The Jacksonville Jaguars knocked the Indianapolis Colts out of playoff contention and put an unceremonious end to the Carson Wentz era in Week 18 of the 2021 season. This isn’t surprising when you take into account that Indy hasn’t won at TIAA Bank Field since 2014. However, quarterback Matt Ryan could make things between these two AFC South rivals interesting in 2022.
Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reported Indy has acquired Ryan in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The trade puts an end to Ryan’s illustrious 14-year run as the Atlanta Falcons quarterback. Out of Boston College, he was the first overall pick in the 2008 draft and leaves Atlanta after completing 65.5 percent of his passes for 59,735 yards with 367 touchdowns and 170 interceptions.
After sending Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders, the Colts opted to trade for a proven veteran instead of dipping their toes on the free-agent quarterback market. Looking at the options they had — Jameis Winston and Mitch Trubiski among others — it’s easy to see with Indy opted for Ryan, who’s made four Pro Bowls and one First-Team All-Pro designation throughout his NFL career.
Last season, Indianapolis traded for Wentz but his tenured didn’t go as expected, reportedly refusing to embrace hard coaching and displaying poor leadership skills. The Colts’ brass surely expects Ryan to be the polar opposite and helps them make the playoffs after imploding in the last two games of the 2021 season.
The Jaguars should embrace Matt Ryan’s arrival to the AFC South.
The Colts didn’t have a first-round pick and the 2022 draft and without many enticing options in the open market, it was uncertain what route they would take to address their quarterback situation. But it’s now clear. While it would have been great to see Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson face off against Wentz (they worked together in Philadelphia), Ryan presents a tough matchup, and one he should embrace.
See, the Jags have been aggressive in free agency, making upgrades to several position groups. However, they aren’t the only club in the AFC South, let alone the conference that got better. Ryan may be past his prime but he represents an upgrade over Wentz and if Jacksonville can’t beat the Colts, what chances will they have against powerhouses such as the Kansas City Chiefs?
The Jaguars have their work cut out if they want to compete in the AFC South but they should be thrilled about Ryan’s addition to the AFC South which should push them to get better. The division still runs through the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans could surprise everyone in 2022. However, the Jags are taking the steps to keep up with their division foes and shouldn’t be taken lightly.