Yesterday the Colts traded a 3rd round pick this year (#82) for quarterback Matt Ryan. Whether Ryan is a better version of Philip Rivers or just another washed quarterback is not going to be debated here, as that is a different topic that several other Stampede Blue writers already covered, the point here is that now the Colts have to start making moves before it is too late.
Now just a clarification, when I advocate for Ballard to take a more active approach in free agency I am not talking about the massive contracts given on day one, like for example the one the Jaguars gave Christian Kirk or the Von Miller deal to the Bills. I am against such contracts and I am glad that Ballard is not making the same mistakes Grigson did. What I am talking about is the second wave signings, the ones that contribute and play productive football, but don’t handicap the team’s ability to re-sign their own players. I am talking about the Myles Jack (16M, 2 years), Gerald Everett (12M, 2 years), Evan Engram (9M, 1 year), Austin Hooper (6M, 1 year), Byron Pringle (6M, 1 year) and plenty other under the radar free agents that would have helped this team desperately lacking depth at many positions.
So far, other than trading for Matt Ryan, the Colts acquired pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue for ascending cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, and signed cornerback Brandon Facyson, who is familiar with new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. The Colts lost Mark Glowinski, George Odum, Al-Quadin Muhammad, and Zach Pascal so far. Eric Fisher, T.Y Hilton, Xavier Rhodes, Kemoko Turay, Chris Reed, and Taylor Stallworth remain without contracts.
What moves could the Colts make?
The Colts now have very evident needs at two positions, wide receiver and left tackle, and they could use more depth at guard, cornerback, safety, linebacker, and tight end.
Despite several top players already being signed to new teams, there is still a lot of remaining talent in the free agency pool, especially in the positions the Colts are in desperate need of.
Left tackle is by far the Colts biggest need right now. There is a glaring hole there, one Eric Fisher could never fill after Anthony Castonzo retired. Just as it happens, one of the best left tackles in the NFL is available right now, as Terron Armstead still has not signed with the Dolphins (even though that could happen anytime soon). Now what if the sunny beaches and no income tax seduce Armstead into signing with a much less competitive team? Thankfully there is a great plan B option in Duane Brown. Another long tenured veteran, Brown has been one of the most consistent tackles in the NFL, and could be signed on a short term deal as a bandaid at the position.
As for the wide receiver position, the Colts probably need several players there...
Random thought …. Bruh I really think Matt Ryan to the colts was actually , I think bruh will elevate and do sum special over there.— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) March 22, 2022
Who knows, perhaps the Ryan signing and a sweet deal convinces OBJ to come to Indy. Beckham could come in and start alongisde MPJ right away, and at his best he brings a playmaking ability not seen in a Colts receiver in quite some time. Perhaps Beckham is too expensive for Ballard, and he decides to go with other cheaper options, like for example MVS, Jarvis Landry, or Will Fuller. There are plenty of options here, it’s just a matter of going out and getting guys that can produce and get separation for your new starting quarterback.
With Glowinski signing with the Giants, and Chris Reed still without a contract, the Colts have a big hole at guard. Sliding Danny Pinter to RG would leave Indy with no depth at the position, so getting more bodies that can play inside is a must. Re-signing Reed would be amazing, other than that, the Colts could sign Trai Turner or Quinton Spain.
With Ya-Sin out, the Colts could use some more bodies at the outside cornerback position, but I don’t believe they will be making any more moves at the position in free agency. I fully expect Ballard to use one of the earlier picks in the Draft on a cornerback.
The one player I would love for the Colts to add is Tyrann Mathieu. His versatility in the backfield would help a lot, and his playmaking ability is something we have not seen out of a safety in a Colts uniform since Mike Adams had two consecutive Pro Bowl seasons with 5 interceptions (remember that?).
All in all, I expect to revisit this article next week while discussing about the several players the Colts signed. There are just way too many holes on this team and not much draft capital to fill them, so going out and spending some money in free agency is a must for Ballard at this point.