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Colts Must Prioritize Injecting More Youth into Backfield This Offseason

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Though Frank Gore is amazingly durable and an excellent leader, the Colts must head in the direction of youth in the backfield as free agency and the draft approach

Indianapolis Colts v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

As the Indianapolis Colts season has finally come to a merciful end, literally every question about roster and coaching vacancies are sure to continue into the next weeks and months. One that has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue is the future of Frank Gore.

Gore has been an amazing player and leader for the Colts in his 3 seasons with the organization, and hasn’t missed a single game in the process. He came into Indianapolis hoping to be a part in building off of the Colts getting to the AFC Championship game the year previous with the intentions of getting them over the hump with an established backfield presence.

As we now know, that was not to be. Andrew Luck injuries, offensive line issues among several other issues including coaching limited the Colts success to 20-28 throughout Gore’s stay to this point. Now, Gore hits free agency and has stated that he would like to stay in Indy should Luck be healthy. But, should that be in the Colts plans as they continue to transition to youth around the roster? Is there room for Gore as they attempt to upgrade as much as humanly possible between Chris Ballard’s first and second seasons?

Look, Gore continued to show his elite vision this season and nearly achieved another 1,000-yard rushing season at 34 years old. He surpassed 14,000 rushing yards which is elite territory for the position, and was pretty good as a receiver this season as well averaging 8.4 yards per reception — his third-best mark when starting 16 games in a season.

Although Gore has been insanely durable for his age and has been a leader in the locker room as well as on the field, teaching by example, the Colts should use this time to build that backfield around what they’ve got in Marlon Mack.

Saquon Barkley has been getting a lot of love as being an elite back and will be mocked in the top-10 multiple times as the draft approaches. With the Colts selecting No. 3 overall, taking a running back that high will be a contentious argument as time passes. Also, backs such as Carlos Hyde, Jerick McKinnon and Isaiah Crowell will be getting some real interest around the league as free agency nears as well.

If the Colts were to re-sign Gore, it won’t be done quickly. Gore, despite all of his accolades, is not someone teams will be looking to build around. His average in yards per carry was the lowest of his career (3.7), he accumulated his fewest total touchdowns (4) since his rookie season (3) as well as churning out the fewest rushing yards through a full 16-game season (961).

The Colts will have several running backs to look at beyond the first round, and it’s impossible to tell which of those currently in the league will be re-signed, let go or may be on the trade block. One thing is for sure, though, there isn’t a better time to infuse youth into the position.

Gore would be an excellent late-in-the-process addition, however, several stones need to be turned over between now and then as a priority within Year-2 of the organizational transition.