The NFL is gearing up to crown the 2023 league MVP next week. While no one from the Indianapolis Colts is in the running for that award, it does spur the question of who the most valuable player on the roster was this year. We need to ask the question, who had the greatest impact on winning? With that question, I believe there are three potential candidates to consider for MVP on the team.
Zaire Franklin was a tackling machine. He led the league in tackles at one point and finished second overall. The former seventh-round pick showed that Chris Ballard has a way of finding elite talent at the position. What made Franklin even more valuable was his ability to fill in seamlessly for the hole Shaquille Leonard left in the middle of the defense. While there will can only be one “Maniac”, Franklin made most of us comfortable with the position moving forward.
Michael Pittman Jr.
Michael Pittman had quite the year and showed why he deserves a top-end contract extension. He had his best year in the league compiling 1,152 yards on 109 receptions. Game in and game out, he was the go-to weapon for his quarterback. When the team needed a big catch or to move the chains, Pittman was the man more times than not, catching the ball at nearly a 70% clip. His value was no more evident than the game against the Falcons in which the Colts looked completely lost. Mr. Reliable was out of the lineup, and it showed. With the current receiving corps., look for Pittman once again to be invaluable to the team’s success.
Gardner Minshew was the type of player who made you want to throw a brick through your television while at the time, understanding that without him, your team wouldn't have much of a chance. Minshew is mainly seen as a backup, but he had to step up in a major way in 2023 as the starter. When Anthony Richardson went down, it felt like the season was over. Stick a fork in it. It was done. Yet, Minshew breathed new life into the team and allowed them to stay competitive to the point where a postseason berth came down to the last two minutes of the regular season. He steadied the ship when the team needed it the most.
Just like the real MVP award, I have to hand this one to the quarterback. I have seen the other healthy quarterback on the roster in action, and it wasn’t pretty. That leads me to believe that if Minshew went down, this team was in a heap of trouble. He came in at many parts through the first five weeks and then as the full time starter, while greatly contributing to the team’s overall success. Cheers to Minshew. Your Colts MVP.