With free agency fast approaching on March 11th at 4 p.m., it’s time for us to take a look at areas of need for the Indianapolis Colts.
Along with the positions, I will provide a generic list of players that could be snagged by the horseshoe, both through the draft and free agency:
Any spot on the interior of the offensive line is a position of need honestly, but center is the biggest concern. And the reason for that is simple: Samson Satele.
Satele has had an awful tenure in Indianapolis and he will be looking for a new home soon, once a replacement is found.
Khaled Holmes seems to be the long-term fix the Colts have in place, but he may not be ready to take over the reins just yet. So, they will most likely be looking for a veteran stopgap this off-season. A few names that come to mind are Dominic Raiola of the Detroit Lions and Jonathon Goodwin of the San Francisco 49ers.
Both are coming off a good season but are facing the tail end of their careers. Meaning, they’ll come at a cheap price for a short period of time, which is just what the blue and white are looking for.
One time Raiola was wired for sound, and here’s a YouTube video of that time:
Jerrell Freeman is the only player that has proven that he can be a consistent contributor on the inside of this defense. Sure, Josh McNary flashed some potential in limited playing time last season, but he can’t be depended on. It’s time to upgrade the inside backers.
I would love to see GM Ryan Grigson sign Donald Butler from San Diego, but I highly doubt that will happen with the price tag that Butler will be carrying. Karlos Dansby of the Arizona Cardinals is another good option, but is a little old for my taste. Ultimately, the best option would be to look towards the draft in May.
Chris Borland of Wisconsin is the number one option at inside linebacker in my book. High motor guy that would bring some of that much talked about grit. Shayne Skov of Stanford and Christian Jones of Florida State would be fine additions as well.
Cory Redding is getting old, Ricky Jean-Francois flashed some good stuff last season but also proved to be injury prone and the Colts are thin (not literally) at nose tackle.
I would like to see Leger Douzable of the New York Jets be a high priority for the Colts front office. He’ll be a low cost player with a lot of upside.
Another name that is often brought up is Arthur Jones, who would bring some much-needed pass rush to the front 7. Jones would come at a heftier price-tag than Douzable, but also bring a little more certainty with that money.
Antoine Bethea is a free agent, and after a mediocre performance in 2013, shouldn’t be a high priority for the front office.
The Colts need a true free safety, one that is good in coverage and won’t be a liability on the back end. LaRon Landry and Bethea are both strong safeties at this point in their careers, which is not a good pairing to have.
And given the fact the Colts will actually lose money by cutting Landry, Bethea is the odd man out.
Outside of the Buffalo Bills Jairus Byrd and the Cleveland Browns T.J. Ward, Chris Clemons of the Miami Dolphins is a potential replacement that I believe would fit in this defense and play well. Clemons would also require a much smaller salary than the other two, which makes him a more reasonable option.
In the draft a name I’ve heard often is that of Lamarcus Joyner. Joyner is actually a corner that played for the national champion Florida State, but seems to exemplify the qualities of a safety. Just another name for the Colts to dig in to.
That about sums up the major needs for the Colts this off-season. I am sure some of you are thinking that a few positions are missing off the list, but hear me out for a second.
I like the group of receivers that the Colts have: Da’Rick Rogers has a ton of upside, Griff Whalen has the looks of a solid slot receiver, LaVon Brazill has flashed potential, T.Y. Hilton is establishing himself as a stud receiver and Reggie Wayne is Reggie Wayne. I don’t see a need to disrupt the development of this young receiving core by making it crowded with another body.
Guard is certainly another need, but with Hugh Thornton and Donald Thomas coming back I just don’t see Grigson and company adding anything more than a backup. Center will be the focus on the line, and an improvement there should make a huge difference.
Finally, cornerback is another spot I’ve heard Colts fans fret about. But other than re-signing Vontae Davis I don’t expect much to happen. Greg Toler will be retained for another season, so all the cries for him to be cut can stop, and Darius Butler is solidified as the slot corner for at least one more year.
With all that being said, the off-season is an unpredictable part of the NFL and you never know what will happen, especially with Ryan Grigson at the helm. I just hope it works out for the best. Go Colts!