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INDIANAPOLIS – The number is down to 11 Colts who could no longer be on the roster come next Wednesday.
The start of free agency on March 13 means the next week is the final time for the Colts to re-sign their unrestricted free agents, before they are free to sign with wherever for the 2019 season.
A ‘legal’ tampering period for agents of pending free agents to talk with other teams begins on Monday, before official contracts can be inked starting next Wednesday at 4:00 PM.
Here’s a look at the 11 remaining unrestricted free agents for the Colts in 2019:
- CB-Pierre Desir (28): 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. Ballard said at the Combine last week that he will let Desir test the free agent market.
- S-Clayton Geathers (27): Yes, Chris Ballard still loves him some Clayton Geathers and wants to bring back the safety. Find the latest on Geathers. Geathers 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, something that seems to align with Ballard’s thinking as well. 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. Will a deep outside safety market shift Ballard’s thinking though?
- LB-Najee Goode (30): Many guys on this list are names Chris Ballard singled out back in January at his season-ending press conference for their leadership. Goode was one of those. Despite playing in the final 11 games last 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 experience. 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 (who re-signed with the Colts last week), to go along with Eric Ebron and Mo Alie-Cox. Does Doyle rehabbing an injury this spring impact Hewitt coming back.
- 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. At last week’s Combine, Chris Ballard said the Colts would let Inman test the market in free agency. Jim Irsay is a fan of Inman, something that can’t hurt the pending FA.
- 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? Last week, Chris Ballard singled out Matthias Farley and George Odum as depth pieces moving forward.
- OL-J’Marcus Webb (31): 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. Improving the offensive line depth is a goal for Ballard this offseason.
- 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). Last week, Ballard singled out Farley and Odum, and not Wilcox, as depth pices moving forward.
- DT-Al Woods (32): Yes, Woods is another veteran name that Ballard has 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 still have several restricted free agents in 2019. 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. For more on them and exclusive restricted free agents wide receiver Marcus Johnson and long snapper Luke Rhodes, head here.
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