While Richardson is the unquestioned starter going into his second season, the 2023 campaign proved having a viable backup is vital. Gardner Minshew stepped in admirably and nearly helped the Colts get into the playoffs.
Minshew is slated to be a free agent this offseason. He may seek fringe starter money on the market, which would likely put the Colts out of range to make a deal considering they already have their starter.
Re-signing Minshew would make a lot of sense for the Colts given his knowledge of Shane Steichen’s offense, but it will all come down to money.
So in the event Minshew doesn’t return, we’re here to take a look at the potential options for the Colts on the free-agent market in 2024:
Previous Team: New York Giants
Ever since his surprisingly efficient 2015 season with the Buffalo Bills, Taylor has been bouncing around the league looking for starting opportunities. He’s been with the Giants for the last two seasons, and he started five games in 2023.
If the Colts wanted to shift toward a backup option with a closer style to Anthony Richardson’s in terms of emphasizing RPO concepts, Taylor would be a fantastic option.
Previous Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Mariota was an interesting option for the Colts last offseason after they hired Steichen as the head coach. This was before Richardson was selected with the No. 4 overall pick in 2023.
Mariota wasn’t particularly good the last time he was a starter with the Atlanta Falcons in 2022, but his game thrives with RPO concepts. He would again be an intriguing backup option to Richardson in Steichen’s offense.
Previous Team: San Francisco 49ers
Darnold isn’t an exciting option, but he has experience working both as a starter and a backup. He would likely be a cheaper version of Minshew in the sense of a low-upside, game-manager type of backup. There would be a slight upgrade in his rushing ability compared to Minshew, but Darnold should only be an option if Minshew is truly seeking fringe starter money,.