What to expect from the 2022 free agent quarterbacks if they played for Frank Reich

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Colts head coach Frank Reich has a history of improving quarterbacks. Carson Wentz's last four games weren't good enough, but he was indisputably better in 2021 with Reich than he was in 2020.

Prior to this season, I compared Jacoby Brissett, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz before and after Reich and found the following statistical improvements in their play:

Completion percentage: +4%

Touchdown percentage: +13%

Interception percentage: -36%

Passer rating: +9%

Sack percentage: -38%

The 2022 class of free agent quarterbacks is uninspiring but what would they look like under Reich? To find out, I compared the most recent handful of seasons by the quarterbacks, pro-rated their stats to the 516 passes Wentz threw this season then applied the above adjustments. Here is what they look like:

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Oct 13, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 13, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Teddy Bridgewater

Reich stats: 70.8%, 3,814 yards, 21 TDs, 7 INTs, 99.7 passer rating, 22 sacks

Bridgewater seems like a quarterback who looks good until he's wearing your team's uniform and the flaws in a dink-and-dunk approach are easier to see. He's pretty much the opposite of Carson Wentz; won't make mistakes but doesn't contribute a lot of big plays.

Andy Dalton

Reich stats: 66.7%, 3,342 yards, 23 TDs, 10 INTs, 91.4 passer rating, 24 sacks

Now 35, Dalton has been in steady decline since 2015 and his numbers above aren't as good as Wentz's. Would be OK as a veteran backup but not an improvement.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Reich stats: 66.7%, 3,750 yards, 25 TDs, 9 INTs, 96.8 passer rating, 23 sacks

He'll be 40 and coming off a hip injury that cost him almost all of 2021. He's also been wildly volatile in his career; since 2013 his passer ratings are: 82.0, 95.3, 88.0, 69.6, 86.0, 100.4, 85.5, 95.6. The idea we can predict what Fitzpatrick will do is foolish and you'd better have a good backup plan if he's your guy.

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich talks with Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles (7) before an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Indianapolis.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich talks with Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles (7) before an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Indianapolis.

Nick Foles

Reich stats: 67.9%, 3,156 yards, 18 TDs, 7 INTs, 90.1 passer rating, 21 sacks

Foles had an incredible season in 2013 (119.2 passer rating, 27 TDs, 2 INTs) and, of course, won a Super Bowl for Reich in 2017 (115.7 passer rating, 6 TDs, 1 INT in the playoffs). But the rest of his career he's been a guy who completes a lot of short passes. Would be fine as a veteran backup but he's not as good as Wentz.

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is brought down by Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) after rushing for a first down Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, during a game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is brought down by Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) after rushing for a first down Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, during a game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Marcus Mariota

Reich stats: 61.9%, 3,291 yards, 23 TDs, 8 INTs, 93.1 passer rating, 22 sacks

That stat line seems optimistic ... and he's still not as good as Wentz. Mariota, in fact, has topped Wentz's 94.6 passer rating once in his career. Passer rating is hardly the perfect stat but it does indicate how hard it will be to find an upgrade on Wentz.

Cam Newton

Reich stats: 65.5%, 3,490 yards, 14 TDs, 10 INTs, 85.8 passer rating, 27 sacks

He's had three subpar seasons in a row and has been in decline since his All-Pro 2015 season.

Dec 3, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) throws a pass during the first quarter against the New England Patriots at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 3, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) throws a pass during the first quarter against the New England Patriots at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrod Taylor

Reich stats: 62.6%, 3,345 yards, 19 TDs, 5 INTs, 89.5 passer rating, 34 sacks

After a solid three-year run from 2015-17, Taylor has been largely ineffective, albeit in some difficult situations. He seems best in a veteran backup role at this point in his career.

Dec 5, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) scrambles with the ball in the first half against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) scrambles with the ball in the first half against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell Trubisky

Reich stats: 67.3%, 3,291 yards, 23 TDs, 8 INTs, 93.1 passer rating, 22 sacks

Trubisky showed just enough with the Bears that you might be able to talk yourself into him ... but his stat line above is not as good as Wentz's was last year. Trubisky is going into his Age 28 season so there's no reason to think he's getting better.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) delivers a pass against the Indianapolis Colts at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) delivers a pass against the Indianapolis Colts at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019.

Jameis Winston

Reich stats: 62.8%, 4,109 yards, 34 TDs, 14 INTs, 98.3 passer rating, 24 sacks

One of the few free agents worth serious consideration, though it seems unlikely the Saints would let him go. Injury limited him to 7 games but he posted a 14-to-3 TD-to-interception ratio with a 102.8 passer rating.

BONUS OPTIONS

Sep 20, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Denico Autry (96) tackles Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) for a safety in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 20, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Denico Autry (96) tackles Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) for a safety in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins

Reich stats: 69.6%, 4,066 yards, 37 TDs, 6 INTs, 112.0 passer rating, 20 sacks

Cousins is not a free agent so you'd have to trade for him with the new regime in Minnesota. He would jump your salary cap hit at quarterback to $50 million but looking at the available options, you have to consider it. Cousins is another quarterback who probably seems better until he's in your uniform. Another reason not to pursue him is he's going to be 34 and his performance has slipped the past two seasons.

As a yellow penalty flag comes in, Indianapolis Colts defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (97) zeroes in on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) who got the ball out in time Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Indianapolis beat San Francisco 30-18.
As a yellow penalty flag comes in, Indianapolis Colts defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (97) zeroes in on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) who got the ball out in time Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Indianapolis beat San Francisco 30-18.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Reich stats: 71.0%, 4,458 yards, 26 TDs, 9 INTs, 106.7 passer rating, 21 sacks

Garoppolo is not a free agent and Trey Lance didn't play like he was ready to take over the starting job so this doesn't seem realistic right now. If Garoppolo is available, however, the Colts should pursue him but there are two issues: They don't have a first-round pick and Garoppolo has missed significant time in two of the last four seasons.

Contact IndyStar Deputy Sports Editor Nat Newell at (317) 444-6182 or nat.newell@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NatJNewell.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts: What to expect from 2022 free agent QBs with Frank Reich

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