Jacoby Brissett has gone from backup to starter and back again in the space of seven months. The once heir apparent in Indianapolis finds himself in a sticky situation that seems to offer no obvious solution.
With the retirement of Andrew Luck on the 24th August 2021, Jacoby Brissett was once again thrust into the starting role he had filled for the Colts in 2017. Brissett was quickly inked to a new two-year deal worth $30 million covering the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Jacoby Brissett fails to shine
Before Andrew Luck retired the Colts were considered by many to be contenders for the AFC South crown. In a seemingly relatively weak division, the Colts were well placed to hunt down the defending champion Texans.
After starting the season 5-2, with Brissett at the Helm, it looked like the Colts just might fulfill that potential. Jacoby posted an impressive 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in the first seven games, and it looked like the Colts had their franchise quarterback in the bag.
However, the next week in Pittsburgh Brissett would sprain the MCL in his left knee, and leave the game after just five attempts. He would only miss one game, but he was not able to find his rhythm again for the remainder of the season.
Throwing just four touchdowns in his next seven games, along with three interceptions, the Colts slumped to a 2-5 record after Brissett’s return. It was an ignominious end to what had started out as a promising season.
While it would be harsh of the Colts to throw Jacoby Brisset on the scrap heap after just 30 starts, 11 wins, and 19 losses, all signs point to this being the likely outcome. Signing Philip Rivers to a one-year deal is clearly not the long term solution, however, it implies he’s considered a better option than Brissett.
At this isn’t the Philip Rivers of his prime. Last season in San Diego he posted the lowest quarterback rating of his career as a starter, his lowest touchdown %, and his joint second-highest interception rate.
It was clear that Rivers is declining, but he may have one or two more years of competitive play left in his arm. The issue with that way of thinking is that the Chargers were pretty stacked on offence, and he led them to an appalling 5-11. The Chargers decided to move on, and with the options still on the market, you have to wonder why the Chargers signed him up so quickly.
With $46.75 million tied up in the quarterback position this season, everything says the Colts are looking to compete this season. They certainly have the weapons around Rivers to put up some points, but so did last year’s Chargers.
And what does this do for the newly ousted 2019 starter? Learning from Rivers for a year is certainly not a bad position to be in, although he did learn behind Brady in 2016 and Luck in 2018. So if he still needs to sit that will be a worrying sign for the Colts.
The biggest question mark hanging over Brissett is how he proves he’s worth a new contract when he’ll be holding a clipboard. Can anyone really see them stumping up another $20m per year for a quarterback they’ve just benched to sit behind an aging gunslinger?
In truth, the Colts may have already moved on from Brissett in their decision making. Holding the thirteenth pick in the draft, they may decide to take a punt on Utah State QB Jordan Love, or potentially use one of their second-rounders on Jacob Eason.
If they are sure they are moving on, using the 13 pick on Love would seem the logical move. They may even decide to package one of their second-rounders with their first to move up and secure Love inside the top 10.
If the Colts do take a QB early in the 2020 NFL draft, expect to see Brissett traded if there is a market for him. The price won’t be particularly high, probably in the fifth-round region, but there may be a thin market.
Normally, it would seem crazy that a team would move on from a QB that has shown decent potential this quickly. But with quarterbacks like Jameis Winston and Cam Newton currently unemployed, nothing should be considered out of the question in the modern NFL.
Barring an injury to Rivers in the 2020 season it’s hard to see Jacoby Brissett remaining in a Colts uniform beyond this contract. He will likely get some looks in 2021 free agency, but whether that is for a starting role is debatable at this point.