Jacoby Brissett may be the most valuable back up quarterback in the NFL. He may also be the most valuable trade asset in the NFL this off-season. Earlier in the year we speculated whether it made sense to trade Brissett in season, but obviously that didn’t happen.
It’s been reported by Mike Chappell of FOX59 that while Brissett likes the situation here in Indianapolis, Brissett wants to be a starting QB in the NFL. Any true competitor would want his chance to be “the guy” so no one can blame Brissett for wanting to potentially move on. The question remains, will Chris Ballard make the move this off-season to trade Brissett?
Here’s what we know, Chris Ballard won’t move Brissett just because. Ballard has said he needs to be “blown away” by an offer and it has to be the right situation for Jacoby Brissett too. Well, that last bit pretty much ensures Brissett won’t be playing in the nation’s capital anytime soon. All joking aside, what would it take to blow Ballard away and where are the most logical destinations for Brissett that make sense if Ballard were to move him?
First off, why would a team want to trade for Brissett? This one is relatively easy. Brissett has shown to be an above average starter in the NFL. He’s highly accurate and has now trained under Bill Belichick and Frank Reich, two great coaches. Oh, he’s also entering the last year of his rookie contract. This effectively gives the team trading for Brissett two years of control over his rights, assuming the team uses the franchise tag. Getting a top 20 starting NFL QB for an average of about $10-15 million over two years is pretty darn good so there will likely be plenty of interest, if Brissett is available.
Let’s look at the market itself. Unlike last year, where the QB market was replete with decent options, this year the top free agent QBs are likely to be Teddy Bridgewater and Nick Foles, if the Eagles do not pick up his $20 million option. Those are, how should we put this, not great.
Of course we need to also consider the upcoming NFL draft in this calculation as well since those players will also be considered by teams in need of a QB. Hmm... similar to the free agent market, the crop last year was far more flush than this year.
All in all, this is good for the Colts and Chris Ballard. It artificially increases Brissett’s trade value as the teams who miss out on the “top” guys will inevitably come calling.
But, you might ask, what teams are in need of a QB this off-season? That is a great question. It turns out there are quite a few.
The teams most in need of a QB are:
New York Giants;
Miami Dolphins; and
Teams that could be looking to add a long-term option at QB are:
Los Angeles Chargers;
Tampa Bay Buccaneers; and
That’s eleven teams that could arguably looking to either get a new QB or a long term option to replace an ineffective or aging starter. That’s more than one third of all NFL teams. Given the limited options available and the abundance of teams in need, Brissett could be quite valuable.
Let’s eliminate teams that may not be the best situation for Brissett — so with Washington out, we now have ten teams.
On a serious note, Ballard isn’t sending Brissett to a division rival so that knocks out Jacksonville and Tennessee. It’s been rumored, due to the Jaguars hiring of John DeFilippo, they are in the driver’s seat to land Nick Foles. It’s no guarantee the Eagles will extend Foles as they are currently one of two teams over the salary cap. The Jaguars would need to outbid other teams for Foles services, which may be difficult as they are the other of the two teams over the salary cap.
That leaves eight teams likely in the running for Brissett: Giants, Broncos, Dolphins, Chargers, Steelers, Bengals, Bucs and Raiders. Of those teams remaining, the question becomes who has the draft capital to “blow away” Ballard and who would be willing to give up the goods?
While a first round pick, which is at a minimum what Jim Irsay wants, would definitely blow Ballard away, Jacoby Brissett isn’t likely going to net that much. If a team were to offer a first round pick, the most likely situation would be teams drafting in the back third of the first round. The problem is most of those teams have an aging star QB and want to win a final Super Bowl so it’s highly unlikely they give up such value for Brissett. This knocks out the Chargers and Steelers.
The only team possibly willing to give up that much now would be Oakland. Jon Gruden has picks 24 and 27 so maybe he moves one of those for Brissett. Gruden did say Brissett was his sleeper pick to be a great QB when he was drafted. However, they would need to cut or trade Derek Carr in order for a trade for Brissett to make sense, so probably not.
If a team in the top 20 offers their first round pick, you’d expect Ballard to seriously consider it no matter what the situation would be for Jacoby. That would be incredibly unlikely but maybe the Redskins or Dolphins could get desperate and make that move. Again, very, very unlikely.
Realistically, the Colts are probably looking for at least an early second round pick plus a mid-round pick in order to move on from Brissett. This makes sense because if Brissett were to leave in free agency after next season, at best, the Colts would net a late third round pick. So taking a second round pick in 2019 is far greater value than taking a late third round pick in 2020. And as we’ve all seen, Chris Ballard can do some real damage with those second round picks.
Narrowing the list down to teams with early to mid second round picks and long term questions at the QB position, that leaves us with five teams: Giants (37), Bucs (39), Broncos (41), Bengals (42), and Dolphins (48).
However, it’s no guarantee that simply a single second round pick will blow Ballard away. This means we need to look to see what kind of other mid-round assets these teams have.
The Giants do not have a third round pick but have two fourth round picks and two fifth round picks. The Broncos have their third round, two fourth round and two fifth round picks. The Bucs, Bengals and Dolphins only have a single pick in round three through five.
That makes the most likely teams involved in a Brissett deal to be the Giants and Broncos. They’ve got early to mid-second round picks and a plurality of assets in the mid-rounds to sweeten the pot for Chris Ballard.
Ballard probably would like to make this deal prior to the draft, not during. Given the Giants are the team highest in the draft order needing a QB, they may not be as inclined to trade prior to draft day and instead take the top QB in this draft, which is probably Dwayne Haskins or Drew Lock. Neither player would have been a first round quarterback last year or next year but desperate times call for desperate measures.
This leaves the Broncos as the most likely team to trade for Brissett. They are far enough down in the draft order that at 10 overall, Haskins or Lock likely won’t be there. They have a valuable second round pick and multiple picks in rounds four and five to try to blow Ballard away. They make the most sense.
Other, maybe less obvious trade options could involve a pick swap. My favorite option for this is actually with the Giants. Here’s my idea, the Giants send picks 37, 102, 126 and Landon Collins to the Colts who send back pick 90 and Jacoby Brissett. This of course assumes the Giants franchise tag Collins. The Colts would effectively net a high second round pick, a fourth round pick and Collins for Brissett and a drop of 12 spots in the draft. That would be a deal that would blow Ballard away but is still a reasonable offer if Collins isn’t in the Giants long term plans.
Ultimately, Chris Ballard will do what he’s said he will do, he’ll listen to offers. If he’s blown away, which would likely need to be a high second round pick or more, and the fit is right for Jacoby Brissett, he’ll make the trade. If it’s not, Brissett will be wearing the Horseshoe next season. It’s really that simple.
Regardless, it’s nice to be discussing positive, optimistic topics like these rather than what we’ve had in years past.