The Indianapolis Colts have their quarterback.
Philip Rivers will sign with the Colts, as many have expected for much of the offseason. He’s getting a one-year, $25 million deal, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports.
The Colts went with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback last season, and clearly see Rivers as an upgrade. Rivers is reunited with Colts head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, who are both former Chargers assistants. Indianapolis was the only team that seemed to seriously pursue him, and this is not a huge surprise.
Rivers is 38 and a one-year stopgap. He also threw 20 interceptions last year. The Colts are confident they can get one more quality year out of him and contend for a Super Bowl as a result.
The Indianapolis Colts have made a big splash of their own as the NFL offseason really gets started.
The Colts acquired defensive lineman DeForest Buckner from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a first-round pick, and then signed him to a huge extension worth $21 million a year.
Buckner is an impact player, having racked up 19.5 sacks over the last two seasons. He’ll immediately make the Indianapolis pass rush more fearsome, albeit at the cost of a lot of money and a first-round draft pick.
There are clear indications that the Colts aren’t done. It could be a big offseason for them.
The Indianapolis Colts appear to have one name in mind as they assess the quarterback market in free agency.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the expectation is that the Colts will go after Philip Rivers during the legal tampering period as they search for potential replacements for Jacoby Brissett.
While other teams have been linked, the Colts have been linked to Rivers all along. Head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni are both former Chargers assistants with some familiarity with Rivers. The system would fit, and he looks like he’d be an upgrade on Brissett. This certainly sounds like it could happen.
The Indianapolis Colts have been mentioned as the favorite to sign Philip Rivers this offseason, but veteran linebacker Darius Leonard feels people need to start showing Jacoby Brissett more respect.
Leonard was asked about the Rivers reports during a recent appearance on the “Rapsheet + Friends” podcast, and he took the opportunity to praise Brissett. Leonard said he has full confidence in Brissett and wants him to remain Indy’s quarterback in 2020.
“No. Why would I (think about) something like that? I believe in Jacoby,” Leonard said of a potential QB change. “Jacoby’s a pretty good quarterback and he showed that early in the season when he had everyone healthy. You can look at any quarterback — when your receivers go down, your numbers go down. When he had everybody he went 5-2.”
Brissett had a passer rating of 98.5 through the first seven games of the season. The Colts went 5-2 during that span. The former Tom Brady backup then hurt his knee and played through the injury, posting a 74.4 passer rating and 2-5 record in seven games to close out the year. Brissett also lost top receiver TY Hilton and running back Marlon Mack for multiple games, which Leonard says played a significant role in the decline.
“You can look at any other quarterback, like Tom Brady for instance. This year, he didn’t have the big-time receivers, so his numbers went down,” Leonard said. “A lot of people don’t give (Brissett) enough credit for the type of quarterback he is.”
It remains to be seen if the Colts consider Brissett their quarterback of the future, but Rivers threw just 23 touchdowns compared to a whopping 20 interceptions last year. Some view that as an outlier, while others point to the fact that he is 38 and may have rapidly declining skills.
Rivers has been linked to other teams besides Indy, so it’s not a guarantee that he will be replacing Brissett. If he does, Leonard and others might be skeptical of Rivers’ ability to provide the team with a significant upgrade at the QB position.
The Seattle Seahawks have pledged not to use the franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney, which could lead to him hitting the open market.
The Seahawks remain interested in keeping Clowney, according to Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. However, there is speculation he could seek to set the market among edge rushers to the tune of close to $20 million per year. If the bidding rises to that territory, Seattle may be reluctant to get involved.
If the bidding does go that high, the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts could reportedly get involved and spend that much to land Clowney.
The Seahawks made a solid investment in Clowney, even if he only rewarded them with 3.5 sacks in his first season with the team. This stands to be one of the more interesting sagas of the offseason, but if bidding gets high, it sure seems like Clowney might depart Seattle.
The Cincinnati Bengals are almost certain to trade Andy Dalton this offseason, and for now, the discussion looks like it may potentially center around three teams.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and New England Patriots figure to be the three major suitors for Dalton depending on how things go.
The interest from the Colts and Patriots is going to be dependent on other factors. The Patriots will be interested if Tom Brady leaves the organization. For the Colts, Dalton is likely a backup plan if a pursuit of Philip Rivers falls short.
The Bears have the most settled situation right now, and that’s probably one of the reasons they’ve reportedly spoken with the Bengals already. Chicago is committed to Mitchell Trubisky as its starter, but there’s certainly a chance he could continue to struggle and open the door for Dalton.
Dalton will have a say in where he lands. With that in mind, he may want to wait a bit and see how the market shapes up before pushing for a trade to a team where he might have the best chance of starting in 2020.
Tom Brady is clearly heading into free agency with an open mind, and there have been reports that his agent has spoken with multiple teams other than the New England Patriots at the NFL Scouting Combine this week. The Indianapolis Colts were not one of them, however.
Stephen Holder of The Athletic was told by an NFL source that no member of the Colts organization has been in contact with Brady’s representatives. While that does not mean Indy has no interest in Brady, it’s possible the report of the Colts meeting with Brady’s people leaked as part of an attempt to put pressure on the Patriots.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard told reporters this week that he is “not going to comment on Brady” but noted that the six-time Super Bowl champion has had a great career. Technically, teams are not permitted to speak with or about free agents until the legal tampering window begins on March 16. The official start of free agency is March 18.
There were numerous reports on Thursday morning that claimed Brady is on the verge of a divorce with the Patriots. The timing made it seem like the information came directly from Brady’s camp, and it’s possible the 42-year-old is upset that Bill Belichick and the Patriots have yet to sit down to talk about a new contract with him.
One key question this offseason will be who the Indianapolis Colts decide to go with as their quarterback for the 2020 season.
Owner Jim Irsay may have some ideas, but he isn’t shedding any light on that right now. He did say Sunday, however, that Jacoby Brissett is still a candidate to be brought back as starter in 2020.
It’s safe to assume that the Colts are going to be pretty ruthless about this and will go for a more established veteran if they get the chance to do so. Brissett had a middling season as Colts starter in 2019, going 7-8 in his starts while throwing for 18 touchdowns and six interceptions. Those aren’t bad numbers, but the team may want someone more explosive after Brissett fell short of the 3,000 yard marker.
There is at least some speculation that one veteran quarterback and the Colts may be a suitable pairing. We haven’t really heard anything concrete about that at this stage, though.
Philip Rivers has given no indication that he intends to retire now that he has officially parted ways with the Los Angeles Chargers, and one of the quarterback’s former teammates is already quite confident about where Rivers is going to end up.
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon was asked during an interview with CBS Sports Network recently where he thinks Rivers is going to play in 2020. Gordon didn’t beat around the bush and without hesitation said the Indianapolis Colts.
“I think he goes to the Colts,” Gordon said. “I don’t know, that’s just my thought.”
Gordon said he believes Indy makes sense for Rivers because former Chargers offensive assistant Nick Sirianni is the offensive coordinator with the Colts. Head coach Frank Reich was also the offensive coordinator with the Chargers for two seasons in 2014 and 2015, so Gordon thinks the transition would be seamless for Rivers.
“They run the same playbook, so it’d be easy,” Gordon added. “He could come right in and he could be telling guys what to do, he knows what’s going on already. … I try not to talk to Phil about free agency, he has enough people in his ear about that. I think the Colts, though.”
Gordon also mentioned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have been viewed as a logical fit for Rivers now that the 38-year-old has moved his family from California to Florida. The Bucs have also been openly evaluating their own quarterback situation, so they may pursue Rivers.
While he did not say he had any inside information, Gordon’s opinion is obviously worth more than most. He has been teammates with Rivers for the past five seasons and knows him well. We wouldn’t be surprised if Gordon’s prediction became a reality.
Jacoby Brissett did enough to keep the Indianapolis Colts in the playoff hunt for much of the 2019 season after Andrew Luck made the shocking decision to retire, but that does not mean he has secured his spot as the team’s starting quarterback going forward.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard was asked about Brissett’s job security on Thursday, and he was not willing to commit to the 27-year-old as Indy’s starter for 2020. He said that is why the Colts only signed Brissett to a two-year extension back in September.
Some fans are holding out hope that Luck could come out of retirement, but Colts owner Jim Irsay said recently that the team is not expecting that to happen. Ballard reiterated that.
The Colts have the No. 13 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and they are expected to at least explore the quarterback market both there and in free agency. Brissett is guaranteed just $7 million next season and can make an additional $8 million in incentives, so his contract is team-friendly enough that keeping him on the roster should not be an issue.
Brissett threw for 2,942 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions in 15 games. He also had to play a significant portion of the season without one of the Colts’ best play-makers. While the Colts could certainly do worse at the QB position, you can’t blame them for feeling they may be able to do better.