New Indianapolis Colts head coach Shane Steichen is focused on the players in the team’s building—and the upcoming NFL Draft, meaning that any outside shot of pulling off a blockbuster trade for the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson is likely over before it ever really began (via The Herald Bulletin’s George Bremer):
Steichen confirms the #Colts are focused on the draft and "the guys in the building right now" at quarterback. All but ruling out the Lamar Jackson option, which has become clear over the past couple weeks.— George Bremer (@gmbremer) April 12, 2023
While the Colts never quite ruled out Jackson recently this offseason, who earlier requested a trade from the Ravens, it never appeared that Indianapolis had serious interest in pursuing a trade with Baltimore.
For one, acquiring Jackson would likely require not only significant draft capital (at least the #4 overall pick and maybe more), but also a mega-contract with a lot of guaranteed dollars.
Even though Jackson is a 26 year old former NFL MVP, and incredibly talented (and a better passer than he’s been credited for), he’s had injury and durability issues the past two seasons—and faded down the stretch consecutively, likely because of it.
He’s an ideal fit in Steichen’s offensive system as a dangerous dual-threat quarterback, but ...
The Colts are likely facing at least a short-term rebuild in Indianapolis, and it’s a fair question of how gracefully Jackson will age past the next few seasons (entering his early 30’s), as his playing style relies a lot upon his elite speed, explosiveness, and athleticism.
If the Colts were closer to contention, maybe such a ‘championship’ move would’ve made sense. However, this is an Indy roster that appears to be more than at least “a quarterback away” right now, having taken a step back at several starting positions this past year.
Given the Colts have tried and failed at other recent NFL castoffs—including Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan, and had four opening starting quarterbacks since Andrew Luck abruptly retired after 2018, and the franchise can no longer pass the buck anymore.
It’s time to draft a potential long-term answer again early—and take the uncertain plunge.
(For what it’s worth, Florida’s Anthony Richardson was ‘in the building’ on Wednesday too, who remains under heavy consideration for the Colts with the #4 overall pick).