According to ESPN’s Matt Bowen (subscription), two Indianapolis Colts standout players, wideout Michael Pittman Jr. and cornerback Kenny Moore II, made its recent cut among the top fifty NFL free agents overall headed into the 2024 offseason:
17. Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts
Age entering 2024 season: 26
With his physical 6-foot-4 frame and high-end ball skills, Pittman can play on the boundary or create vertical matchups from slot alignments. He has the vision to produce on catch-and-run concepts, with 44.5% of his career-high 1,152 receiving yards coming after the catch this season. Pittman’s 109 receptions in 2023 were also a career best, and he is more than willing to work the dirty areas of the field.
31. Kenny Moore II, CB, Indianapolis Colts
Age entering 2024 season: 29
He’s still one of the top slot corners in the league, picking off three passes this season, giving him 17 interceptions for his career. Moore has the profile to play inside, and he’s rugged and aggressive versus the run game. But he also has the awareness to play in space and can match in coverage.
Given his youth, consistent production, and positional importance for soon-to-be second year quarterback Anthony Richardson’s continued growth and development, Pittman Jr. should be the Colts top free agent priority this offseason—in what’s a loaded in-house class for Indianapolis (also including safety Julian Blackmon and defensive tackle Grover Stewart among others).
Pittman Jr. led the Colts in receptions (109, also 5th most in the NFL), receiving yards (1,152), and touchdown receptions (4) during 15 starts in 2023.
Not only is Pittman Jr. a surprisingly tough and deceptively fast runner after the catch and a reliable downfield target with his ability to high-point the football (in addition to being a big bodied possession target of course to help consistently move the sticks), but he’s also willing to do the dirty work as it relates to his tenacious blocking along the perimeter.
The Colts will assuredly either look to re-sign him to a lucrative multi-year contract, which should place him in the same conversation as some of the league’s current highest paid receivers, or franchise tag him—if the two sides are unable to reach an agreement.
Meanwhile, Colts’ cornerback Kenny Moore II is fresh off arguably his best career season with Indianapolis, as the veteran regained his prior Pro Bowl form—especially following a down season in 2022 (likely due to injuries, an emotional offseason contract dispute, and a defensive scheme change).
Moore II finished his 2023 season with 93 tackles (68 solo), 8 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions (*2 returned for touchdowns), 6 pass deflections, and 1.5 sacks during 16 starts this past year. He returned to being one of the best slot cornerbacks in all of football.
The former Pro Bowler is sticky regarding his coverage in the slot and is one of the league’s surest defensive back tacklers around these days. He also offers versatility with his ability to occasionally blitz and can even cover along the outside if needed (*although it’s not as much of a strength).
The 28 year old cornerback has already expressed initial interest in returning to the Colts, the organization that has been his longtime home for the past 7 seasons. In turn, the Colts would presumably like to re-sign Moore II given he’s coming off such a productive rebound season, and that he’s the veteran voice in what’s otherwise a very young secondary collectively.
However, like Pittman Jr., Moore shouldn’t lack free agency suitors, and it’s possible that he could also draw the eye of more realistic 2024 Super Bowl contenders seeking to shore up their secondary for a serious Lombardi Trophy run—who may be willing to pay a little more.
It seems highly likely that the Colts want to re-sign both of these standouts though and will make a serious effort to bring each back to Indy next year and beyond respectively.