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PFF’s Best Free Agent Fits for Colts: Offense

Which offensive free agents does Pro Football Focus think fit best with the Colts?

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NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus has released its first ever NFL Free Agency Guide (available to PFF EDGE and ELITE members), this for the NFL’s 2018 free agency period.

PFF has highlighted a ton of free agents from every positional category and provides the players’ best team fits for 2018 along with what their projected guaranteed salary per year should be under their new contract.

In regards to salary projections, PFF says:

The salary numbers in the guide are projections of average guaranteed salary per year rather than total amount or total amount per year. Most fans understand that NFL salaries are often structured to have a high total amount, but some of the salary is never likely to be given to the player. The player’s position is taken into account because some positions are played more than others. This is not to project how much we think a player will get paid but how much he should get paid.

In regards to best team fit projections, PFF says:

Each unrestricted free agent has been given an ideal team to land with in free agency. This does not necessarily mean that each of those teams should be pursuing every one of those free agents, but rather that each of those players matches what those teams do from a schematic or stylistic point of view. Salary cap space and roster construction has also been factored in when looking at those ideal team fits, and they reflect the most sensible landing spot for each player in isolation, not as a complete team shopping list for the free agency period as a whole.

Restricted free agents did not receive an ideal team fit because they are so much less likely to move anywhere in the free agent period.

For the purposes of this article, I went through and separated each offensive player that PFF said fit best with the Colts. This includes some of their own impending free agents. They are sorted by position, and then alphabetically.

Quarterback — Matt Barkley

Former: Arizona Cardinals

Size: 6-2, 227

Age: 27

Projected guaranteed/year: $1.5M-1.7M

UFA Rank: N/R

Take: While the Colts may be a fit for Barkley, they shouldn’t be in the market for a QB2/QB3 right now. General manager Chris Ballard says the search for upgrading the roster never stops, which is true, but the Colts already have Jacoby Brissett, Brad Kaaya and, to a much lesser extent, Phillip Walker under contract behind Andrew Luck. Barkley is a guy that you pickup if your starter and backup go down. Brissett and Kaaya both have higher upside than Barkley.

Running Back — Frank Gore

Former: Indianapolis Colts

Size: 5-9, 212

Age: 34

Projected guaranteed/year: $1M-1.3M

UFA Rank: N/R

Take: Gore could fit into just about any offense, but if he’s going anywhere that makes sense for both he and that team, it’s probably staying in Indianapolis. However, will Ballard and Josh McDaniels want that? You can respect Gore but also want to move on and get younger at the position at the same time. The Colts do have rookie Marlon Mack and veteran third-down back Robert Turbin to move to in 2018, but they will need another quality player to add to the group. It’ll likely come in the form of an unquestioned starter, or someone who complements Mack’s game.

Running Back — Jerick McKinnon

Former: Minnesota Vikings

Size: 5-9, 205

Age: 25

Projected guaranteed/year: N/A

UFA Rank: UFA33/RB3

Take: I really like this choice. While McKinnon’s game has been pretty similar to Mack’s in the past, he has become an improved all-around player as he has been given opportunities over the years. McKinnon obviously can run, but he also can catch and now pass protect. He could play the role of James White or Dion Lewis in McDaniels’ system. While this is a really good draft class for running backs, adding McKinnon in with Mack and Turbin means the Colts can focus on essential positions in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Running Back — Jordan Todman

Former: Houston Texans

Size: 5-10, 200

Age: 28

Projected guaranteed/year: Veteran minimum. According to Spotrac, the 2018 veteran minimum contract for a player with Todman’s accrued time in the league would be $915K.

UFA Rank: N/R

Take: I imagine that this is just for the purposes of special teams. Todman was with the Colts in 2016 and was their primary kickoff returner. He did a great job, averaging 29.9 yards per return (fourth-highest in NFL), with 1 touchdown.

Offensive Guard — Jonathan Cooper

Former: Dallas Cowboys

Size: 6-2, 302

Age: 27

Projected guaranteed/year: $900K-1.1M

UFA Rank: N/R

Take: Cooper likely will never live up to being a top-10 draft pick, but he has become a capable starting NFL guard. In 2017, PFF gave Cooper the 14th-highest pass blocking efficiency among FA OG’s (96.3). At the very worst, Cooper could be the first interior offensive linemen off of the bench.

Offensive Guard — Jack Mewhort

Former: Indianapolis Colts

Size: 6-6, 308

Age: 26

Projected guaranteed/year: $2M-2.5M

UFA Rank: UFA30/OG3

Take: Many people are frustrated with Mewhort because he has missed a lot of time due to injury (has missed 17 games in the last two seasons). However, the last two years all appear to be linked to struggles recovering from lingering injury. Perhaps now that he has had all of this time off, he actually can be 100 percent. If he doesn’t pass the Colts’ medical checks, then we will know it’s a real problem. If he does, then what is to keep him from being the same solid starting guard that we have known him to be previously?

Offensive Guard — Andrew Norwell

Former: Carolina Panthers

Size: 6-6, 325

Age: 26

Projected guaranteed/year: $3.5M-4M

UFA Rank: UFA7/OG1

Take: Norwell is the bell of the ball when it comes to Colts free agent targets. If the Panthers let him test free agency, the Colts need to have him in their crosshairs. Norwell has sustained positive play for a while now and is the type of player that the Colts need to plug in to fix their offensive line. In 2017, PFF declared Norwell the NFL’s third-best offensive guard and the best pass-blocking guard.