AFC Notes: Colts, Jaguars, Titans


  • Colts GM Chris Ballard admitted they traded away QB Carson Wentz without having a firm backup plan in place, per the Athletic’s Stephen Holder: “To sit here and say we just had a flat-out plan that the QB was going to work out, we didn’t.”
  • Holder adds Colts HC Frank Reich wanted to run things back with Wentz, while Ballard was ready to move on: “Continuing to force that decision down your throat just to prove yourself right, it’s just not how we operate.” 
  • According to Holder, the Colts were preparing to go with either Saints QB Jameis Winston or Falcons QB Marcus Mariota as free agents. They were not interested in QB Mitchell Trubisky who signed with the Steelers. 
  • He adds there were doubts about trading for 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo because of his should injury and questions about how much of an answer he was at the position. There was also little interest in a trade for Browns QB Baker Mayfield because the way his situation was going in Cleveland made him not a fit. 
  • When Falcons QB Matt Ryan became available, that was far and away the best move for the Colts, though Reich acknowledged they’ll need to think about the long-term future still given Ryan is 37: “Once that became an option, that became the No. 1 option the whole way, as far as I’m concerned. Now, you always want the opportunity to go younger, but we didn’t have a lot of options.”
  • Ballard noted the door is still potentially open down the line to bring back WR T.Y. Hilton: “I still think T.Y. can play. I think here’s the thing that gets washed away: T.Y. might be the smartest player I’ve ever been around. He just knows how to play. We’ll see. We’ll have discussions. I think we’re all extremely fond of him, (and) we know what he brings to our team. We’ll see what happens down the line.”
  • Colts owner Jim Irsay said of the decision to trade Wentz: “It’s just, for us, it was just it was something that we had to move away from as a franchise — it was very obvious.” (Zak Keefer)
  • As for newly acquired Ryan, Irsay said: “Extremely grateful to the football Gods, so to speak, (regarding) where we were compared to where we are.”
  • Reich had more comments about why his reunion with Wentz didn’t work out and why the team decided it was time to move on: “It’s 2022. Not everything is a storybook ending. Mr. Irsay, Chris and I sat down and that was just the decision that we felt like was best for our team at this point.” (Nicki Jhabvala)


Jaguars HC Doug Pederson is happy the team was able to keep LT Cam Robinson but is also looking forward to adding more talent in the draft.

“To bring great guys back like Cam is to protect your quarterback,” Pederson said, via John Reid of The Florida Times-Union. “We want the offensive line to be solidified. We want guys up there that have been around. Cam is a big part of that, so we’re excited obviously to retain him.  Hopefully, we will work out a long-term deal with him, so he’s around more than a year. But as it pertains to the draft, that’s kind of its own separate deal right now. I’m sure we’re going to have more depth at that position. You can never have enough offensive linemen.”


Titans GM Jon Robinson told reporters that he was fortunate to retain C Ben Jones and LB Harold Landry, two core pieces of the team who signed multi-year deals.

“Ben was one of our first signings when I got here,” Robinson said of Jones, via Jim Wyatt of “He has been a Titan about as long as I have been a Titan. He is a glue guy in the middle, he is smart, he is tough. Everybody knows what Ben stands for, so to be able to keep that guy around and the continuity, it helps. And it sends a message to your younger players, too – What are you working for? And you are working to try and stay with the team you are at, and Ben is certainly deserving of that, and we’re glad to have him back.”

“Harold, he is a guy that we drafted, and he has worked hard. He has played a lot of different roles for us in the defense, as a rusher as an off-the-ball backer, as a mugged-up guy who picks for somebody else in the pass rush games,” Robinson said of Landry. “He does a lot of things that may not get noticed on the stat sheet that potentially frees up other people to record sacks or tackles for a loss or whatever it may be. Harold works extremely hard, is intelligent and we are glad we could get him back. Harold wanted to be back, and he is about what we’re about.”

Robinson also spoke about the release of WR Julio Jones, who spent just one season with the team after a trade with Atlanta.

“It certainly was not a lack of effort on his part,” Robinson said. “He tried his best to get out there, but he was battling it all year long. At the end of the day, and it’s on our wall in the training room: ‘Availability is just as important as ability.’ And, unfortunately for him – no fault of anybody – he just wasn’t available for us as much as he would have liked to have been, and certainly as we would have liked to have been. He was a great teammate, he worked hard, he is a pro. He handles his business. I can’t say enough good things about him and how he worked in his time with us.”

When it comes to any more moves that could be made in free agency prior to the draft, Robinson said they will continue to take a look at players both before and after they make their picks.

“I think it is kind of case-by-case basis,” Robinson said. “We have talked about a couple of different guys still, and maybe adding those guys into the mix. It may be after the draft, it may be before the draft. We have to be mindful of the cap – we have done a couple of things to give ourselves room. But you also don’t want to squeeze yourself too much that you can’t do something if you need to during the season. We’ll just see how it goes.”

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer said he will be keeping an eye on the Titans as a potential suitor for Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder in the draft: “Is there one quarterback Robinson would be interested in? It’s worth keeping an eye on Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder. I’ve heard that Bearcats coach Luke Fickell and his staff have really talked Ridder up privately to NFL teams. And Fickell’s best friend happens to be Mike Vrabel, the Titans’ head coach.”

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