Don’t gamble unless you’ve got chips to move
Earlier this year Andrew Luck retired and I like so many others immediately laid blame at the feet of former colts GM Ryan Grigson – perhaps rightly so – after all didn’t he fail to draft Andrew Luck an offensive line, favoring skill position players? I like so many others came to the simple conclusion that if you draft a quarterback high you need to get him an offensive line immediately (i’m looking at you houston). I went to sleep satisfied with that conclusion and pushed the thought out of my mind until I woke up this morning with a different thought process.
First before anything I want to wish Andrew Luck the best of luck – no player deserves an injury – he was a Hall-Of-Fame Caliber player and I hope he has a happy and fulfilling life, and I want to let the reader know this piece isn’t attacking him. The major issue isn’t that Ryan Grigson valued skill position players over offensive linemen (which as dumb as it is is a discussion for another day) instead the issue is he decided to take Andrew Luck instead of keeping Peyton Manning, in this scenario we’re going to change that, and have the colts go into full rebuilding mode with Peyton Manning at the helm and riding the future Hall of Famer for awhile longer.
Part 1 – The Trade
The 2012 draft had two major pieces at quarterback the other, not named luck, was one RG3 out of baylor. He was seen as a prize by Washington and they gave up a treasure trove to get him – 3 1st rounders and a 2nd rounder. The first pick of the nfl draft is 13% more valuable than the second pick, so if the colts traded their first round pick instead of the rams they would’ve swapped the 2nd rounder the rams got in real life for a 1st rounder (4 1st round draft picks in a row that’s excellent).
2012 NFL Draft
In this timeline the Rams still trade the pick – to the Cleveland Browns in a much bigger haul than the browns gave up in our timeline – swapping 1st rounders, a 2nd rounder, a 4thand a 5th rounder – they select Mark Barron at 4 to give their secondary some help. The bucs get Trent Richardson at 7. The colts get michael Brockers instead of the rams. The browns get David DeCastro the Steelers getting Kevin Zeitler and the bengals getting Harrison smith while the Vikings get Brandon Weeden. Sorry vikings fans. Instead of Doug Martin the bucs take Brian quick to round out the first round. Janoris Jenkins goes to Washington as the colts don’t have any of their second rounders in this timeline. The Broncos keep Tim Tebow Since there’s no Peyton Manning to trade for him. Everything else is nearly identical.
2013 NFL Season
The Broncos go 10-6 with Tebow: they lose to the bucs, chiefs and chargers. The rams go 6-10 without all the added firepower. With DeCastro and RG3 the Browns beat the cowboys, bengals, eagles and ravens and get in instead of the ravens. The colts get an extra win with manning and go 12-4 and get the #2 seed. The Vikings do 9-7 and the bears go in the playoffs instead. The Redskins go 9-7 with Andrew Luck and the giants make the playoffs.
The Texans advance, the packers beat the Vikings the colts beat the Browns 27-24, rg3 still gets injured, the seahawks beat the giants.
The Colts beat the Broncos, the 49ers beat the packers, the falcons beat the Seahawks, the Patriots beat the Texans, the 49ers beat the Falcons and the Colts beat the Patriots 35-28 in a thriller.
2012 Super Bowl
The Indianapolis colts would beat the San Francisco 49ers 41-38 to win the Super Bowl in a shootout. Ray Lewis retires without a ring, and manning gets another one.
2013 NFL Draft
The colts would’ve gotten Desmond Trufant and Matt Elam. The ravens would’ve gotten Xavier Rhodes, the browns would’ve gotten Tyler Eifert, the Viking would’ve gotten Björn Werner, and the falcons would’ve gotten Alec Ogletree. Everything else stays the same.
2013 NFL Season
The Broncos are 10-6 with Tebow still good enough to make the playoffs. The colts win 2 extra games with manning and the draft pieces going 13-3, the browns do worse, the ravens do worse, the bengals win 12 games. The Redskins go 7-9 with Andrew luck at the helm. The rest of the NFL stays basically unchanged.
2013 NFL playoffs m
The colts have the #1 seed, so they get a bye. The Broncos beat the Chiefs, the bengals beat the chargers – good job Tebow. The Colts beat the Broncos with Tebow – bad job Tebow, the Patriots beat the bengals. The colts make the Super Bowl and like the Broncos lose, but a lot closer than the Broncos lost by.
2014 nfl draft
Cleveland drafts Greg Robinson instead of the colts, the colts trade their first to the bills in exchange for a 1st and 4th in 2015. The colts draft Anthony Barr and the Vikings draft Justin Gilbert. With their 31st pick the colts also pick up Bradley Roby to play nickel corner. There are no other significant changes.
2014 nfl season
The Broncos go 9-7 this year with Tebow and still win the division. Tebow is heralded as the second coming of Christ. The Steelers go 12-4. The colts go 14-2 during the last good season for Peyton Manning. The Redskins go 8-8 with Andrew luck at the helm.
2014 NFL playoffs
I’ll skip ahead to the conference championship – In the afc the Patriots beat the colts. A classic Manning versus Brady matchup. The colts have an excellent team but Manning is just too old at this point to win it all. Everything else plays close enough to normal.
2015 NFL draft
In our timeline the Redskins got Brandon Scherff, so because I’m a bit lazy we’re going to give him to the colts as the final pick from “the trade” in 2012. In this timeline the colts have added Micheal Brockers, Brandon Scherff, Anthony Barr, Bradley Roby, Desmond truffant, Matt Elam, and a Super Bowl win over what they did in real life. This is an excellent haul in exchange for Andrew Luck
The colts would be in an excellent spot after 2015 to build for the future by drafting a qb with the retirement of Manning looming and a super bowl team around him.