Irsay wouldn't trade Brissett for first-rounder

From the ashes of a dreadful 2017 season, owner Jim Irsay envisions a "great renaissance" in Indianapolis this year.

Driving that unbridled optimism is Irsay's excitement over the Colts' revamped aerial attack.

Now that innovative new coach Frank Reich is calling the shots for a healthy Andrew Luck with Jacoby Brissett in reserve, Irsay believes a position that was in dire straights last summer has resurfaced as the strength of the organization.

In stark contrast to the lingering skepticism from the football cognoscenti, Irsay has "no doubt" that Luck will reach even greater heights after overcoming a painful shoulder injury that left him unable to throw and uneasy about his NFL future.

"Trust me when I say this," Irsay insists, "it's made him a better football player, and a better man, a guy in the end who is going to give us even a better chance for greatness."

If there's a silver lining to Luck's mysterious absence throughout 2017, Irsay suggested, it's the trade that brought Brissett to Indianapolis for 15 starts in a lost season.

"All of a sudden, we have the best backup quarterback in football," Irsay said, via the Indianapolis Star. "I don't think we'd accept a [first-round pick in a trade] for him, we think he's that good."

That's high praise for a quarterback who directed an offense ranked a lowly 30th in Football Outsiders' metrics last year.

In Brissett's defense, however, he was stuck behind a perennially porous offensive line with an inconsistent ground attack and unreliable wide receivers. He turned out to be a major upgrade on journeyman Scott Tolzien, who was simply overmatched in the Colts' season opener.

While Brissett's most noticeable flaw was a reluctance to pull the trigger that contributed to one of the highest sack rates in NFL history, he deserves kudos for a strong arm and an ability to maintain poise as all else crumbled around him.

"He's committed, he's a great teammate, he's got juice, he holds people accountable, he holds himself accountable. I love Jacoby," general manager Chris Ballard explained in April. "Jacoby Brissett is going to play in this league a long time. If I learned anything last year, it was the value of a backup quarterback who can get it done, and I think Jacoby can do that."

Ballard and Irsay have put that praise into practice, rejecting a pair of trade offers early in the offseason, per the Indianapolis Star.

At a time when erstwhile backup quarterbacks such as Case Keenum and Nick Foles are in such high demand, it's easy to see why the Colts' top decision-makers place an exorbitant value on their own premium insurance policy.