INDIANAPOLIS – That big body wideout for Philip Rivers to work with in 2020 will not be Devin Funchess.
And that means the wide receiver need for the Colts continues to be of the utmost importance this offseason.
The 26-year-old Funchess agreed to terms with the Packers on Tuesday night, which only further stresses the Colts’ playmaking void that Chris Ballard pointed to earlier this offseason.
“Do we need to add more explosive elements to our offense? Yeah, we do,” Ballard said back in January, while mentioning his failure in providing the coaching staff with enough receiver depth last year, as the position group battled through injuries.
Currently, the Colts have 10 wideouts on their roster: Rodney Adams, Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin, Malik Henry, T.Y. Hilton, Steve Ishmael, Zach Pascal, Artavis Scott, Chad Williams, Reece Fountain. Five of those 10 have never caught a pass in the NFL. Dulin and Williams spent portions of 2019 on the Colts practice squad. Campbell and Fountain are coming off season-ending injuries.
Even a guy like Hilton is coming off the most difficult season of his career, battling several injuries and playing in just 10 games. He is also turning 31 years old this year and entering a contract season.
With the likes of Amari Cooper, Robby Anderson, Emmanuel Sanders and Breshad Perriman off the board, an already barren wideout group of free agents for the Colts doesn’t leave a whole lot left.
Younger options still available include: Demarcus Robinson (Age: 25), Paul Richardson (Age: 27), Geronimo Allison (Age: 26) and Rashard Higgins (Age: 25).
The Colts have nearly $30 million available in cap space this offseason.
We also know the 2020 draft class is thought to be one of the best the position has produced in years. That’s great, because the Colts will absolutely have to tap into that for immediate, and future, purposes.
But Ballard also points out that college wideouts transitioning seamlessly to the NFL is by no means a guarantee.
“I don’t know if you ever get one out of the college ranks who is completely polished,” Ballard says of the wideout position. “They have traits to be ready. It’s one of the harder positions coming in this league. Can it be done? Yes. It can absolutely be done. You see it in the league right now. With all the press coverage, with all the different looks they get, with the physicality and all the things they have to deal with in our league, it’s not an easy transition.”
Diversifying (and getting bigger) the receiver position is something that the Colts should explore this offseason.
In years past, Rivers has relied heavily on bigger body targets at the receiver position. The likes of 6-2, 211-pound Keenan Allen and 6-4, 220-pound Mike Williams were two major parts in Rivers and the Chargers finishing last year ranked top-10 in big passing plays.
Right now, the wideout group Rivers has in Indy doesn’t possess the same explosive ability as the one he’s leaving in Los Angeles.
Improving the quality of wide receiver talent remains a serious need for the Colts, which sounds like a recording we’ve heard in prior offseasons, too.