INDIANAPOLIS – The bit of frustration that Xavier Rhodes has with how free agency went for him is understandable.
But make no mistake about it, Rhodes is happy to be back with the Colts.
Still, when you have the year Rhodes did under a prove-it contract last season, the expectation is your next free agency would lead to something a bit more lucrative than a 1-year deal for $4.7 million ($3.7 guaranteed).
That’s in the past now though.
Rhodes, 30, is staying with the Colts in 2021 and that’s a win for Matt Eberflus.
“I played well with the Colts (and) I got along with the players and the coaches at the same time, so it was a great bond for us,” Rhodes said last week, speaking publicly for the first time since re-singing with the Colts. “How I was able to see the potential of the team and camaraderie…how much potential this team has, to come back to it and try and strive to go to the Super Bowl again, I know we have the potential to do so.
“I was more than glad and happy to come back.”
You could easily make the argument that Rhodes was the most important Colts free agent to bring back in 2021, especially when you look at the wide receivers waiting on next year’s schedule.
When Rhodes came to the Colts it was after a disappointing 2019 campaign in Minnesota. The Vikings cut him last March.
From the day they signed Rhodes, the Colts were firm in their belief they could get him back to playing at the level we’ve seen from the former first-round pick.
That is exactly what happened.
“They just allow me to play my ball,” Rhodes says of the Colts. “Like I’ve said and like I’ve known before, I’ve been in the league eight years, I’ve played almost everything, it was just that they allowed me to be confident within myself, play myself, play football, be free and be myself – allowing me to just be confident and be strong.”
In turning 31 this June, the question was inevitable about how much longer Rhodes wants to play.
Durability has always been a strength of Rhodes (he’s averaged to miss less than 1 game per season). He said last week that he won’t retire “until the wheels fall off.”
Playing in the racing capital of the world last season, Rhodes’ wheels were on tight and the Colts hope that’ll be the case again for their top outside corner.