According to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts rank just 24th in NFL offseason capital when evaluating each team’s assets to improve though both the draft and free agency—having already surrendered their 2022 first round pick in the Carson Wentz trade during last year’s early hot stove:
24. Indianapolis Colts
Draft capital AV sum: 46.9
First-round pick: None
Current cap space: $41.2 million
The Colts gave their first-round pick to the Eagles as part of the trade to acquire quarterback Carson Wentz, who is also set to cost $28.2 million against their 2022 cap. But they have enough cap space available to pursue veteran additions at left tackle and receiver, among other positions, if they decide to go that route.
That lack of a first round pick could prove to be problematic—should the Colts seriously pursue a blockbuster pipe dream trade for either the Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers or Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson this offseason to significantly upgrade at quarterback.
However, not impossible to surmount, as the Los Angeles Rams showed when trading for Matthew Stafford last offseason without a 2021 first round pick, but instead packaging former starter Jared Goff, a 2021 third round pick, and their 2022 and 2023 first round picks to get the deal ultimately done with the Detroit Lions.
While the free agent quarterback options won’t ‘wow’ anyone, there are some meaningful potential upgrades at wide receiver such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chris Godwin, the Chicago Bears Allen Robinson, and the Dallas Cowboys Michael Gallup among others.
The veteran left tackle market is headlined by New Orleans Saints 3x Pro Bowler Terron Armstead, 30, but even he may be out of the Colts’ price range at a projected $20M per year on his next deal—especially with Indy All-Pro offensive guard Quenton Nelson’s mega-deal already imminently looming to ink. From an overall roster building standpoint, that may be too much cap space to devote entirely to the left side of the team’s offensive line—even if theoretically star-studded.
More cost efficient free agent options could be re-signing veteran Eric Fisher, 31, and hoping he regains his prior form in pass protection—a year further removed from a torn Achilles (having been an asset in run blocking in 2021), or perhaps looking at Seattle Seahawks 5x Pro Bowler Duane Brown, 36, who’s still playing at a very high level, as a short-term stopgap to bridge to an eventual long-term answer along the blindside.
Even though the Colts took a hit in these rankings with the lack of the team’s own held first round pick this year, there’s still plenty of future draft capital and available team salary cap space to make some noise this offseason—should the franchise actually choose to do so.