Listen Live

INDIANAPOLIS: Chris Ballard promised roster turnover.

And that’s happened to the roster of the Indianapolis Colts.

Currently, the Colts have 13 guys who combined for 42 starts last season (not including Adam Vinatieri) no longer on their roster. As mentioned below, 7 of these 13 guys are still on the open market.

While this offseason is a bit odd in the lack of in-person work that is allowed, prior years have not seen Chris Ballard bring hardly any of his own FAs back this late into the offseason.

Before the draft, how could the Colts try and replace some of them?

Officially Gone:

    • OL-Joe Haeg (Buccaneers): Even though Haeg played just a total of 74 offensive snaps for the Colts last season, his role as the top offensive line reserve remains a hole to be filled. Haeg offered flexibility at guard and tackle, something the Colts don’t have among the current bench guys. This spot could very well be filled through the draft.

 

    • CB-Pierre Desir (Jets): The veteran corner started 11 of the 12 games he played in last year, logging 683 total defensive snaps (the 5th most of any Colts defender). Replacements for his role could be a newcomer in Xavier Rhodes, or possibly an expanded role for Marvell Tell in his second NFL season. If Rock Ya-Sin (full-time starter) and Kenny Moore (splitting time between outside and inside) maintain their jobs from last season, then Rhodes or Tell will likely take over Desir’s needed responsibilities.

 

    • TE-Eric Ebron (Steelers): Even though the Colts lost Ebron officially last month, they elected not to make a free agency move at tight end. Mo Alie-Cox is back for 2020 and he took on some of Ebron’s playing time to close 2019. Many believe tight end is a need in the draft as the Colts look to complement Jack Doye’s skillset, so this answer could come next week. Ebron’s presence on third down and in the red zone is a part of the passing game the Colts need to try and find again, preferably at tight end.

 

    • OL-Josh Andrews (Jets): Like Haeg, the Colts didn’t need Andrews for much of an offensive role last season. Andrews was the team’s top interior reserve offensive lineman but played just 61 offensive snaps. In the interior, the Colts could turn to Javon Patterson or Jake Eldrenkamp as the top backup there. Patterson was a 7th round pick last April but tore his ACL during the offseason program. Eldrenkamp’s arrival helped lead to the trade of Evan Boehm late in preseason last fall.

 

    • QB-Brian Hoyer (Patriots): As of April 14, the backup quarterback for the Colts in 2020 will be Jacoby Brissett. Now, we’ll see if they draft a quarterback next week and how that might impact the backup role. But the expectation is Brissett will slide back into the role he had behind Andrew Luck in 2018.

 

    • WR-Devin Funchess (Packers): Well, when you play just 3 quarters the entire season, there’s not much to actually replace. But with Funchess standing 6-4, the Colts sill have that big body void on their roster. No wideout currently on the Colts roster is taller than 6-2.

 

On Open Market:

    • S-Clayton Geathers: Even though Geathers started 10 games last season, his playing time was only about 50 percent of the defensive snaps. When healthy, the Colts tended to roll more with Malik Hooker and Khari Willis as the starting safeties. Geathers’ playing time really dipped after the start of the season. If Hooker and Willis are starting in 2020, look for George Odum to be that third safety.
    • DT-Margus Hunt: The Colts released the 32-year-old Hunt just before the start of free agency. Hunt started 5 games for the Colts last season (lost his starting job in late September) and played 43.5 percent of the defensive snaps. Now, Hunt didn’t record a single sack, tackle for loss or quarterback hit in that playing time. But his reps will still need to be replaced. With the Colts having the likes of DeForest Buckner, Grover Stewart, Denico Autry, Sheldon Day and Tyquan Lewis, there’s plenty of bodies to absorb Hunt’s role.
    • WR-Dontrelle Inman: Similar to Funchess above, it wasn’t the playing time Inman gave the Colts in 2019 (55 total snaps), but it’s the size (6-3 and 215 pounds) that should be replaced. We’ll see if that comes in the draft, as the Colts don’t appear to be bringing Inman back to play with a guy he knows well in Philip Rivers.
    • WR-Chester Rogers: The drafting of Parris Campbell and then the late-season punt return emergence of Nyheim Hines probably spelled the end for Rogers in Indianapolis. Still, the Colts will need to replace a guy who has continued to make the team and play a decent role over the last four years. At wideout, Campbell should be the top slot option. And then Hines should get the first look at punt returner.
    • DE-Jabaal Sheard: No Colts defender has started more games in the Chris Ballard era than Sheard. After a knee injury kept him on the bench to start the year, Sheard went on to start 12 games, and played 569 defensive snaps (the 4th most of any Colts defensive lineman). The Colts have some options if they are to replace Sheard. They could opt for young defensive lineman to play three downs: Kemoko Turay, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Ben Banogu. Or they could bump Denico Autry or Tyquan Lewis—both who have played some defensive end for Matt Eberflus—out to defensive end on run downs. That run-down presence from Sheard will be key to fill.
    • K-Adam Vinatieri: We are now approaching a full month that Vinatieri has not been on the Colts roster. So that means (for now) Chase McLaughlin is the likely kicker for Indianapolis in 2020. We’ll see how that changes once an official decision is made on Vinatieri, and if the Colts feel the need to sign another kicker for some competition this summer.
    • RB-Jonathan Williams: Considering the gadget nature to Nyheim Hines, a guy like Williams was just one injury away from playing an important running back role for the Colts. And we saw that last season when Mack went down and Williams ran for more than 100 yards in back-to-back games. After 8 carries the next week, Williams played only 2 offensive snaps the final four weeks of the season. With Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins reaching the back halves of their rookie contracts, it would be wise for the Colts to explore a rookie runner who could make the 53-man roster, just in case you have that injury again to Mack. It’s hard to see the addition of fullback Roosevelt Nix automatically making up for a 4th running back.