With training camp beginning in a matter of hours, the Colts’ stable of running backs will be one of the most interesting positions to watch in the lead up to the regular season.
General manager Chris Ballard brought in an infusion of young talent in the backfield this offseason by drafting Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins with fourth and fifth round picks. Hines and Wilkins, along with second-year tailback Marlon Mack, will make up the young core of backs in Indianapolis.
Where does that leave Robert Turbin?
Turbin has been a reliable rotational running back for the Colts over the past couple of years, but his 2017 season ended with an ugly broken arm after just six games and he will miss the first four games of 2018 due to a performance enhancing drug suspension.
Turbin has settled in as Indianapolis’ short-yardage back converting 28 of 28 short-yardage opportunities for a first down or touchdown over the past two years, and he’s proven to be a reliable pass-catcher as well.
However, Turbin is 28 years old, which is ancient for an NFL running back, and he’s entering the final year of his contract in Indianapolis. In fact, the Colts wouldn’t sacrifice a single dollar in cap money if they cut him before the regular season begins.
I think the Colts’ new coaching staff probably wants to keep Turbin this season to provide a veteran presence in the running backs room. But with three promising young backs, and the possible emergence of Josh Ferguson or Christine Michael, I don’t think Turbin is in Chris Ballard’s long-term plans and I’d be surprised if he got a contract extension after this season.