The Colts’ free agent class this offseason isn’t anything particularly exciting, as there are no true headliners from the group that the Colts absolutely must re-sign. But with that said, there are still some solid players on the list that the team will need to make decisions about.
Both of those things are illustrated well by NFL.com’s list of the top 101 free agents in the NFL this offseason. There are 27 different teams who have a player higher on the list than the Colts do, and 18 of those teams have multiple players higher than the Colts’ top one.
But even though the Colts don’t have any top-tier guys becoming available, there are still three Colts who made the list - again, showing that though there aren’t any must re-signs, there are some solid guys.
Tight end Jack Doyle was obviously the highest-ranked Colt on the list, checking in at number 66:
Doyle emerged out of nowhere as a sure-handed receiving option for Andrew Luck last season. Only 26 years old with good after-the-catch skills, Doyle's upside ranks with that of any free-agent tight end.
Outside linebacker Erik Walden also made the list, appearing at number 87:
Mostly a letdown as a free-agent pickup for the Colts, Walden quietly recorded 11 sacks last season.
And then rounding out the list was defensive back Darius Butler, who ranked 101st:
The veteran cornerback increased his market value by flashing versatility in the Colts' depleted secondary last season, spending some time at safety and acquitting himself well.
This is a pretty fair ranking. I think most would agree that not only is Doyle the best free agent from the Colts this year, he’s also the most important for the team to re-sign. Walden deserves a spot on this list after recording eleven sacks last year because of how valuable pass rushers are, though he’s not really a true pass rusher. And Butler has some value because he can play as a cornerback in the slot or as a safety.
Again, the Colts don’t really have any of those guys available that are no-brainers to re-sign right now, but Jack Doyle comes as close as anybody this year. There are several other solid options, however, and one guy not mentioned here is Robert Turbin. There’s no way he should be on the list of the top 101 free agents, but he’s a nice situational back that would be worth bringing back.
All of this points once again to the fact that the Colts don’t really have to allocate a lot of money this offseason to re-signing their own guys, meaning they should have the freedom to make some other moves in free agency if they wish.