Colts Offseason Needs 2021
Philip Rivers’s retirement has put Indianapolis in a tough position. An ascending defense will struggle if the Colts cannot get a quarterback on the field that can help sustain drives. After an impressive 11-5 record, the Colts barely missed out on the playoffs by a tiebreaker. The 2nd most cap space in the NFL at $68 Million means they can make some substantial additions to the team. If done right, the Colts offseason will determine if they can be the top dog in the AFC South.
Roster Needs: QB, WR, OT, CB
Philip Rivers has announced the end to a potential Hall of Fame career. The only quarterback under contract going into next year is Jacob Eason. The 4th rounder out of Washington in last year’s draft was a raw prospect going into the league and is still a question mark going forward for Indianapolis. Jacoby Brissett is an upcoming free agent but could be signed back for the sake of a quarterback competition in camp along with Brissett knowing the offense.
The main target for Indianapolis should be the Detroit signal-caller, Matthew Stafford. The Lions and Stafford have mutually agreed to part ways this offseason. Stafford would bring a field-stretching element to the passing game that Rivers could not. Stafford has had his fair share of injuries the past few seasons but can mostly be attributed to the lack of protection he had on the Lions. Consistent back injuries and spasms have plagued him for years but can be resolved behind a dominant Indianapolis line. The Colts have the picks to make a strong offer for Stafford such as the 21st pick this year and the third pick as well. Those two picks would be more than enough for the 32-year-old.
In the Colts current offensive scheme, the quarterback is not taxed to do much as 24 touchdowns were scored through the air, the 10th lowest in the league. A strong offensive line, explosive running back committee, and athletic playmakers on the outside give the Colts the luxury of getting success from any quarterback brought in. Colts have plenty of options to help them address quarterback, where they only need someone competent enough to keep defenses honest about stopping the 11th best run game in the league. However, a talent like Stafford would bring this offense to a new level. Regardless of who, a quarterback not named Eason must be brought in during the Colts offseason.
The offensive line has been a strong suit for Indianapolis the last few years. This past season, the line only allowed 21 total sacks, the 2nd least in the league. Quenton Nelson has been a top guard since he was drafted. Fellow guard, Mark Glowinski, was the 25th out of 81 NFL guards last year per PFF. Right tackle Braden Smith was fantastic, not allowing a single sack last season. However, stud left tackle Anthony Costanzo retired and left a gaping hole at the position. Given their draft pick, the Colts are primed to draft a standout left tackle to replace Costanzo. If they decide to address the need through free agency, Taylor Moton would be a seamless fit. An athletic tackle that is a force in the run game and would be great in the zone blocking scheme of Indianapolis. The 26 year old is still young, so a long term contract would shore up the tackle position for years to come.
The receiving corps of Indy is young, but not near their potential. TY Hilton’s contract is expiring and the 31-year-old is showing signs of decline. Michael Pittman had a great rookie season after coming back from injury. Parris Campbell can be a weapon out of the slot if he can remain healthy. Zach Pascal is more of a depth receiver than a starter.
Thankfully for the Colts, the receiver free-agent class is loaded, and they have the cap space to sign a star. Allen Robinson would bring this offense to the next level. He can find holes in zone coverage and beat his man in one on one coverage. He can give the Colts the receiving red-zone threat they have lacked.
If Stafford is traded to Indianapolis, the Colts may have to go cheaper at receiver. The answer in that scenario is Corey Davis. He has shown to be an excellent run blocker to help the Colts’ run-heavy offense. He is a dependable outside threat having one of the lowest drop rates in the league. He is better at making contested catches than most think and would make a great pair opposite of Pittman. The ability to bring in a receiver during the Colts offseason will make or break this offense.
The Colts defense was a dominant force last season. A stout front seven led by Darius Leonard and DeForest Buckner gave Indy the 2nd best run-stopping team in the league per yards. However, through the air is where the Colts struggled. Giving up the 13th most passing yards per game means changes need to be made to the secondary. Last Colts offseason, Chris Ballard showed he is willing to make big moves to improve the defense.
Safeties Julian Blackmon and Kharis Willis are strong options going forward. Kenny Moore was excellent as a nickel back. Xavier Rhodes looked years younger on the outside but is on an expiring contract and the Colts are looking to upgrade with someone younger. Rock Ya-Sin has been disappointing as well, furthering the need of a corner.
William Jackson looks to be Indianapolis’s top cornerback option. The former first-round pick from Cincinnati had high hopes coming into the league. A breakout 2018 season was followed by abysmal play in 2019. Last season Jackson picked it up and impressed yet again. Jackson is a physical corner who can work on the outside and limit the big plays the Colts were so susceptible to.
Outside of Jackson, Jason Verrett should also be a target. While injuries have derailed a promising career, Verrett was healthy all of last year and flashed the talent that made him a first-round selection. The 29-year-old locked down number one wideouts all year and gave up a single touchdown all season. The 28-year-old Jackson and older Verrett are not as young of options as Indianapolis wants, but will be major upgrades in a Colts offseason desperate for cornerbacks.