For the third offseason in a row, the Indianapolis Colts made a bold move at quarterback. On Monday they swung a trade with the Atlanta Falcons to land Matt Ryan in exchange for a third-round pick. The 36-year-old Ryan isn't close to what he once was, but he gives the Colts something they didn't have in 2021: a steady hand under center.
Ryan had one of the worst seasons of his career last year on a struggling Falcons team. He completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,968 yards, with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His passer rating was 90.4 and his QBR of 46.1 ranked 21st in the NFL. But with Ryan, unlike Carson Wentz, you know what you're going to get week-to-week.
The Colts' offense is build around running back Jonathan Taylor, which should make Ryan's job much easier. Taylor rushed for 1,811 yards and 14 touchdowns on 332 carries (5.5 ypc) last season. The offensive line is built to power that running game.
Ryan will have a really good young receiver at his disposal in Michael Pittman Jr., but the Colts certainly need to find a way to add some weapons for him. That will be more difficult given that they surrendered their first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft as part of the disastrous trade for Wentz.
Ryan can still be a functional quarterback in the NFL. He's not going to tear things up, but he can help a team win. He'll certainly need more to work with at receiver than Pittman, Parris Campbell and Ashton Dulin.
In the end, the Colts may have upgraded by going for steady over a high ceiling. Wentz was a mess in Indy, and Ryan will immediately come in and command the attention of the locker room. A former MVP with 14 years of experience who has been to the Super Bowl, he's a guy teammates can look up to. Wentz was not.
It's a gamble for a franchise that just missed out on the postseason in 2021, but probably the best option the Colts had at this point.