We probably would be a playoff team... but being a playoff team should not be the goal.
No! This is not how this works. Pay does not determine the quality of play. Average QBs get record setting money every time a new QB is due a new contract because the cap is rising. Every single average-ish QB has gotten record setting contract when the time comes - first it was Carr, then it was Stafford, then it was Cousins and Garoppolo(without having played a single season in the league), then it was Goff, now it's going to be Dak. Teams just don't want to lose starting level QBs and they pay them and the pay goes up every year because the cap goes up every year. People seem to think "average QB" is some sort of am insult. It's NOT. They are all good players and can win with enough talent around them and in the right environment. But they still are very average. They are still highly dependent players, which is alright when you have the extra 30M to plug holes in your roster around them before they get paid, but becomes very hard once they get paid. You will have no margin for error at all with QBs of that general quality.
Short, but good article, and thanks for posting.
While I agree injuries are an issue, 2019 wasn't nearly as bad as 2018 (as suggested by the rankings listed). Even if we did improve from 30th to 21st, I still don't like being in the bottom half. Sounds like he's made changes to a lot, but has left the medical staff in tact. Perhaps it's time for a change there too.
For those interested, mangameslost.com does a great job through the season of reporting impact. While their website is a pay site, they typically publish at minimum the weekly charts for free.
Here's the NFL regular season chart. It shows both pure games lost (left to right axis), but also measure player quality lost (size of bubble), with team wins shown on the vertical axis.
Of note, SF, KC, NEm, Seattle, and Houston were off worse off than Indy.