When the Colts drafted Jacob Eason in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, a decent chunk of the fanbase--this writer included--developed delusions of grandeur. Eason was raw; that could not be denied. Eason was also talented; that could not be denied. Fans could not be blamed for watching his Georgia/Washington highlights and dreaming about that cannon being fired in a blue and white uniform. Yet everyone--this writer included--knew that he would be better off with a couple of years development behind an established vet like Uncle Phil Rivers.
This was especially true since Eason was drafted during a pandemic. He would not have any chance at a normal offseason, and there were no preseason games in his rookie year. There were reports that he was working with Marcus Brady after practice, and Reich was complementary whenever asked about Eason. The fact that Reich kept getting Eason questions can be seen as an indicator that the media was interested in Eason's development, too.
When Rivers retired after only one year, everything changed. Everybody knew Eason was not yet ready to take over a playoff team; he'd never even played in a preseason game. The Colts had to come up with a plan. Matthew Stafford was probably plan A, but the Rams gave up a king's ransom for him, and the price was too steep for the Colts. The Colts went to plan B, trading their 2nd and 3rd round picks to the Eagles for Carson Wentz. The second round pick eventually became a first round pick because Wentz played basically every snap of the season.
Wentz did not play well down the stretch. Everybody knows that. When that happens, people immediately begin to call for a change. Here's the reality: a change is not going to happen. Carson Wentz is plan A, plan B, and plan C for the Colts in 2022. Here are the reasons why:
1. Jacob Eason is no longer on the roster.
His development did not go according to plan, so the Eason fans had to say goodbye. He kept getting demoted behind the other two QBs on the roster, so the writing was on the wall. Still, it was a bitter pill for some--this writer included--to swallow at the time. It was the end of a dream, though that dream was probably a stupid dream to begin with. All the same, it is impossible to say "GIVE EASON A SHOT! HE'S READY NOW!" when Eason is not on the team.
2. Sam Ehlinger is not a starting QB in the NFL.
Some may debate me on this, and that is fine. I'll say this: I did not see anything in college that made me really excited about the possibility of drafting Sam Ehlinger. Texas was about .500 with a lot of talented recruits. Nothing jumped off the page for me, but I am willing to admit that he could surprise me yet. I'm fine with spending a 6th round pick on a backup, though. Colt McCoy has won a few games when called on in emergency settings, and I see that as a parallel.
3. The Colts do not have a first round pick.
If there is a silver lining here, it is this: there are no first round quarterbacks in this year's draft. We are not missing out on a potential franchise guy with the 16th pick. (Could we get a great player there? Absolutely. I am referencing the QB position, not the entire field.) In the Burrow/Herbert draft, Pickett and Corral would have been second rounders. Who is the best second round guy this year? Is it Sam Howell? Carson Wentz is better than Sam Howell. If you are looking for a starter, this is not the year.
4. The Colts do not have the salary cap/trade capital to go out and get a top guy.
We all know there is no way Ballard is trading for a top 10 QB. He'd have to use Irsay's private jet as trade bait, because he doesn't have much else to offer. There is simply not enough trade capital this year. As for the cap, they have extended some guys and they have Big Q's contract coming up. Plus, getting a top guy would mean letting Wentz go. They would have to eat some dead cap this year (even though they would save $13 million or so by not having to pay his salary). It would be better on the cap to cut him after the 2022 season, when the dead cap hit drops.
CONCLUSION: There is only one option for the Colts in 2022, and his name is Carson Wentz. Carson Wentz will be the starting QB, and he has to play better football in 2022 than he did in 2021. He must adjust his thinking from SAVIOR to GAME MANAGER, and be the best game manager in the game. At this point, that is his ceiling. If we start using Hines and Taylor in the passing game the way Peyton used Edge, we will run a more efficient offense. In the meantime, Jacob Eason fans--this writer included--must shift their focus to another part of the field, and dream about Michael Strachan being the second coming of Calvin Johnson.
Now, tell me where I'm wrong, and let's discuss it like civil human beings.