Indianapolis Colts were interested in Marcus Mariota trade this offseason

Before the Indianapolis Colts swung a blockbuster trade for Carson Wentz, the front office explored multiple avenues to replace Philip Rivers. With the 2021 NFL season approaching and Wentz injured, could Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota be a trade option?

When Rivers retired, forcing Indianapolis to find a reliable starting quarterback for the second consecutive year, a variety of names emerged as potential candidates. Matthew Stafford, Jimmy Garoppolo and Deshaun Watson all received some buzz early in the offseason. Ultimately, the Colts traded multiple picks for Wentz.

According to NJ.com’s Mike Kaye, Indianapolis expressed interest in Mariota before the Wentz deal was finalized. Las Vegas was open to moving him, largely for the cap space it would create.

Mariota eventually agreed to a new contract with las Vegas, which includes a no-trade clause. But following the Wentz injury, which could sideline him for up to three months, Indianapolis is thinking about its quarterback options once again.

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What will the Indianapolis Colts do at quarterback?

Wentz underwent surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot that caused significant pain. The initial timetable for recovery is 5-12 weeks, with Indianapolis holding slight hope that its franchise quarterback returns Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks.

While the franchise is optimistic, rushing Wentz back may not be the best approach. Pushing an injury-prone quarterback to play through pain might make him more uncomfortable and adjusting the way he plays to account for the issue risks another injury.

As training camp rolls on, the Colts are operating with the assumption that Wentz might only miss two regular-season games. So, after signing Brett Hundley, Indianapolis is preparing to roll into the preseason and presumably Week 1 with 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason as its starter.

  • Jacob Eason college stats (2019, Washington): 3,132 passing yards, 23-8 TD-INT ratio, 143.9 passer rating

Considering this front office gave Eason no consideration for the starting job when it evaluated its quarterback options, that speaks volumes about the state of the position.

Keep in mind, this team didn’t do a lot to improve its roster this spring despite having some of the most cap space in the NFL. There are still lingering questions at wide receiver and they have slid way down in Sportsnaut’s NFL defense rankings for the upcoming season.

Whether it’s trading for Mariota, Gardner Minshew or Nick Foles, the Indianapolis Colts would be wise to rethink their current approach at quarterback. Otherwise, betting on a quarterback with durability issues and shaky confidence may have severe consequences in 2021 and beyond.