When a star quarterback retires, things change.
Andrew Luck announced Saturday that he is retiring from the NFL following the Colts’ 27-17 preseason loss to the Bears, so just about everything is going to be different in 2019.
OK, that’s a bit of a hyperbolic statement, but what is true is Luck’s retirement does have a ripple effect on the NFL in 2019.
So what are those effects? We have five for you.
Five effects of Andrew Luck’s retirement on the NFL in 2019
Jacoby Brissett gets a shot at being a franchise quarterback
Is Brissett a franchise quarterback? That is unclear. But one thing is for certain, he is going to get a chance to be one in Indianapolis. There’s a reason the Colts wouldn’t trade Brissett this offseason even if they were offered high draft picks. Indianapolis likes him. Now Brissett is going to get a chance to prove he can lead this team better than he did when he didn’t have a ton of time to prepare in 2017 and had a bad roster around him. This is Brissett’s chance. We’ll see if he takes advantage.
Texans, Jaguars can breathe easier
The Texans were likely the favorite to win the AFC South coming into 2019, but the Colts were certainly a threat considering Luck would be two years removed from the shoulder surgery which cost him the entire 2017 season. But the Jaguars’ addition of Nick Foles at quarterback had to put them in the conversation before, and now that Luck is gone they have to have the second-best odds don’t they? But either way, the Texans and Jaguars have to feel better about getting wins against the Colts now and they could easily see two more wins on their schedules just with this retirement.
Patrick Mahomes’ path to a second-straight MVP got easier
While Andrew Luck didn’t finish second in the MVP voting last year, one had to figure he would be firmly in the conversation to start this year and possibly the main competition for Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes. Now that competition is gone and Mahomes will likely have to fend off aging quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger and maybe a younger guy like Carson Wentz or Baker Mayfield. But Luck was going to be far away from his injury and would have likely been even better than he was last year with a more solid team around him. Mahomes might not be happy, but he has to feel good about his MVP chances again.
Browns, Ravens, Steelers will be happy come playoff time
The Colts likely would have earned a wild-card spot this season with Luck at the helm. They still might. But without Luck it will be tougher to get there, and as good as Brissett might be, Luck would probably be a more sure thing in a playoff scenario. The Browns, Ravens and Steelers are likely to be wild-card round competitors and not having to face Luck there will be nice. Again, maybe Brissett will be awesome when he gets there, but we know Luck has been good in the wild-card game, so looking ahead these teams have to be happy.
Patriots’ path again gets easier
The Patriots have whipped up on the Colts in the playoffs but having Luck at 100 percent with a better defense made Indianapolis a tougher out in the playoffs, especially in Year 2 with Frank Reich at the helm. Now Luck is out and the playoffs may have completely changed. The Patriots are the favorites to win the AFC because they should be. The Chiefs are great, but until they beat the Patriots in the playoffs the conference goes through them. Now, the path to the Super Bowl looks ever so slightly easier.