After trading this year’s 13th overall pick for star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, it is clear that the Colts are in win-now mode. Indy has a solid roster; one that is a quarterback away from being Super Bowl contenders, specially after the Texans traded away the best wide receiver in the game for basically nothing, and I’m not fully sold on Ryan Tannehill as a franchise quarterback just yet, considering his lengthy injury history and how he was above-average for just 12 games.
The other AFC South member, the Jacksonville Jaguars, are in a class of their own. The dumpster fire that the franchise has become over the past few seasons is just incredible. After being defeated by the Pats in the 2017 AFC Championship game the Jags have fallen off drastically, and the roster has seen a lot of turmoil since.
Defensive stars like Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, and A.J Bouye have been traded away and elite linebacker Telvin Smith abruptly retired. A defense once feared by every team across the NFL, is now left in shambles. The handling of the quarterback situation was also a big mistake by Jaguars head of football operations Tom Coughlin, who gave Nick Foles a 4-year $88 million contract last offseason that clearly did not pan out, as Foles injured his collarbone on Week 1 and then was beat out by 6th round rookie sensation Gardner Minshew for the starting job.
I will not even get into detail about the mismanagement of injuries by the Jaguars medical staff and the NFLPA basically warning players against signing with the Jaguars.
The players the Colts should try and get
To put it shortly, the Jaguars are a hot mess, and one the Colts can take full advantage of. There are not many players worth getting on the Jaguars roster but there is a pair that the Colts could get dirt-cheap that would put Indy in a prime position for success: The aforementioned Nick Foles and disgruntled pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue.
Nick Foles was a major disappointment after signing a lucrative contract last offseason. Now, the Jaguars are trying to trade him away to get most of his salary off the books and insert Minshew as the franchise quarterback going forward. Yannick Ngakoue is a terror for opposing quarterbacks and he clearly does not want to be in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars are aware I no longer have interest in signing a long term contract in Jacksonville. Duval, I love you and gave you guys everything I got. I’m thankful for the journey and look forward to continuing my career elsewhere. -91— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) March 2, 2020
Ngakoue was franchise tagged before free-agency, so if he wants out of Jacksonville the only way is via trade.
Why it makes sense for the Colts
First and foremost, Nick Foles and Frank Reich won a Super Bowl together at Philadelphia, so clearly Reich knows how to maximize his talents and make the offense work around him. His enormous contract might be a deterrent for Chris Ballard, but if he really believes the Colts have a chance to contend right now then Foles is the best option currently available.
Besides, the Colts have the perfect opportunity to fill two needs at a cheap price. Getting Ngakoue would turn Indy’s defensive line into one of the best in the entire NFL, if not even the best, with Buckner commanding double teams on the inside while Houston and Ngakoue demolish tackles on the outside, and I’m not even taking into account the depth with Kemoko Turay.
The Colts roster clearly has the talent to win right now, and with the rest of the AFC contenders losing key players either to retirement or via free-agency, the window to win a championship might be opening.
What it would probably cost the Colts
The Jaguars are desperately trying to trade away Nick Foles, as his contract is just way too expensive for a backup quarterback. Ngakoue’s case is a little bit different, as the Jags most likely want to keep him, but the player does not want to be there. Therefore, we have two players that the Jaguars have no use for. Ngakoue will likely get the Jaguars some trade offers, but certainly none will be as tempting as the chance to also get rid of Nick Foles’ contract. Even after getting DeForest Buckner, the Colts have an absurd amount of cap space, and could easily stomach Foles bloated contract and sign Ngakoue.
In terms of specifics, I’m thinking something like this.
- Colts get Nick Foles; Yannick Ngakoue; 2020 Round 6, pick 193
- Jags get 2020 Round 4, pick 122; 2021 Round 4; 2021 Round 5
(After the trade, the Colts would sign Ngakoue to a 4-year $75 million contract, front loaded.)
While this probably will not happen, it just makes so much sense for Ballard to try and pair Reich and Foles back together, while also adding a star pass-rusher, and all for just a few Day 3 picks. Watching Foles in the 2017 NFL playoffs was a thing of magic, and him beating the Patriots makes me just want him even more. Ngakoue would transform the Colts front 7 into one of the most feared by opposing quarterbacks and he is just 24 years old. In all, this is certainly the time for the Colts to capitalize on the incompetence of the Jacksonville Jaguars.