There was a collective feeling of disappointment among Indianapolis Colts fans after it was reported that trade target Matthew Stafford was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff (a former No. 1 overall pick), two first-round picks and a third-rounder.
Fans were also questioning why general manager Chris Ballard didn’t push harder to acquire Stafford, but given that there were conflicting reports about what and who he offered in negotiations, that’s probably an unfair criticism.
Not to mention that he’s never been a reckless executive who would jettison a shipment of draft assets in one trade.
However, it can only be considered unfair as long as he ends up with a quarterback who can help the Colts achieve their ultimate goal. Given the lack of compelling names set to hit free agency, taking to the trade market will probably give them the best chance to find a franchise-caliber guy capable of doing that.
Who could the Colts include in a blockbuster trade for a quarterback?
With gunslingers like Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, Derek Carr and Kirk Cousins (among a few others) being heavily linked with trade rumors in recent weeks, there will be no shortage of options for the Colts to consider.
It goes without saying that each of those players would cost a couple of draft picks — some more than others, obviously — and potentially an impact player. And that got us thinking: which players would Indianapolis be willing to part ways with in a potential blockbuster?
3. Denico Autry
The only reason Denico Autry doesn’t fall higher on this list is because his contract has expired. However, there’s no rule stating that the Colts couldn’t sign him to an extension before trading him, and executing that would put them in pole position to acquire one of the aforementioned signal callers.
Aside from DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard, everybody on Indy’s elite defense got lost in the shuffle this past season in terms of recognition. Autry falls under that category, as he was very quietly one of the group’s most consistent performers, ranking second on the team in tackles for loss (nine), as well as third in quarterback hits (10), sacks (7.5) and pressures (22).
At 30 years old, Autry obviously wouldn’t fit into the plans of a team looking to rebuild, but he could certainly feature in a potential three-team deal involving a contender. Even if he’s included in a two-team blockbuster, the team acquiring him could potentially flip him at next year’s deadline for even more draft capital. After all, there’s always a handful of playoff-ready squads looking to add pass rushing depth ahead of the postseason.
As for the Colts, they have the depth up front with the likes of Tyquan Lewis and Kemoko Turay, both of whom have been eased into things since being drafted in 2018, to afford losing an impactful player like Autry in a trade.