Earlier this year, the Colts took a pass on several veteran quarterbacks on the market, staying instead with seldom used Jim Sorgi. Unlike the Cowboys, the Colts don’t even have a third string QB on the roster to turn to if times get really rough. For the Colts, this is a calculated risk that is as much about economics as playing the odds. Manning hasn’t missed a start since 1998, and Colts President Bill Polian has decided not to sink a lot of money into a back-up.
But watching the Cowboys, who clearly put their stock in Tony Romo going the distance, has made Colts followers wonder if the team would take a similar free fall without Manning, who looks more physically human than ever this year.
Spending more on a second-string quarterback doesn’t guarantee success. Sorgi, who will make $760,000 this year, is a relative bargain. The Cowboys are paying Brad Johnson $2.8 million. There’s a good argument the aging Johnson is less competent than Sorgi.
But there are bargains out there to ensure that a Manning injury wouldn’t necessarily wipe out the season. The Steelers grabbed such a bargain in 28-year-old Leftwich, a former first round draft pick from Marshall. Leftwich earlier this year signed a one-year $605,000 deal to join the Steelers. Because he signed for a minimum exception, the deal will count only $445,000 against the Steelers salary cap.
If starter Ben Roethlisberger can’t go this Sunday when Pittsburgh hosts the Colts, we will find out first-hand just what kind of a bargain the Steelers got.