It appears that Indianapolis Colts won’t be beginning with Andrew Luck under center. As reported by CBS Sports writer Jason La Canfora, “it looks likely that Luck will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list.” As a result, he will miss at least the first six games of the season and it’s possible he could miss more time depending on how he heals.
Overall the Colts are stressing the star quarterback healing properly over rushing him back to play for the opener. This is a wise move since Luck’s injury involves the shoulder, which sees ample stress during a football game and is a key part of a quarterback’s throwing motion. With this latest news, the Colts should find a replacement for Luck. He’s only expected to miss six games. Yet, it’s still a critical stretch of games that could make or break the Colts’ 2017 season before it’s halfway over.
Check out five replacements the Colts should consider signing during Luck’s absence from under center.
5. Colin Kaepernick
If the Colts want to take advantage of other teams delaying in signing a talented option at quarterback, then they’ll quickly scoop up Colin Kaepernick. NFL teams should not worry how a player aligns on certain issues as long as it’s done in a respectful manner. Instead, teams should be worried about if a player is talented or not.
In this case, Kaepernick should have been signed by a team back after the NFL draft. Yet, he’s sitting at home without a job and waiting for one team to call. The Colts could stick it to the Ravens and others if they swiftly contact Kaepernick and bring him in for a physical. They’d also get the last laugh as he helps steady the boat and leads the Colts throughout the preseason and the beginning of the regular season until Luck returns.
The Colts have nothing to lose by signing Kaepernick. He’s the most talented quarterback in free agency right now. Then, when he shows his talent and helps the team win, the fans will be happy. As long as the Colts are at least 3-3 or 4-2 after six games, the team should be in decent shape to still make the postseason.
4. Nick Foles
After playing for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2012-2014, Nick Foles is back in the City of Brotherly Love. He’s not the starting quarterback this time around but he knew that before signing with his former team. The Eagles have a decent backup in case of emergency and if Carson Wentz were to get hurt during his sophomore year. However, depending on the asking price, the Eagles may decide to listen to possible trade offers from the Colts.
Indy would be smart not to pursue Foles first and consider other options. However, if they think Foles is the best fit for them, then they need to be careful not to give too much in their offer for Foles. From a Philadelphia perspective, the organization needs to make sure they are compensated well for giving up a solid backup option behind Wentz. If they get too thin at the position, then history could repeat itself if Wentz goes down with a serious injury.
3. Jay Cutler
Another replacement option to consider during Luck’s absence would be former Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. With three years in Denver and eight years in Chicago, Cutler is more than qualified for this need. Is he the best quarterback to play the game? No, but he can provide decent service on the offensive side of the ball.
Cutler only played five games in 2016 but threw for 28 and 21 touchdowns in 2014 and 2015, respectively. He has the potential to lead a team and a six-game window would be a great opportunity for Cutler to show that. Cutler just needs to be trusted with the offense and not get hurt himself.
2. Tony Romo
While he retired from the NFL and is currently employed by CBS as part of their NFL broadcast team, he wouldn’t be the first NFL player to unretire. His itch to return to the field may grow once he starts researching and preparing to broadcast.
From the Colts’ perspective, they’d be bringing in an experienced NFL quarterback. His experience and his leadership could help a Colts squad that has added 53 players to their 90-man roster. While many of these players won’t make the final cut, there will still be various players who aren’t familiar with both the NFL pace and the Colts organization. While Romo would also be new to the team, his experience and leadership would help the team throughout Colts’ absence. Likewise, the Cowboys struggle in the playoffs but they didn’t have any trouble making the playoffs under Romo especially in recent years.
One of the issues to signing Romo is that he’d have to end his tenure with CBS unexpectedly and he is also injury prone as shown by last year’s season. At the same time, CBS could be understanding and keep Romo on staff for post-NFL season events. Yet, it would be more complicated to sign Romo than some of these other options.
1. Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin III is another experienced quarterback who is NFL-ready. He’s not the best option from this list but he’d be a good safety blanket for the six-game window that Luck is expected to miss. Likewise, he’d be in a new environment and that can do wonders for Griffin who struggled to find starting time towards the end of his tenure in Washington as Kirk Cousins and then headed to Cleveland in 2016 and is now out looking for a job. The Ravens have expressed interest in the quarterback but they haven’t officially offered him a contract as of yet.
Griffin may not like sitting on the bench behind Luck, but for at least six games should Luck be put on the PUP, he’d be starting under center. Likewise, if Luck can’t return as soon as expected, then the Colts would have depth at the position in case of emergency. Luck and RG3 are similar builds and styles when it comes to their game.