The Indianapolis Colts announced on Saturday afternoon that the team has released veteran starting cornerback Pierre Desir.
According to OverTheCap, the move should save the Colts a projected $6.85 million in cap space immediately for this offseason (with no dead cap hit).
Originally a 2014 4th round pick of the Cleveland Browns, Desir bounced around to the San Diego Chargers and Seattle Seahawks organizations before finally finding a long-term home in Indianapolis—when he was claimed off waivers before the start of the 2017 season.
Since then, the 29 year old cornerback has developed into a quality starter for the Colts over the past three seasons, making 29 starts (37 games) and recording 161 tackles, 26 passes defensed, 5 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles.
In 2019, Desir had 50 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 11 passes defensed in 12 games (11 starts). However, he had a bit of a down season compared to his 2018 form—at least partially because he was battling a knee and hamstring injury.
Per Pro Football Focus (subscription), the 7-year veteran was just their 126th best rated cornerback with a +58.8 grade overall last season.
What this means for the Colts is that seldom used former second round pick Quincy Wilson is firmly in the starting cornerback mix as it stands—with Rock Ya-Sin covering on the other outside spot and Kenny Moore locking down the slot.
2nd-year corner Marvell Tell could be under strong starting consideration as well among the Colts internal replacement options.
However, Desir’s release could also be a precursor to another cornerback being signed, as the Philadelphia Eagles’ Ronald Darby or the Tennessee Titans’ Logan Ryan are also free agents available at the position—as potential upgrades among options.
Despite Desir’s ‘down season’, this move seems pretty surprising.
He was a quality starter for the Colts in recent seasons—and the hope was that with more pass rush coming from All-Pro DeForest Buckner in the interior and improved overall health, that the veteran cornerback would have a rebound season in 2020.
Obviously, that’s no longer in the cards for the Colts and Desir.