INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts have made two notable moves at cornerbacks this month, and they’ve possibly raised the ceiling on the potential at a critical position.
That’s the hope at least, after the Colts said goodbye to Pierre Desir and hello to former All-Pro cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
A definite need for an outside cornerback was created by the Colts last weekend when they cut Pierre Desir.
Rhodes, who the Vikings released back on March 13, seemed to be an option to explore on the open market.
Well, that’s now happening with Rhodes signing a one-year deal with the Colts.
Rhodes’ 6-1, 218-pound frame, and propensity to tackle at the cornerback position, are areas the Colts seek out at that spot.
Colts cornerbacks coach Jonathan Gannon also spent four seasons with Rhodes in Minnesota, including the 2017 All-Pro campaign for the former first-round pick.
What the Colts are trying to see here is if they have a ‘2018 Eric Ebron situation’ (and not the 2019 version of Ebron).
Free agency can be about former high-draft picks having to take a pay cut, then find a new home to try and search for that premium level again.
The Colts hope that is in Indianapolis for Rhodes, as he plays on a prove-it one-year contract. Per NFL Network, Rhodes is expected to make around $5 million, which is just a hair less than what Desir was scheduled to make in 2020.
In 2019, Rhodes (who was making the 4th highest of any NFL corner last year) had the worst season of his career, hence why the Vikings cut him, despite two years remaining on his contract. The Vikings saved $8 million with the move.
Rhodes, 29, struggled playing in man coverage out on an island last year, which is an element the Colts defense doesn’t use a whole lot. However, Indy does not appear to have a definite option for such a role, if they want to install that plan for a particular game.
Having Rhodes in more of an island role will not be what the Colts ask from him on a consistent basis.
Before signing Rhodes, the Colts had just 4 corners on their roster who had played snaps for them. All four are 24 years or younger: Kenny Moore, Rock Ya-Sin, Marvell Tell, Quincy Wilson.
With the Colts, Rhodes probably offers more potential than Desir, but there’s no guarantee that is reached. Desir was the more consistent corner of the two over the last couple of seasons.
But that All-Pro intrigue from ‘17, when Gannon was in Minnesota with Rhodes clearly has the Colts’ attention.
Rhodes will have to earn an outside corner starting job in Indy against Ya-Sin and Moore (in base defense).
The Colts have now made 3 additions defensively in March: DT-DeForest Buckner, DT-Sheldon Day, CB-Xavier Rhodes.
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