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Colts face 3 off-season challenges: Retain, Revamp, Recover

Take the 10-question Stampede Blue Survey on the state of the Indianapolis Colts.

Indianapolis Colts v Atlanta Falcons
Indianapolis Colts General Manager Chris Ballard speaks with rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium — December 24, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

30 of 32 NFL teams have cleared out their lockers to commence the off-season and the Indianapolis Colts must address its glaring issues to contend in 2024.

Indianapolis’ top priority must be to ink receiver Michael Pittman Jr. to a long-term deal and avoid using the franchise tag ahead of the March 5 deadline. Pittman proved to be one of the most valuable pass catchers in the league, ranking ninth with 150 targets and accounting for 27% of the Colts total pass attempts. The 26-year old produced a career-high 109 receptions and 1,152 receiving yards while scoring four touchdowns. He joined Dallas Clark, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne as the only players in franchise history to record 100 catches with 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.

Pittman’s market value per Spotrac projects $90.8 million over four-years, an average of $22.7 million per year. If the Colts chose to use the franchise tag and delay the contract negotiations until 2025, he would earn an estimated $21.7 million in 2024. The Colts are expected to have over $66 million available in cap space in 2024 according to Spotrac. A significant challenge the Colts face during the off-season is retaining all three homegrown defensive starters who are set to become unrestricted free agents, including defensive tackle Grover Stewart, cornerback Kenny Moore II, and strong safety Julian Blackmon.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard mentioned during his end-of-season press conference that a key area for improvement is explosive plays on both sides of the ball. Ballard took the blame for the lack of depth at cornerback and admitted that Shane Steichen emphasizes on playing the younger players. To fix the secondary, the objective must be to revamp the defense through an astounding defensive draft class.

Colts cornerback Dallis Flowers tore his Achilles in the Week 4 overtime loss against the Los Angeles Rams, which abruptly ended his second campaign. Rookie cornerback Juju Brents missed half of the season while dealing with a slew of injuries. It’s fair to question the health of both expected starters after cycling through the disastrous carousel in 2023. The Colts should enter the sweepstakes to lure an established cornerback from losing organizations to Indianapolis in free agency, such as Jaylon Johnson or Kendall Fuller.

With 12 weeks to prepare for the 2024 NFL DRAFT, the biggest challenge the Colts face with a middling first-round pick is the decision to draft the best skill player available or bolster the defense. Will the best edge rusher or a skilled sleeper fall to the No. 15 overall pick? Will Ballard aim to trade the pick, draft the best skill player or address the defense on draft day?

The most vital factor to success next season will be the continued development and recovery of quarterback Anthony Richardson. Indianapolis ranked tenth in scoring, rushing yards per play and per game, and a loaded free agency class should influence the Colts to actively add weapons to compliment the skills of their franchise gunslinger.

Poll

How many games will the Colts win in 2024?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    7-8
    (30 votes)
  • 47%
    9-10
    (276 votes)
  • 44%
    11-12
    (257 votes)
  • 3%
    13+
    (18 votes)
581 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will the Colts win the AFC South in 2024?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Yes
    (313 votes)
  • 41%
    No
    (221 votes)
534 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How would you grade Shane Steichen’s first season as an NFL head coach?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    A
    (368 votes)
  • 31%
    B
    (174 votes)
  • 0%
    C
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (0 votes)
547 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How would you grade Chris Ballard for his seven years as Colts GM

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    A
    (32 votes)
  • 57%
    B
    (315 votes)
  • 31%
    C
    (173 votes)
  • 4%
    D
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (5 votes)
549 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will the Colts extend MPJ long-term or implore the franchise tag?

This poll is closed

  • 84%
    Extend long-term
    (454 votes)
  • 15%
    Franchise tag worth $21.7M in 2024
    (86 votes)
540 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will Anthony Richardson start and finish Week 1

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    Yes
    (524 votes)
  • 2%
    No
    (13 votes)
537 votes total Vote Now

Poll

State of Colts fanbase

This poll is closed

  • 80%
    Colts are primed to contend in the AFC
    (434 votes)
  • 16%
    Colts will finish around .500
    (88 votes)
  • 2%
    Colts will regress in 2024 and miss the playoffs
    (12 votes)
  • 0%
    Colts are no longer my favorite team
    (4 votes)
538 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will the Colts draft offense or defense in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Offense
    (237 votes)
  • 55%
    Defense
    (291 votes)
528 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Did you attend a Colts game in 2023?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Yes
    (137 votes)
  • 73%
    No
    (373 votes)
510 votes total Vote Now

Poll

When will the Colts reach the Super Bowl?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Next Season
    (10 votes)
  • 70%
    Within the next five years (2028)
    (372 votes)
  • 21%
    Within the next decade (2033)
    (114 votes)
  • 5%
    More than 10 years
    (29 votes)
525 votes total Vote Now