NFL.com pitches safe free agent alternative to Carson Wentz for Colts
By Jerry Trotta
It feels like deja vu all over again, but the Indianapolis Colts are in the market for a quarterback yet again.
It wasn’t supposed to come to this, but Carson Wentz, who played some of his best football in three seasons for most of 2022, has given the Colts no other choice but to pursue alternatives after his brutal finish to the year.
While Chris Ballard and Frank Reich haven’t come to an official settlement on Wentz’s future, the tone they’ve set during NFL Combine interviews indicates the former No. 2 overall pick will be released or traded (likely the former) before March 18, when his base salary for next season becomes fully guaranteed.
In an ideal world, Indy would acquire one of Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson and ride off into the sunset on horseback.
Unfortunately, the NFL doesn’t work like that. It’s far more likely the Colts acquire a veteran placeholder through free agency and NFL.com has pegged one Teddy Bridgewater as a “matchmaking” fit for Indy.
NFL.com thinks the Colts should play it safe at the quarterback position this offseason.
On top of calling Bridgewater the next best option to Rodgers, Wilson, or Deshaun Watson, here’s what Marc Sessler had to say about the fit.
"While seen as the “safer” game-manager, Bridgewater threw nine fewer touchdowns and just as many picks (seven) as Wentz in three fewer starts. A new face would equal Frank Reich’s fifth starter in as many years. Not an ideal table-setting for a franchise with playoff aspirations, but Bridgewater is beloved by teammates and coaches and would furnish Indy with a one-year answer before starting all over again in 2023."
Not the most compelling argument by any stretch, but beggars can’t be choosers and the reality is the Colts are seemingly on the cusp of releasing a QB whom they traded a 2022 first-round pick (and a 2021 third-rounder) for. Unless Ballard channels his inner Les Snead and mortgages his entire future as far as draft picks, Indy isn’t in a position to negotiate a trade for a superstar.
In that regard, Bridgewater would be a solid pickup. While Wentz is the more talented quarterback from an arm strength and playmaking standpoint, the 29-year-old Bridgewater has proved with both the Vikings and Saints that he can win plenty of games as a starter if surrounded by proper infrastructure.
With the Colts, he would have arguably the game’s best running back in Jonathan Taylor, an ascending receiver in Michael Pittman Jr., an elite offensive line, and a head coach in Reich who has a knack for maximizing his QB’s potential.
And for anyone down on Bridgewater after 2021, throwing for 18 touchdowns to just seven interceptions while leading the undermanned Broncos to a .500 record (7-7) in an AFC West that included having to play Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Derek Carr two times apiece is no small feat.
Think about what he could do in the AFC South.