The players from Ryan Grigson’s final draft class are nearing the end of their rookie contracts, and new general manager Chris Ballard will need to decide whether each of them are deserving of extensions.
There are a number of hits and misses in the 2016 class, which will provide Ballard with some difficult decisions in the near future.
Ryan Kelly had a solid rookie year in 2016, but his second NFL season was marred with injuries and he didn’t play well at all when he was healthy enough to be on the field.
Kelly is under contract through the 2019 season, and I’d be extremely surprised if Chris Ballard doesn’t offer him an extension despite Kelly’s struggles last year.
T.J. Green had a disastrous rookie year, but he showed improvement in his second season.
He’s had to deal with changes in position as well as a coaching change, which has stunted his development. His performance in 2018 will go a long way in determining his future in Indianapolis, but he is under contract through the 2019 season like his draft classmate Ryan Kelly.
Le’Raven Clark has been a bit of a disappointment since being selected in the third round in 2016.
Clark hasn’t played well when he’s been in the lineup, and he probably won’t earn a starting job this year after the offseason addition of Austin Howard. Clark is under contract through 2019, but he might be on the roster bubble this season.
I wouldn’t expect Clark to earn another contract in Indianapolis.
Hassan Ridgeway has showed some flashes of potential during his two year career, but he hasn’t earned much playing time for the Colts.
After cutting Johnathan Hankins, Ridgeway could be in line to see some more snaps this season to prove that he belongs in the defensive line rotation. But barring a breakout year, I don’t think Chris Ballard will give Ridgeway a second contract.
Antonio Morrison was thrust into the starting lineup last season, but he was one of the worst linebackers in the league and could be blamed for some of the Colts’ defensive struggles.
The Colts attacked the linebacker position in this year’s draft, and Chris Ballard was likely looking for Morrison’s replacement with those picks.
Joe Haeg has probably been the most consistent player from the 2016 draft class.
He’s started 29 games over the first two seasons of his career playing nearly every position along the offensive line. While Haeg hasn’t been spectacular, he hasn’t been horrible either.
Having a player who can play both guard and tackle at an average level is valuable. I’d expect Haeg to earn an extension when his contract is up after the 2019 season.