The Colts had stability for so long with Peyton Manning and then Andrew Luck that they barely knew what it meant not to have a franchise quarterback. But then Luck unexpectedly retired before the 2019 season.
That threw the team into a quarterback black hole.
The Colts went from Jacoby Brissett as their primary starter in 2019 to Philip Rivers as a bridge quarterback in 2020. Rivers retired after last season, putting the Colts back on the market for a starting quarterback.
Their Plan A was to draft their quarterback of the future despite holding the 21st overall choice.
The Colts ended up trading with the Eagles to get Carson Wentz, a former No. 2 overall pick.
“There’s no doubt [G.M.] Chris [Ballard] and I talked about that, and Mr. [Jim] Irsay, the three of us have talked about that together,” Reich told Albert Breer of SI.com. “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? 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 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. “
Wentz is only 28 and finished third in league MVP voting in 2017, so the Colts may have found their quarterback of the future. Wentz, reunited with Reich in Indianapolis, needs this to work but so, too, do the Colts.
Otherwise, the Colts’ search for a franchise quarterback begins all over again.
“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.”