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INDIANAPOLISThe Colts are bringing back one of their own, while the need at tight end remains high on the list.

Mo Alie-Cox was someone the Colts wanted to return in 2022 (and ranked 3rd on my in-house free agents to bring back).

They’ve accomplished that—with a three-year deal, reportedly worth up to $18 million agreed to on Monday—with tight end still a necessary need to address, as Jack Doyle enters retirement.

Since the start of the offseason, Chris Ballard has stated the hope to have Alie-Cox return, while also acknowledging that wouldn’t solve the entire need at tight end.

The Colts want to find a playmaker down the middle of the field. Alie-Cox hasn’t proven to be that in his NFL career.

If the Colts can find a proven tight end in free agency, they should certainly explore making such a move. This year’s draft class also appears to have nice depth at tight end.

Alie-Cox caught 24 balls for 316 yards and 4 touchdowns last season. He did take a major dip in catch percentage last year.

Doyle and Alie-Cox actually played a very similar amount last year. Doyle was on the field for 643 offensive snaps (57.8 percent of the offensive snaps). Alie-Cox played 609 snaps (54.7 percent).

At the age of 28, Alie-Cox can be viewed as a younger free agent than his age indicates, given the fact that he didn’t play football in college.

Even if Alie-Cox doesn’t progress much more as a player, he still can be a necessary piece to an offense.

With Doyle now gone, it’s Alie-Cox and second-year Kylen Granson currently atop the Colts tight end depth chart. The staff remains intrigued by Granson’s potential, although he is not the in-line blocker that Alie-Cox has shown to be.

Alie-Cox is the Colts’ first in-house free agent to return this offseason.

Free agency officially begins on Wednesday afternoon, with the Colts still having 22 free agents.