With Barkley out of the Draft, the Colts Should Trade the Andrew Luck Pick

Daniel BarnesCorrespondent IIIDecember 23, 2011

STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal in action against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Stanford Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Stanford, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Colts still control their own destiny to get the first overall pick. If the Jaguars manage to beat them at home, then no matter what happens with St. Louis or Minnesota, Indianapolis will have the first pick in the 2012 draft.

So, I am assuming that the Colts will still have the first pick in the 2012 draft. I think, now, that when the draft rolls around in April, the Colts should trade away the Andrew Luck pick.

Just a week ago, my answer would have been different, but Matt Barkley's decision to stay in school changes everything. And I mean everything.

Had he declared, Barkley would've been the second or third quarterback off the board, and he would've been a sure-fire top-ten selection. Without Barkley, there are three quarterbacks that deserve a first-round grade: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Landry Jones.

Not a bad group. However, there are six teams that could be interested in a quarterback: the Redskins, the Seahawks, the Chiefs, the Browns, the Dolphins and the Jaguars.

Even if the Jaguars, Dolphins and Browns stick with the quarterbacks they have and the Colts do select Andrew Luck, then that still leaves one team short at the quarterback draw. One way or another, there aren't enough quarterbacks to go around.

That makes the Andrew Luck pick worth way more than it was when everyone thought that Matt Barkley was going to declare. When demand outweighs supply, prices go up, and that's exactly what will happen in April.

Furthermore, trading away Luck is easier to accomplish than trading away Peyton Manning because of the contractual issues. Trading Manning means either eating his contract, restructuring it with his consent or finding a team willing to take it on in lieu of the extra draft picks.

If Manning doesn't want to cooperate, which would be best for him since it'd allow him to decide where he goes himself, the Colts could be forced to cut him to save themselves about $28 million.

Either way, trading Manning would be far more complicated than trading Andrew Luck.

Now I know a lot of people are saying Andrew Luck should sit a few years behind Manning, but I think that simply will not happen. The Colts have a lot of holes they need to fix. They can't pay Manning, fix those holes in free agency (which they'd have to if they spent their first round pick on Luck) and pay Andrew Luck the money that a first overall pick requires.

Finally, you have Irsay's statements from earlier this week. Irsay seems to prefer keeping Manning over risking starting over with an untested rookie. After all, Manning is perhaps the greatest quarterback of the modern era; you don't just replace that.

I think it behooves the Colts to trade away the Andrew Luck pick. They'd certainly get just compensation. Afterwards, they could use a later pick to draft Manning's successor. They could probably acquire Ryan Tannehill in the second round, or just use all the other picks to fix their offensive line and defensive back issues.

The Colts proved against the Titans and Texans, the two best teams in their division, that they can still win with the guys they have. Their front office would be wise to remember that when Peyton starts feeling better.