Breaking Down The Colts 2020 Free Agents
Breaking Down The Colts 2020 Free Agents
Joe Robbins | Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS – It’s our annual bye week content on 1075TheFan.com.
Earlier this week, we evaluated the 2019 rookie class of the Colts. Now, it’s time to look at how the team’s 2020 free agents have started their contract years.
Yes, with the earlier bye week, the Colts aren’t even a third of the way through their 2019 schedule, so a lot of time remains for these guys to leave lasting impressions. But it’s never too early to think about decisions coming next spring.
According to Spotrac, the Colts have 12 unrestricted free agents for 2020.
Here’s a look at those guys (and their ages) and how they’ve performed early in their contract seasons:
- OL-Josh Andrews (28): The team’s top interior OL reserve, Andrews has found that niche role since joining the Colts during last year’s regular season. Andrews has yet to play an offensive snap this season, despite being active for all 5 games. When the Colts drafted interior OL-Javon Patterson in the 7th round back in April, he was expected to compete with Andrews and Evan Boehm for that backup interior role. But Patterson tore his ACL in the spring, and then Andrews beat out Boehm. Considering that Andrews had some past history with Frank Reich in Philly, he could be a guy to bring back and have competing for those reserve interior spot(s) again in 2020.
- LT-Anthony Castonzo (31): Easily the most important player on this list, Castonzo doesn’t appear to be heading towards a contract extension this calendar year. But he has to be the top off-season priority for the Colts. There’s no left tackle to groom on the roster and Castonzo is playing at an All-Pro level early this season. Remember, back in the offseason, Castonzo felt pretty good about his new training technique leading to playing into his 30s.
- OT-Le’Raven Clark (26): As you will see on this list, all 3 backup offensive linemen are in contract years. Clark was a third-round pick of Ryan Grigson back in 2016, but has never become an entrenched starter. He’s been inactive for every game this season, with the Colts electing to dress Joe Haeg as the backup tackle on game day. No one should have been happier than Clark this past year when the Colts didn’t draft a tackle until the 7th round. Even if the Colts re-sign Castonzo, isn’t it time to spend a higher draft pick at tackle, thus making Clark’s future in Indy cloudy?
- TE-Jack Doyle (29): The Indy native has returned to health and continues to be a key and reliable cog for Frank Reich’s approach. Doyle has routinely hovered around 70 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 2019. It’s Doyle who has played the most snaps of any skill player this year. Clearly, Doyle’s ability to block and be consistent in the passing game is incredibly attractive to Reich. Would another contract in Indy round out Doyle’s impressive career after going undrafted in 2013?
- TE-Eric Ebron (26): Unlike Doyle, Ebron lacks the consistency that would have him seeing more significant playing time in Reich’s offense. There’s still a role for Ebron and when he’s catching the ball consistently, he is an important piece to the offensive playmaking. But 4 drops already this season has Ebron on an early pace for the lowest season of production since his rookie season. A resurgence for Ebron in the final two and a half months of the season is a must if he wants to improve his case of returning to the Colts.
- WR-Devin Funchess (25): This might be the toughest case study for the Colts next spring. A broken collarbone has Funchess sidelined until at least Week 10. What numbers must Funchess then produce over the final month and change of the season to merit another contract in Indy? How Deon Cain and Parris Campbell look the rest of the season probably impacts this decision as well. What an unfortunate injury for Funchess, which really complicates his 2020 free agency outlook.
- S-Clayton Geathers (27): Unfortunately, the injury bug has hit Geathers again in 2019. A concussion sidelined him for the Kansas City game, which opened the door for a pair of young safeties to showcase their abilities. Geathers has now missed 24 games in 5 NFL seasons. Unless something drastically changes in the remainder of the 2019 season, Geathers returning as a backup in 2020 seems to be the best-case option. Rookie Khari Willis has shown early on that he should be this team’s long-term answer next to Malik Hooker.
- OL-Joe Haeg (26): Of all the reserve OL guys on this list, Haeg has to be viewed as the current 6th lineman on the roster. His flexibility is needed and could be counted on, if/when an injury occurs up front. The Colts have had all 5 of their offensive line starters play every snap this season, but Haeg is probably the backup at 3-to-4 spots. Maybe Haeg thinks he can be a starter somewhere else. However, him being the 6th lineman in Indy seems to be a good position to be in on one of the league’s best offensive lines.
- WR-Chester Rogers (25): A former 2016 undrafted free agent of Ryan Grigson continues to hold onto a roster spot with the Colts. Rogers is this team’s punt returner and while he’s caught just 6 balls this year, he’s still playing around 50 percent of the offensive snaps. Until the Colts find a punt returner, not named Rogers, they can trust, this is a guy that should continue to have a roster spot, at least for insurance reasons.
- DE-Jabaal Sheard (30): Some, uninformed, people thought Sheard could be a surprise cut this offseason. Sheard means too much to this team as a run-stopping presence for the Colts to completely pass the torch to younger defensive end options. Now, it’s still no slam dunk you bring Sheard back as he climbs north of 30 years old. But various questions remain on your younger defensive lineman, so maybe a short-term deal for Sheard makes sense.
- K-Adam Vinatieri (46): No matter what happens the rest of 2019, both sides of this debate will have a decision to make in 2020. Vinatieri has kicked the ball much better the last three weeks after an awful start to the season. But questions are relevant to how long he wants to keep on kicking/if the Colts feel like it’s time to look into finding a younger option. This is Vinny’s 24th NFL season and he has virtually every major kicking record. Does he want to keep playing? Are the Colts willing to make a decision to move on from him?
- RB-Jonathan Williams (25): As the Colts 4th running back, it’s going to take at least one injury for Williams to find some role in the backfield. For the past year now, Williams has been a somewhat intriguing name, but the trio in front of him is too solid/healthy. Williams has only played in 1 game with the Colts and has no offensive snaps. This is impossible to gauge until we see him get more of an opportunity, behind three backs all still on their rookie contracts.