Since Andrew Luck abruptly retired before the 2019 season, the Indianapolis Colts have searched for a long-term answer at quarterback.
First, Jacoby Brissett got a shot. Then, Indy imported veteran Philip Rivers. Now, they've landed Carson Wentz. Had Wentz not become available, where would the Colts have turned?
Coach Frank Reich told Albert Breer of The MMQB that the plan was to look for a way to pluck a long-term solution from the 2021 NFL Draft.
"There's no doubt [GM] Chris [Ballard] and I talked about that, and Mr. [Jim] Irsay, the three of us have talked about that together," Reich said. "That's what you shoot for. So that's the vision. When Andrew retired, we were looking for that long-term vision, what's the next answer? First, was it going to be Jacoby [Brissett]? Jacoby did a nice job, and ultimately as highly as we thought about Jacoby, we didn't feel like that was the long-term answer. And then, obviously, Philip [Rivers] was a great answer, but just the short answer. And then he retired.
"Was it going to be a draft pick? Honestly, I think Chris and I were thinking, somehow we were going to figure out how we were going to be able to draft the quarterback of our future. And then this thing came with Carson and it fell into our laps. And that's the great thing about it, when it works that way, it almost makes you feel like it's more meant to be because you can't make this stuff up and you can't manufacture it. "
Sitting at No. 21 overall, the Colts likely would have had to make a move to secure one of the top QB selections. With just six picks in 2021, they would have likely been borrowing from the future. Given where they were in the draft, the options for obtaining a franchise QB wouldn't have been simple.
Indy would also have needed to sign a veteran to hold the fort in case Ballard struck out in the draft.
Instead of running down that unknown lane, the Colts swung a deal with the Eagles for Wentz, whom Reich coached in Philly. Giving up a conditional first-round pick -- which likely would have been used in any attempt to find a rookie QB -- for Wentz suggests the club believes the former first-round pick can turn his career around after a brutal 2020.
"Now it's our job as a team, as an organization to make it work," Reich said. "And so, yeah, there's no doubt we feel like Carson can be the long-term answer."