Evaluating The Colts 2019 Free Agents
Evaluating The Colts 2019 Free Agents
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INDIANAPOLIS – As one would expect, with a season that exceeded expectations and finished with a 10-6 record, plus a playoff victory, several Colts have made compelling cases to be re-signed this offseason.
Still, when scouring the list of unrestricted free agents for the Colts in 2019, it’s not a list filled with many, if any, ‘break the bank’ type of signings.
- CB-Pierre Desir (28, Re-signing with the Colts): It’s been a pretty darn good two-year run for Desir in Indy. Chris Ballard claimed Desir at roster cut downs in 2017 and then re-signed him to a one-year deal last offseason. Desir was such a vital piece to the Colts late-season success in 2018. Without any starting guarantees from 2017 draft picks in Quincy Wilson and Nate Hairston, you bring Desir back as the vet of the corner group.
- S-Clayton Geathers (27, Re-signing with Colts): Chris Ballard loves him some Clayton Geathers, who has fought a variety of injury issues in recent years to play in just 41 of 64 possible games. I still think Geathers will get a ‘Jack Mewhort type’ of prove it deal. Give Geathers a short-term contract and see if he can stay healthy. You need bodies at safety and Geathers clearly brings a physical dynamic, along with a key leadership element, that this defense and team needs.
- G-Mark Glowinski (27, re-signed on January 29): No 2019 free agent in Indy made more of a jump in one season than Glowinski. A fringe player to make the team back in August, Glowinski ascended into the starting lineup in Week 5. Considering Glowinski’s age, I think you bring him back. You don’t have a ton of great guard options on the roster. Adding depth to the O-line will be a goal, but with Braden Smith playing right tackle for the foreseeable future, you can live with Glowinski at right guard.
- LB-Najee Goode (30): Many guys on this list are names Chris Ballard signaled out at his season-ending press conference for their leadership. Goode was one of those. Despite playing in the final 11 games this season, Goode didn’t log a single play on the defensive side of the ball. So, Goode’s on-field impact was minimal in his first season with the Colts. However, he was often praised for being the needed vet in an extremely young linebacker room. Does that leadership lead to another year for Goode?
- WR-Ryan Grant (28): Add Grant to the list of wide receiver busts for the Colts in free agency. Grant had just 35 catches in 14 games with the Colts for 334 yards. He was inactive for both playoff games with a toe injury. You need upgrades at the receiver position, so it’s probably time to move on from Grant. Guys like Dontrelle Inman, Deon Cain, Reece Fountain, Zach Pascal, Chester Rogers, plus some wide receiver infusion via free agency and/or the draft this offseason is the route I’d take to complement T.Y. Hilton.
- DE-Geneo Grissom (28): This was an early January signing by the Colts as they needed an extra body on their defensive line with Tyquan Lewis banged up in the playoffs. Grissom does have 37 games of NFL expereince. It's impossible to give an accurate gauge on this one given how little time he was with the Colts.
- TE-Ryan Hewitt (28): The blocking presence at tight end turned a Week One signing into a roster/dressing spot for the entire season. Now, Hewitt’s ceiling as a versatile tight end isn’t the highest, which could hurt him next season, with the hopeful returns of Jack Doyle and Ross Travis, to go along with Eric Ebron and Mo Alie-Cox.
- DL-Margus Hunt (32, Re-signed by the team on March 5th): Similar to Desir, it’s been a career resurrection for Hunt in Indianapolis. He’s flourished with the Colts, no matter the defensive system. While Hunt’s age might scare some off, remember that he’s pretty young in football experience (didn’t start playing football until college) compared to most 31-year-olds in the NFL. The defensive line needs more impactful talent, but a versatile reserve in Hunt is a good bring back guy in my eyes.
- WR-Dontrelle Inman (30): What a huge in-season signing for the Colts in 2018. Some credit probably needs to go to Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni for their past history with Inman, and then to Ballard for listening to his staff as the Colts were going through an awful case of the drops at the time of his signing. Yes, the receiver position needs to be bolstered, but a reliable and consistent Inman needs to be brought back. There was a clear trust between Andrew Luck and Inman, something that doesn’t happen so quickly, or easily, with every wideout.
- S-Mike Mitchell (32): Mitchell was another one of those important veteran signings, teaching that young secondary what life is like as a professional football player. But injuries flared up for the 10-year vet, including a season-ending calf injury that had the safety on crutches for locker room cleanout. The Colts missed Mitchell in that Kansas City game. Still, it’s a bit difficult to see him coming back if you re-sign Geathers. Remember, Mitchell wanted playing time with this opportunity in Indy. Would he get that after an injury-plagued time with the Colts?
- OG-Matt Slauson (33, retired from the NFL on February 6): Does Slauson want to continue playing after two broken vertebrae back in October? Even if Slauson wants to play, he's suffered two straight season-ending injuries in back-to-back Octobers. That's too much for me to bring back. You do have a great, great leader in Slauson and maybe he will take a job in the new offenisve line coaching room, which was pretty much his role to end 2018.
- K-Adam Vinatieri (47, re-signed on January 28): In recent years, this decision hasn’t even been a thought for the Colts. You re-sign the GOAT and move on. But in 2019, the conversation at least deserves a little more attention in years past. Injuries flared up for Vinny this season and he finished the year 18th in the NFL in field goal percentage. I’d probably bring him back, and it seems like Vinny wants to return for a 24th NFL season, but it’s not as big of a slam dunk as it was recently. Chris Ballard still believes Vinny can kick at a high level in the NFL and holds a lot of stock into the leadership Vinny brings the Colts. The signs add up to Vinny returning.
- OL-J’Marcus Webb (31, re-signed on April 5): At one point, it looked like Webb might be this team’s starting right tackle in 2018. But a hamstring injury in Week One sent Webb to injured reserve for the rest of the year. There’s not obvious answers to the depth on the offensive line, but you would think the Colts need to get a bit younger.
- S-J.J. Wilcox (30): Wilcox was an important late-season signing for the Colts, given the injuries at safety down the stretch. Although he struggled against Kansas City, he played a decent amount of snaps for such a late-season addition. Maybe you give Wilcox a chance to be in this defensive system for an entire offseason, but it’s hard to imagine a real role for him if you bring back Geathers and Matthias Farley (plus you have youngsters in Malik Hooker and George Odum).
- DT-Al Woods (32): Yes, Woods was another veteran name that Ballard pointed to in thanking for the successful 2018 season. A foot injury ended Woods’ second season with the Colts in December. Woods was actually benched from his starting spot around the mid-way point of the season. With young guys Grover Stewart and Hassan Ridgeway reaching the end of their respective rookie contracts, you need to further evaluate these young guys who will be part of this defense for a lot longer than Woods.
The Colts do have several restricted free agents in 2019, as the team announced on Wednesday. Here is who the Colts consider RFAs for 2019: offensive lineman Evan Boehm, safety Matthias Farley, cornerback Chris Milton, safety Corey Moore, wide receiver Chester Rogers and tight end Ross Travis (re-signed on February 26th).