With the scary health news delivered to punter Rigoberto Sanchez, the Indianapolis Colts will be forced to sign a temporary replacement—at least in the short-term.
The Colts apparently have known about Sanchez’ health diagnosis since last week—who after consulting with physicians, elected to play this past Sunday. As such, general manager Chris Ballard has already compiled a short-list of potential fill-ins at punter:
Frank Reich on finding a temporary replacement for Rigoberto Sanchez. "Last week, Chris (Ballard) got on that real quick, going to our short list of punters. That process is ongoing."— Jim Ayello (@jimayello) November 30, 2020
Unfortunately, former Colts franchise great Pat McAfee is realistically off the list, after he tried a 2019 comeback with the Chicago Bears as a placekicker and experienced leg pain shortly thereafter. Besides, he’s had a lot of fun and success with what he’s currently doing.
With that being said, who are some of the top potential punting veteran options currently available off the street for the Colts:
The former New England Patriots punter (2013-2018) has had subsequent professional stints with both the Atlanta Falcons (2019) and Tennessee Titans (2020)—the latter who he punted for as recently as this November.
Having turned 30 years old, the 8-year veteran averaged 50.5 yards per punt and 40.0 net yards per punt this season for the Titans (granted on only 8 punts). He has career averages of 45.2 yards per punt and a NET of 41.6 yards per punt respectively.
The 2011 6th round pick of the Atlanta Falcons was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury in 2019 after 9 seasons with the franchise. He became a free agent this past offseason and had an early August tryout with the Buffalo Bills.
Now 33 years old, Bosher averaged 45.5 yards per punt and a NET average of 40.1 yards per punt when presumably fully healthy back in 2018.
Perhaps he can regain that prior form he had with the Falcons.
The former 2005 3rd round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs became a 2x Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion in what’s been to this point (even if it’s the end), a highly decorated and impressive long career after 16 NFL seasons.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard was with the Chiefs during part of Colquitt’s prior tenure, so there’s definitely some familiarity between the two here.
Now 38 years old, Colquitt may have ‘lost some leg’ on his punts. He appeared in 5 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this season, but only averaged a NET 37.2 yards per punt—as his career average is 41.4 NET yards per punt. He was subsequently released in October.
Perhaps the Colts are hoping for some veteran ‘lightning in the a bottle’ similarly to in 2009, when Indianapolis signed former longtime Baltimore Ravens kicker Matt Stover (then 41) in the wake of Adam Vinatieri’s season-ending injury.
Colquitt has veteran experience and would provide locker room leadership, but it’s a fair question of whether he actually has it anymore. The Colts may also not want to go down that ‘washed up’ road again after seeing aging kicker Vinatieri’s play finally fall off last season after an otherwise legendary career.
Originally drafted by the New York Jets in the 6th round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the 5-year pro also spent some time earlier this season with the Buffalo Bills practice squad.
Edwards averaged 45.9 yards per punt and a NET 41.6 yards per punt respectively during 16 starts for ‘Gang Green’ in the 2019 season.
Still only 32 years old, it wasn’t that long ago where the former Oakland Raiders’ 2016 2nd-Team NFL All-Pro was considered one of the league’s best overall punters—going toe-to-toe with the Colts very own McAfee (now of course retired) for such a distinction.
The outspoken punter—with a lot of personality and swagger, who once led the NFL in punting yards in 2014, hasn’t played a snap for ‘the Shield’ since 2018—after a short stint with the Denver Broncos in which an injury settlement was ultimately reached.
However, he led the XFL in punting yards while playing for the St. Louis Battlehawks during the 2020 season before the league unfortunately folded. He’s recently been on the workout circuit with other NFL teams.