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Need a quarterback? The case for and against Mitch Trubisky in Indianapolis

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Buffalo Bills warms up prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Following Wednesday’s trade between the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Commanders, the Colts publicly begin their starting quarterback search for the 2022 season.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Colts are sending Wentz and a 2022 2nd round pick to the Commanders in exchange for a 2022 2nd pick, 2022 3rd round pick, and a 2023 3rd round pick that could elevate to a 2nd round selection if Wentz plays 70% of Washington’s snaps this coming season.

The irony between the NFL quarterback moves over the past 48 hours? Indianapolis, Washington and Denver are the only NFL teams set to have a new Week 1 starting quarterback for the sixth consecutive season

This isn’t a list any franchise wants to land on, and in fairness to the Colts, Andrew Luck’s abrupt retirement ahead of the 2018 season combined with Philip Rivers’ decision to retire following the 2020 season doesn’t place the organization in the same quarterback purgatory of Washington and Denver. 

Regardless, this is a completely different spot for Owner Jim Irsay, General Manager Chris Ballard and Head Coach Frank Reich. 

This past March, the deal for Wentz was done to shore up the long-term passing attack in Indianapolis. That didn’t happen and now the options via trade and free agency are limited. 

Some are calling for a massive trade package to land Las Vegas Raiders Quarterback Derek Carr, who just miraculously led the franchise to the playoffs despite the franchise’s heap of trouble off of the football field. 

Why would an organization, which just spent a decade trying to find a new home and did so by building a $1.9 billion stadium in a booming sports market, bail on their young, winning franchise quarterback?

It’s not going to happen. 

Instead, let’s begin our series breaking down available quarterback options for the Indianapolis Colts. The first one here isn’t going to spark a parade on The Circle, but, it’s realistic. 

Mitch Trubisky

Don’t pick up the phone and call your Bears buddy across the state line. Mitch Trubisky will forever live in infamy with Bears fans, a burden placed on the quarterback by recently dismissed Chicago General Manager Ryan Pace.

As a junior and the full-time starting quarterback at the University of North Carolina for the first time, Trubisky set the single-season record for passing yards, touchdowns, and total offense. The Bears deemed these 13 games enough tape to trade up one spot to the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and took Trubisky. 

Who were the next two quarterbacks off the board? Patrick Mahomes (10th overall to Kansas City) and Deshaun Watson (12th overall to Houston). 

The thought of Mahomes in a Bears jersey may haunt Chicago for decades.

In 2018 during Trubisksy’s second NFL season, he caught fire under then first-year Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy, leading the Bears to an 11-3 record as a starter, recording his professional career-highs nearly across the board including passing yards (3,223), touchdowns (24), and completion percentage (66.6). 

He was named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster and Chicago won the NFC North Division Title for the first time in eight seasons. 

Trubisky’s lone postseason experience came in the 2018 NFC Wildcard Round against Philadelphia where a potential game-winning field goal in the final minute by kicker Cody Parkey doinked off both uprights and fell no good

The Bears and Trubisky never regained form following the double doink. 

Trubisky posted an 8-7 record over 15 starts in 2019, despite suffering a partially torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder Week 4 against Minnesota. He underwent offseason surgery and the Bears ensured the third-year pro he was their starter for the 2020 season.

But, quickly a quarterback battle was set on paper. In late March of 2020, Chicago sent a fourth-round draft pick to Jacksonville for Nick Foles, who was just one season removed from leading Philadelphia to a Super Bowl title. 

With Foles in the mix and ready to compete, the former No. 2 overall pick never regained the confidence of ownership or the fanbase. 

This was evident at the beginning of 2020 as Trubisky went to the bench ahead of Week 4 despite the Bears starting the season 3-0. He didn’t start again until Week 11, finishing out the season 3-3 over the final six weeks.

Nagy and Pace needed to win to save their jobs and bringing back Trubisky in 2021 wasn’t an option.  

Last March, Trubisky hit free agency and quickly signed a one-year deal in Buffalo to backup MVP candidate Josh Allen. His lone season with the Bills was spent almost entirely on the sideline, attempting just 8 total passes. 

Why Trubisky makes sense

At just 27, Trubisky’s injury history and baggage do not raise red flags.

The 2018 Bears offense under Matt Nagy proved to be smoke and mirrors, and Trubisky initially took the fall. Over four seasons in Chicago, he played with only one pass catcher (Allen Robinson) who eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving.

Schematically, he fits Frank Reich’s heavy play-action and RPO style and is fresh off studying Josh Allen for an entire season. If Chris Ballard wants to pair a rookie quarterback selected early on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft with a veteran who can temporarily hold down the fort in 2022, Trubisky may be his best bet.

Regardless, holding on to draft capital ahead of the stacked 2023 NFL Draft quarterback class is a smart play.


Why Trubisky doesn’t make sense

Are you buying season tickets to watch Mitchell Trubisky lead the Colts in 2022?

Colts Owner Jim Irsay’s “All Chips In” mantra for the 2022 season clearly targeted Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson to depart the NFC for Indianapolis.

While we will likely never know the trade package the Colts offered Seattle for Wilson, it didn’t work, and the thought of turning to Trubisky will be impossible for a portion of the fan base to get onboard with.