Scott Tolzien’s time as Aaron Rodgers’ backup is over.
The Indianapolis Colts agreed to terms with the former Green Bay Packers quarterback on Friday, according to team owner Jim Irsay. The split made sense for both parties, as the Packers seemed poised to move forward with Brett Hundley as their primary backup and the Colts were in need of a backup to Andrew Luck after Matthew Hasselbeck’s retirement and Josh Freeman’s release earlier this week.
"We looked at a number of quarterbacks during this process and we felt Scott fit us on a number of levels,” said general manager Ryan Grigson in a release. “He is a young, highly intelligent, tough and driven individual who we feel possesses a lot of potential.”
Tolzien, 28, signed onto the Packers’ practice squad in September 2013 and has spent the better part of the past three seasons on the team’s active roster. After two seasons mostly spent as a third-string quarterback, Tolzien returned on a one-year, $1.35 million contract last March.
While he assumed the No. 2 job this past season, Tolzien’s future in Green Bay was clouded when the Packers traded up to take Hundley in the fifth round of last year's draft. After a slow start, Hundley fashioned the highest passer rating of any rookie quarterback (129.6) in the preseason after completing 45 of 65 passes for 630 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.
Tolzien saw almost all of his regular-season action in the months after his arrival in 2013. He was thrown into the starting role after Rodgers (broken collarbone) and Seneca Wallace (groin) went down with significant injuries. He completed 55-of-90 passes for 717 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions in three games before a returning Matt Flynn usurped him in a 26-26 tie against Minnesota on Nov. 24.
The Packers felt confident enough in Tolzien’s maturation as a passer to part ways with Flynn last offseason and give the former the University of Wisconsin quarterback the job. He wasn’t pressed into meaningful action this season – one completed pass for four yards – but coach Mike McCarthy and position coach Alex Van Pelt have praised Tolzien for the improvements he’s made in his throwing mechanics and footwork.
It’s been widely assumed the Packers would let Tolzien walk this offseason and enter next season with Hundley as Rodgers’ backup. The organization also could go back to carrying only two quarterbacks on the active roster like it did prior to Rodgers' collarbone injury from 2009-2013.
The Packers have one other quarterback, Ryan Williams, signed to the offseason roster. The 6-foot-4, 218-pound quarterback worked out for the team last season and has practice-squad eligibility.
Tolzien leaves Green Bay with one franchise record intact. His 339 passing yards against the New York Giants in Week 11 of the 2013 season were the most by a Packers quarterback in his first NFL start.