While Jim Irsay keeps everyone hanging in uncertainty regarding who will be leading the Colts in 2017, what’s clear is that regardless of who the general manager or head coach are, this will be a crucial offseason for the Colts.
They have a ton of needs all over the roster, particularly on the defensive side of the football. There’s plenty to discuss this offseason and we’ll do just that, looking at each free agent individually and discussing whether the Colts should re-sign them, looking at any outside fits in free agency for the team, looking at the draft and who the Colts should target, looking at the team needs and how to address them, and much more.
As we head into the offseason, however, here’s a primer that should hopefully answer a lot of your questions. Here’s the basic info you need to know about the Colts’ free agents, cap space, draft position, team needs, and 2017 opponents.
Colts Free Agents:
Here are the Colts’ upcoming free agents:
Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA):
Robert Mathis, OLB (announced retirement)
Trent Cole, OLB
Erik Walden, OLB
Darius Butler, CB/S
Mike Adams, S
Jack Doyle, TE
Jordan Todman, RB
Robert Turbin, RB
Chris Carter, OLB
Hugh Thornton, G
Restricted Free Agent (RFA):
Jonotthan Harrison, OL
Zach Kerr, DL
Josh McNary, LB
Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA):
Quan Bray, WR
Erik Swoope, TE
Colts Cap Space:
According to Over the Cap, the Colts will have $50,799,095 available in cap space this offseason (which is based on a $174.5 million salary cap, meaning this number is subject to change depending on what the official cap number is for each team). Either way, though, the Colts will have plenty of cap space to spend this offseason, and not really any big money free agents to re-sign either.
Colts Draft Picks:
The Colts will have a pick in each of the first six rounds in this year’s NFL Draft. In the first round, their pick will be either 14th or 15th overall, depending on a coin flip to break a tie. The team’s seventh round pick belongs to the Cleveland Browns as a part of the trade for Billy Winn a few years ago (it was a conditional pick, so this is assuming the undisclosed conditions were met). According to Over the Cap, the Colts are projected to get an additional fourth round compensatory pick for the loss of Coby Fleener last offseason.
Colts Team Needs:
The Colts can use help at a large number of spots all over their roster. So instead of just listing pretty much every spot other than quarterback, here are a few of the biggest needs the Colts have:
The Colts desperately need pass rush help, and as much of it as they can get. Their pass rush has stunk in the past few years, Robert Mathis is retiring, and Erik Walden and Trent Cole are all set to become free agents. Pass rusher is the biggest need the team has this offseason.
Along with edge rushers, the Colts need players to play at the other linebacker spots too, both outside and inside. Inside, the Colts have D’Qwell Jackson and some young players they might be able to keep developing, but they need help there. Outside, most of the guys worth mentioning are set to become free agents. The Colts’ run defense was atrocious this past season, and a large reason why was due to the linebackers. There are big struggles here, and the Colts should make it a focal point this offseason.
Frank Gore is awesome and he had a good season, but it’s clear the Colts need a young, dynamic running back - someone who can be the playmaker they really need. Ideally, this would be a young guy who can split reps with Gore. Additionally, they need to make a decision on their backups, such as Robert Turbin, who played well this year and was a good short yardage back.
Vontae Davis is a good cornerback and Clayton Geathers is a good safety, but after that there are questions in the secondary. Patrick Robinson and Rashaan Melvin will likely be back at corner, and T.J. Green will return at safety (but that’s not neccessarily a good thing). With Mike Adams and Darius Butler set to become free agents, though, the Colts need to make some decisions in the defensive backfield.
To be honest, the Colts actually have some pieces up front to work with, but it’s very much a work in progress still. So the Colts could stand to improve their offensive line still, but I think others will overstate the importance of this need this offseason. The Colts don’t need to go out and add more developmental pieces or depth guys, because they have plenty of them. The big need would be to go out and add a clear-cut starter in free agency, but there are probably better ways to spend money for the Colts this offseason.
Colts 2017 Opponents:
Home: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos
Away: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills