‘Unsettled’ Quarterback Depth Could Soon Become Clear For Colts

INDIANAPOLIS — By the time the Indianapolis Colts announced their roster cuts to get to their initial 53-man roster on Saturday, the team listed just one player at the quarterback position.

That could change very soon, however.

While starter Jacoby Brissett is currently the only quarterback on the Colts’ roster, the team will continue to monitor the waiver wire, as well as evaluate those veterans already available in free agency, to bring in a backup for at least the first couple weeks of the season.

“Yeah, no, it is unsettled,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said when asked about the team’s immediate future at quarterback following Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. “We’ve been doing work on that in evaluating Chad (Kelly) and (Phillip Walker), as well as evaluating all options, obviously, as you would expect. And that’ll play out over the next couple days.”

The Colts were exploring the possibility of keeping a third quarterback on their Week 1 roster as recently as last week, as starter Andrew Luck was continuing to work his way back from nagging calf and ankle injuries with the regular season approaching. But those plans changed when Luck decided to retire from the NFL, giving the team a new starter in Brissett — and a clear opening for the backup job.

With Chad Kelly already suspended the first two weeks of the regular season, the only other option on the Colts’ roster after the conclusion of the preseason would’ve been Phillip Walker, but the team waived him during final cuts on Saturday.

So with that in mind, what are some options currently available at the quarterback position for the Colts? Here are some notable names (keep in mind those waived by their respective former teams today must be awarded to the Colts in the waiver claim process by noon ET on Sunday):

» Matt Cassel, 37: A 15-year NFL veteran — and 2010 Pro Bowl selection — Cassel spent the 2018 season as a backup with the Detroit Lions after spending two seasons with the Tennessee Titans as Marcus Mariota’s backup. Currently a free agent, Cassel has played in 108 career games with 81 starts, and has completed 1,578-of-2,683 career pass attempts (58.8 percent) for 17,508 yards with 104 touchdowns to 82 interceptions.

» David Fales, 28: A sixth-round pick by the Chicago Bears in the 2014 NFL Draft, Fales has played in three career games with the Bears and the Miami Dolphins, where he completed 31-of-48 passes (64.6 percent) for 287 yards with one touchdown and one interception apiece. Fales most recently spent time with the Detroit Lions, who released him Aug. 27 after their third preseason game.

» Taylor Heinicke, 26: An undrafted free agent originally signed by the Minnesota Vikings in 2015, Heinicke has spent time with the Vikings, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers, appearing in seven career games with one start and completing 36-of-58 passes (62.1 percent) for 330 yards with one touchdown to three interceptions. Heinicke, a free agent, was released by the Panthers on Friday.

» Brian Hoyer, 33: Hoyer has spent most of the past two seasons with the New England Patriots as Tom Brady’s backup, but has starting experience with the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers. In 65 career games with 37 starts, Hoyer has completed 838-of-1,412 pass attempts (59.3 percent) for 9,902 yards with 48 touchdowns to 30 interceptions. Hoyer, a free agent, was released by the Patriots on Saturday.

» Cardale Jones, 26: Jones, a fourth-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2016 NFL Draft, has spent the last couple seasons as Philip Rivers’ backup with the Los Angeles Chargers, who waived Jones on Saturday. He’s appeared in one regular season game, completing 6-of-11 passes for 96 yards and an interception in 2016 with the Bills, but had a strong 2019 preseason with the Chargers, completing 28-of-41 passes for 357 yards and a touchdown, while also adding a rushing score.

» Cody Kessler, 26: A third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2016 NFL Draft, Kessler has played in 17 career games with 12 starts with the Browns (2016-17) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (2018), and has completed 224-of-349 passes (64.2 percent) for 2,215 yards with eight touchdowns to five interceptions. Kessler most recently spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles, who waived him on Saturday.

» DeShone Kizer, 23: Kizer, a second-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2017 NFL Draft, spent last season with the Green Bay Packers, who waived him on Saturday. He has 18 career games with 15 starts to his credit, and has completed 275-of-518 passes (53.1 percent) for 3,081 yards with 11 touchdowns to 24 interceptions.

» Kyle Lauletta, 24: Lauletta was a fourth-round pick by the New York Giants in the 2018 NFL Draft. He played in two games his rookie season last year, attempting five pass attempts and throwing one interception. Lauletta — who had a strong preseason this year for New York, completing 36-of-62 passes (59.2 percent) for 453 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions in four games — was waived by the Giants on Saturday.

» Paxton Lynch, 25: Lynch, a first-round pick by the Denver Broncos in the 2016 NFL Draft, was waived by the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday. Lynch played in a combined five games with four starts with the Broncos in 2016 and 2017, completing a combined 79-of-128 passes (61.7 percent) for 792 yards with four touchdowns to four interceptions

» Brock Osweiler, 28: A second-round pick of the Denver Broncos in the 2012 NFL Draft, Osweiler has played in 49 career games with 30 starts during his stints with the Broncos, Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins. A free agent, Osweiler had completed 697-of-1,165 career pass attempts (59.8 percent) for 7,418 yards with 37 touchdowns to 31 interceptions.

» Tom Savage, 29: A fourth-round pick of the Houston Texans in the 2014 NFL Draft, Savage has played in 13 career games with nine starts and has completed 181-of-315 passes for 2,000 yards with five touchdowns to seven interceptions. Savage, a free agent, most recently spent the offseason with the Detroit Lions, who released him on Saturday.

» Kyle Sloter, 25: Entering the league as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2017, Sloter is yet to log any game action with the Broncos (2017) or the Minnesota Vikings (2018). But he did perform well with his opportunities in preseason action the last three years, combining to complete 111-of-150 passes (74 percent) for 1,222 yards with 11 touchdowns to one interception. Sloter was waived by the Vikings on Saturday.

» Geno Smith, 28: A second-round pick by the New York Jets in the 2013 NFL Draft, Smith has played in 40 career games with 31 starts with the Jets, New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers, completing 523-of-906 pass attempts (57.7 percent) for 6,182 yards with 29 touchdowns to 36 interceptions. Smith, a free agent, most recently spent the offseason with the Seattle Seahawks, who released him on Saturday.

» Brandon Weeden, 35: A first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 NFL Draft, Weeden has played in 35 games with 25 starts from 2012-15 and 2018 with the Browns, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans. A free agent, Weeden has completed 559-of-965 career pass attempts (57.9 percent) for 6,462 yards with 31 touchdowns to 30 interceptions.

The Colts could also, of course, choose to bring back Walker, 24, who signed with Indy as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and spent most of the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the Colts’ practice squad. Walker has played in all 12 preseason games with the Colts the last three years, completing a combined 79-of-152 passes (52 percent) for 942 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions apiece.

Kelly, meanwhile, could be an option once he is eligible to return from suspension beginning in Week 3. Kelly, 25, a seventh-round pick by the Denver Broncos in the 2017 NFL Draft, appeared in one game with the Broncos last season, and was signed by the Colts as a free agent in May. He put in a strong preseason in Indy, completing 54-of-73 passes (74 percent) for 583 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions apiece, while also logging 10 rushing attempts for 107 yards and two scores.

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