According to team owner Jim Irsay, the Indianapolis Colts are hoping to find elite offensive playmakers—to keep up with the reigning Super Bowl Champions (and this year’s AFC Champion) Kansas City Chiefs:
“I think we need one or two big playmakers at tight end or wide receiver,” Irsay said in his end of season press conference. “I think we have a real interesting mix there, it’s amazing when you see #87 and #10 for Kansas City, and the things that they do and that sort of thing, it’s remarkable.”
“I think again, we’re looking offensively for a couple of more playmakers.”
Now, finding two elite playmakers such as Chiefs’ athletic freak tight end Travis Kelce and electrically fast All-Pro wideout Tyreek Hill is no easy task for any franchise.
The Chiefs just happen to somehow have two.
There’s a lot of NFL general managers looking for those same type of rare, dynamic offensive weapons—meaning there’s a long line, and such playmakers are a coveted hot commodity—if they even exist at all.
That being said, the Colts have some options to upgrade, as this upcoming wideout draft class is regarded as deep again—from one that just saw the likes of Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Chase Claypool, Jerry Jeudy, and Indy’s own Michael Pittman Jr. among others excel early on during their debut campaigns.
Armed with a projected $69.2M of cap space, there are also a number of potential big-named free agent wideouts such as the Chicago Bears Allen Robinson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chris Godwin, Detroit Lions Kenny Golladay, and Pittsburgh Steelers JuJu Smith-Schuster among top possibilities:
“It’s going to be really good,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said this past Friday on 107.5’s The Fan’s ‘The Dan Dakich Show’ regarding potential wide receiver options. “The draft is going to be as good as it was last year. The free agent market is good.”
While Irsay was more gung-ho about adding a top offensive playmaker or two this offseason, Ballard was a bit more stubborn on the possibility—reminding the listeners that he aspires to build from the trenches and still likes the core group that the Colts have at wide receiver:
“You want weapons that can score touchdowns, no doubt, but I like our young (guys),” Ballard added.
“. . . You’re always wanting to add weapons. You’re always wanting to add weapons to your team.”
Surprisingly, the Colts did finish 8th best in highest explosive pass rate this past season, while the Chiefs were 3rd best respectively. The Colts also finished 9th in most average points scored per game at 28.2 avg. ppg., but there’s some room for improvement—with the hope of eventually becoming a Top 5 NFL offensive unit again.
Now, the elephant in the room is that the Chiefs also have the undisputed best quarterback in football: Patrick Mahomes, and while that type of superstar quarterback ‘doesn’t just fall from a tree’ (to also quote Ballard), the Colts can surround their next starting quarterback with a strong supporting cast—featuring a number of dynamic weapons and backed by a strong offensive line and power running game.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Colts featured some elite playmakers of their own (to arm legendary franchise quarterback Peyton Manning with): Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and Edgerrin James.
While the Colts don’t have that type of elite quarterback anymore, the franchise can make the life of whoever’s behind center much easier going forward—which would still upgrade the potency of the team’s offense and ability to score more points regardless.