INDIANAPOLIS – One of the Indianapolis Colts’ options in the April draft has been eliminated.
Any possibility of acquiring the No. 1 overall pick in a trade with the Chicago Bears is off the table. The Bears sent the first pick in the draft to the Carolina Panthers Friday and received massive compensation.
For the No. 1 selection on April 27, the Panthers sent the Bears picks Nos. 9 (round 1) and 61 (round 2) this year, a first-round pick in 2024, a 2025 second-rounder and wide receiver D.J. Moore.
Chicago general manager Ryan Poles told Peter King during the NFL Scouting Combine last week he wasn’t “greedy’’ in seeking compensation for the No. 1 overall pick. But he added any team interested in acquiring the pick in the next few days or weeks is “gonna have to go above and beyond to close the door now.’’
The Panthers did precisely that. And it’s worth noting they made the bold move with former Colts coach Frank Reich in position to reap the dividends of getting the quarterback they covet.
So, how does that impact the Colts, who hold the No. 4 pick?
That depends on how general manager Chris Ballard, coach Shane Steichen and their personnel staff view the available quarterbacks.
Ballard mentioned last week he would be willing to trade up with the Bears “(if) we were just convicted that this is no freakin’ doubt the guy.’’
It’s anyone’s guess who that might be, and the Colts remain in the evaluation phase. The top four prospects are Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson.
Carolina now is in position to take the top QB on its board, and the Houston Texans are expected to acquire their quarterback of the future with the No. 2 pick.
The Arizona Cardinals sit at No. 3 and are not in the market for a quarterback after locking up Kyler Murray last year with a five-year, $230.5 million contract that included $160 million in guarantees.
The Colts’ options at No. 4 in the aftermath of Carolina’s dramatic trade:
*move up to No. 3 in a trade with the Cardinals and get who would be perceived as the third-best quarterback.
*stay at No. 4 and take whichever quarterback remains. If the Colts don’t deal with Arizona, some other team – the Raiders, Atlanta, maybe Tampa Bay – most assuredly will and grab a third quarterback ahead of them.
*stay at No. 4, take the best player available – that would almost certainly be the best non-QB in the draft – and either find a quarterback later in the draft or once again rely on a veteran free agent in 2023.
*trade back from No. 4 to accumulate addition picks and find a quarterback later in the draft or once again rely on a veteran free agent in ’23.
Ballard made it clear he was keeping his options open.
“To move up, there’s gotta be a guy worth it, OK?’’ he said last week. “If when we meet as a staff and we say, ‘OK, this is what we need to do. This (is) the guy for the next 10 to 15 years,’ and we think he’s the right guy, we’ll do it.
“But who’s to say we won’t get one at 4?’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.