Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich announced today that Sam Ehlinger is set to start next week due to Matt Ryan’s shoulder injury. Matt Ryan, who was traded this past off season for a third round pick, has struggled in his seven games as a Colt. Although Ryan being replaced is reported as both a shoulder separation and a benching it’s a massive decision.
Although Ryan is fourth in passing yard this season he also leads the NFL in interceptions. The Colts offensive line has done no favors for Matt Ryan either. Ryan has been sacked 24 times this year and been hit a total of 31 times. The decision to bench Ryan comes after yesterdays 19-10 loss to Tennessee.
Who Made The Decision?
Reports are that Head Coach Frank Reich and General Manager Chris Ballard had a meeting with owner Jim Irsay and Carlie Irsay-Gordon last night to discuss the change. Irsay allegedly wanted to make the move regardless of Ryan’s health. I believe this is more of a football decision made by Ballard and Reich because it makes more sense for Ehlinger to play.
Frank Reich says he and Chris Ballard had a long conversation with Jim Irsay last night. Stopped short of saying it was Irsay's decision, but Irsay has been increasingly involved behind the scenes of late.
— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) October 24, 2022
Ehlinger is a more mobile quarterback who can throw the ball as well. This is a move that regardless of the decision is one that is beneficial for all. Frank Reich can strike lightning in a bottle with a young and athletic quarterback, and potentially this is a last ditch effort to save his job as he has struggled as the Colts HC.
Ryan’s Contract Situation
This change is a really bold move for the Colts to make because Ryan’s contract is fully guaranteed. He’s making 24.7 million dollars this season and is set to make 24.7 again next year. If Ryan is still on the roster by March 17th of next year then Ryan is owed 14.7 million. A move would likely be the case to try to trade Ryan but due to his advanced age, limited arm strength and mobility, and high salary it is more likely he will be cut.
When the trade went down, Matt Ryan received a contract adjustment. Now, $24.7M this year is fully guaranteed and $12M was fully guaranteed in 2023, plus an additional $17.2M that is guaranteed for injury becomes fully guaranteed 3rd day of 2023 league year. https://t.co/PimaH3lnX1
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 24, 2022
Who Is Sam Ehlinger
Ehlinger, who was a sixth round pick last season, had an excellent college career at the University of Texas. Most notably know for announcing that Texas was back after the 2019 Sugar Bowl, Ehlinger has yet to take a snap in a regular season game.
Ehlinger threw for over 11,000 yards in four years. He played the second most games all time in school history and total touchdowns.
This move is now the third quarterback change in less than a year after the Colts traded for Carson Wentz who they then dealt to the Washington Commanders this past offseason.
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