For the sixth consecutive season, and the seventh in eight years, the Colts will have a different opening day starter. Matt Ryan will follow Scott Tolzien, Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz. The Colts traded a third-round choice to the Falcons for Ryan, the 2016 NFL MVP.
Ryan looks like another bridge quarterback for the Colts, considering he turns 37 next month. But that’s not what the team is thinking.
Owner Jim Irsay expects Ryan to remain the Colts’ quarterback for longer than the year Rivers spent in Indianapolis in 2020.
“Matt is different than Philip; this is definitely different than that,” Irsay said, via Mike Wells of ESPN. “It’s not drafting Andrew Luck, but it’s different than Philip. We knew Philip was going to be a one-year sort of thing, and we view this as very possibly a three-year thing. Who knows. It’s hard to put a number on it.”
Can Ryan play that long?
Even two years would buy the Colts some time to find their next franchise quarterback after swinging and missing on Wentz.
“We hope Matt can be here for four years, maybe,” Irsay said. “We certainly have our radar out for a young guy that can be the long-term future.”
The Colts were so eager to get rid of Wentz that the Colts traded him to Washington for less than they paid and without a definitive backup plan. They were left without a starting quarterback for 12 days after trading Wentz to the Commanders.
“Part of the problem going forward was that there weren’t any clear answers when we moved away from Carson,” Irsay said. “That was the biggest dilemma. I really kind of emphasized that it was essential that we look at it that way, the cold, hard reality that we would find answers.”
Ryan is the answer for this season, and the Colts hope, for several seasons.