Jacoby Brissett is a franchise quarterback-in-waiting, and organizations with issues at the game’s most important position should place Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard’s number on speed dial in an attempt to acquire the offseason’s most tantalizing option.
“I want to be a starter in this league,” Brissett said, per Fox 59’s Mike Chappell. “If that’s what you’re asking me, yeah, I want to be a starter in this league.”
Every backup wants to be a starter. The difference with Brissett lies in a combination of age, upside, previous experience and potential availability.
The NFL draft and free agency aren’t the only ways to acquire a quality starter. The trade market provided two squads—the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins—with their signal-callers, even though both dealt with serious injuries.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Brissett is generating interest in the league. With so many teams needing quarterbacks and high-end depth pieces behind their starters, it was only a matter of time before the Colts received offers.
Brissett was a 2016 third-round pick with the New England Patriots but was traded to the Colts in September for 2015 first-round pick Phillip Dorsett.
After Scott Tolzien failed to get through a full game in 2017, Brissett took over as the starter and was fully given the reigns when the Colts placed Luck on the injured reserve list.
Brissett had his struggles in 2017 but he also had plenty of moments of promise. He completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,098 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
However, it is difficult to blame him for all of the offensive woes, especially considering the Colts virtually had no pass protection or rushing attack.
He also emerged in the locker room as a leader and proved to be tough as nails playing behind an offensive line that allowed the most sacks in the NFL.
Brissett is still just 24 years old and though he has been generating interest, it seems the Colts like him as a solid starter or high end backup behind Luck.
The Colts have a potential trade chip in backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett. However, they also value him highly and aren’t inclined to trade him for cheap.
“I think he’s a starter in the league,” GM Chris Ballard said (via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star). “It would take somebody doing something that would blow me away, and it has to be the right thing for the kid, too. I’m not just sending him anywhere.”
Last year’s free agent QB crop was uniquely strong, but this year’s group doesn’t offer nearly as many viable options. Between Brissett’s 2017 performance and the dearth of quality signal-callers out there, Brissett could fetch a high price if he’s dangled to other teams.
The Colts went just 4-12 without Andrew Luck under center in 2017, but Brissett did well from an individual perspective. He completed 58.8% of his throws that year for 3,098 yards with 13 touchdowns against seven interceptions. Those aren’t MVP numbers, but he was playing behind a porous offensive line that allowed him to be sacked 52 times.
At some point, the Giants will not be able to sit back and allow their quarterback situation to settle like all those leaves gently falling from the trees. They will need to shake that darn tree.
The Giants say they have a succession plan for life after Eli Manning. That plan cannot entirely wait until the 2019 draft, hoping they find one with a top-five pick. How about trading with the Colts for Jacoby Brissett?
It makes some sense. Brissett is big, mobile, athletic and has a huge arm. Bill Belichick liked him enough to make him a third-round pick in 2016. Belichick also traded him (for receiver Phillip Dorsett) a year later when Andrew Luck went down and the Colts were desperate for a quarterback. Brissett started 15 games last season and, amid all the losing on a bad team, showed promise, completing 59 percent of his passes, with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also can move around in the pocket. Luck is healthy and Brissett is back on the sideline. If Luck gets through 2018 unscathed, perhaps Brissett can be pried away early in the offseason.
This is a 24-year-old who, at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, has the skill set to thrive in the modern NFL offensive circus. Bill Parcells loved him when Brissett came out of North Carolina State. There were some in the Giants organization who were also high on him, with evaluations such as “he has everything you’re looking for in an NFL quarterback of today” and lauding his ability to throw a great deal of passes without turning the ball over.
Perhaps Brissett develops into a bona fide NFL starter. Adding him diminishes the pressure to absolutely, positively take a quarterback in the first round in 2019. Even if the Giants are able to land Justin Herbert of Oregon, Brissett would be a valuable placeholder. Something to think about.
The Giants have a lot of quarterback options this offseason, very few of which would exactly blow away their fans.
But they may have to blow away Indianapolis to land one of them.
The Colts, who possess one of the most enticing backup quarterbacks in the league in Jacoby Brissett, want the NFL world to know they are open for business and are setting their sights high.
Colts GM Chris Ballard admitted he has talked with Brissett about the possibility of trading him this offseason, as the 25-year-old is set to enter the final season of his rookie-league contract — making him especially affordable and attractive to interested teams.
“It would have to be right [fit] organizationally, and for him,” Ballard told reporters Monday as the Colts wrapped up their season, which ended with a 31-13 playoff loss to the Chiefs. “I want to do the right thing for the player, too, now. I want to do the right thing for Jacoby. Jacoby has too much value to us, not only as our backup quarterback, who I think you can absolutely win with and I think he’s a starter in the league, but also to the locker room. He is well-respected throughout the locker room by both sides of the ball — offensively and defensively.
“… It would take somebody doing something that would absolutely blow me away, and it has to be the right thing for the kid, too,” Ballard added. “I’m not just sending him anywhere.”
Brissett, a third-round pick of the Patriots in 2016, impressed immediately that season in filling in for Tom Brady, and then was flipped to Indy for receiver Phillip Dorsett just before the start of the 2017 season. He did not sparkle but did not flop as he filled Andrew Luck’s shoes last year, completing 58.8 percent of his passes and throwing 13 touchdowns to seven interceptions (plus four rushing touchdowns) in 15 games started, all while still picking up the playbook.
With Luck healthy this season, he reverted to backup, a role Ballard praised him for. If he is to be traded, it would likely be to a team looking for competition at the quarterback spot.
“He is a special, special teammate,” Ballard said. “I think you’ve all seen it. You’ve been through that locker room. He is well-respected. And I think the relationship between him and Andrew has become very strong over time — and as you would expect in that quarterback room.”
The Giants have Eli Manning entering the final year of his contract and are coming off a 5-11 disaster. The
quarterback options in the draft are not hyped — although Dwayne Haskins and possibly Kyler Murray could intrigue. Nick Foles also could be on the market — a thin market that might never be better for the Colts to trade Brissett.
“This is what I told Jacoby: I said, ‘I’m not giving you away. Won’t do it,’” Ballard said. “I said I had chances last year and I didn’t do it, and I won’t do it again.”