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INDIANAPOLISIf you were making a list of the Colts top-10 players, you would certainly find a couple of the names (3? 4?) below on that list.

That’s what makes this upcoming free agency an extra interesting one for Chris Ballard.

Cap space is abundant for the Colts in 2024 (north of $70 million), and almost certainly some of it will be used on in-house guys (and what about a franchise tag for the first time since 2013?).

Let’s examine the Colts ‘24 unrestricted free agents (per Spotrac):

1. QB-Gardner Minshew (Age: 27)

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Wouldn’t it make sense to retain the quarterback stability behind Anthony Richardson? Richardson and Minshew has a prior relationship before joining the Colts, and obviously you have the Shane Steichen connection with the veteran QB. Of course, like every free agent, this is a two-way street and Minshew might want a new home where play time is a tad more realistic or open than Indianapolis, where a healthy Richardson is the obvious guy.

2. RB-Zack Moss (Age: 26)

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There’s no denying Moss had a really nice contract year. The problem for him in gauging a free agent market is he plays a position that teams don’t put a ton of value on, and this 2024 free agency class at running back has several pretty accomplished guys. Jonathan Taylor is the obvious bell cow, so how Moss views a future in Indy will have some impact, too.

3. WR-Michael Pittman Jr. (Age: 26)

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No name on this list will garner more attention in his future with the Colts than Pittman Jr. For the first time in years, the Colts have reason to use the franchise tag on a player like MPJ. Chris Ballard and Shane Steichen are big fans of Pittman Jr., so I would be surprised if the Colts do not either tag Pittman Jr. and/or get a long-term deal done with him.

4. WR-Isaiah McKenzie (Age: 28)

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Suspended for the final 3 games of the regular season, McKenzie heads to free agency after having a pretty limited role with the Colts. McKenzie was mainly a returner for Indy, catching just 11 balls for 82 yards in 117 offensive snaps (across 14 games).

5. WR-Juwann Winfree (Age: 27)

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The Colts used Winfree in 9 games, playing 21 offensive snaps and 75 special teams snaps. Indianapolis never realty settled on a consistent 3rd wideout (after the Ashton Dulin season-ending injury) behind Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce.

6. OL-Danny Pinter (Age: 27)

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A broken ankle in August ended the final year of Pinter’s rookie contract. The Ball State product has made 7 total starts with the Colts. Pinter trained around the team throughout his rehab. A 2020 fifth-round pick, Pinter could certainly be back to compete for a roster spot as an interior depth piece.

7. DE-Genard Avery (Age: 28)

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An August injury also ended Avery’s season, with him going on injured reserve in the preseason. Avery has played 62 career games. During camp, Avery flashed a bit and looked to have a potential roster spot.

8. DE-Jake Martin (Age: 27)

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Martin played in all 17 games for the Colts this past season, finishing the year with 2.0 sacks and 7 tackles in 191 defensive snaps.

9. DT-Taven Bryan (Age: 27)

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With the Grover Stewart suspension, the Colts actually relied on Bryan for 7 starts in playing all 17 games. Bryan had 22 total tackles and 2.0 sacks in his 343 defensive snaps. Bryan joined the Colts on a one-year deal he had made 33 career starts with Jacksonville and Cleveland

10. DT-Grover Stewart (Age: 30)

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One of the notable names on this list, Stewarts enters free agency for the first time in his career after being suspended for 6 games this past season. The Colts brass stood by Stewart with their public comments following the suspension, so that’s a positive indicator of how the team feels about their veteran defensive tackle. Stewart has started the last 61 games he’s played in, missing only the 6 games due to his suspension during that span.

11. DL-Tyquan Lewis (Age: 29)

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DL-Tyquan Lewis (Age: 29): After years of devastating injuries, Lewis played in all 17 games this past season. This marked just the 2nd time in Lewis’ 6 NFL years in which he played double-digit games in a season. Per usual, Lewis was a productive and versatile defensive line piece. Lewis had torn his patellar in the month of October in each of the last two seasons.

12. CB-Kenny Moore (Age: 28)

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Bouncing back from a 2022 season to forget, Moore was much closer to his old self this past season. Moore has expressed a desire to stay in Indianapolis moving forward and the Colts have no serious young nickel cornerback option on the roster to pass the torch to in 2024.

13. S-Julian Blackmon (Age: 25)

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Just pop in film of the season finale loss to the Texans if you forget what Blackmon brings to the Colts defense. Blackmon has missed 18 games in 4 years. When healthy though, he’s a key and versatile playmaker and communicator. The Colts would be very wise to try and bring back Blackmon.

14. P-Rigoberto Sanchez (Age: 29)

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A sneaky name to conclude this list. Sanchez returned from an August 2022 torn Achilles to punt all season for the Colts. Sanchez ended the season with a career-best net punting average of 42.8 yards per punt. Amazingly, Sanchez did not have a single touchback in 68 punts.

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