic.
Brissett is not going to carry a franchise on his back, but teams like Arizona and Denver already have some nice pieces. He can certainly get a team like that right back in the mix.
Featured image from ninersnation.com
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