Indianapolis Colts Off Season Checklist: Team Free Agency

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In part 2 of the offseason checklist, we delve into the key pieces that Indianapolis will need to bring back and not bring back before free agency begins. We will look at all the players up for free agency and give some analysis on which direction the team may go with some players on the roster from the season. The Colts are expected to have approximately 30 Million in cap space, which is 11th most for the upcoming offseason. Obviously, this can be altered in trades and restructuring of current contracts but for the moment, that’s what the Colts have available.

Already Re-Signed To New Deals
RB Deon Jackson
DT Chris Williams

Both players will strictly be depth pieces and will either be bottom of the depth chart or practice squad development/depth players.

 Must Re-Sign

EDGE Yannick Ngakoue (27)

This should be the number one priority (in this department) for the Colts. He was able to be on the field for 15 of 17 games and delivered 9.5 sacks. With edge rusher being such a key component to any team during a re-build, the reliability and familiarity with (if he returns) Gus Bradley’s system is paramount.

K Chase McLaughlin (27)

The one tried and true nearly automatic player on the team this season. He replaced the since released Rodrigo Blankenship early in the season after inconsistencies at the position. McLaughlin was 30/36 (83.3%) on field goals this season. Of the six misses, three of them were on kicks over 50 yards. He has bounced around for most of his career but it’s believed he may have found a home here in Indianapolis. A reliable kicker is hard to find so hopefully the Colts get this deal done.

LB EJ Speed (27)

Along with Dayo Odeyingbo, you could argue that Speed was one of the most improved players on the Colts squad this season. With the injury filled season by starter Darius Leonard, it allowed Speed to not only shine in his absence, but his special teams play really stood out this season as well. Colts put a lot of emphasis on special teams every off season so if Speed wants to be here then the Colts should make him a priority.

S Rodney McLeod (32)

What was intended to be a spot starter and depth piece turned into a 17 game starter for the Colts. He finished the year with 96 COMB tackles (59 solo) and 2 interceptions. It was a great (and cheap) signing last offseason. With his age becoming a factor, will he opt for retirement? A solid and still producing veteran player is wanted on any team. If he wants to keep playing, the Colts should keep him to help with the growth of the young safeties on this Colts team.

LB Bobby Okereke (27)

Like EJ Speed, Okereke has completed his rookie contract and could potentially be in line for a big payday in this free agency cycle. He was 2nd on the team in tackles behind Zaire Franklin with 151 combined (99 solo) tackles and was active for every single game. As mentioned above, with the injury history of Shaq Leonard, Okereke should be a high priority in this offseason. However, this is typically a position that GM Chris Ballard has thrived at drafting. If continuity is important, then he should get re-signed, but they have a lot of money invested in this position and he might be the odd man out and allow someone like Speed to start shining.

Potential Re-Sign

WR Parris Campbell (25)

Campbell finishes his first fully healthy season in his career. Not surprisingly, it was his best season to date because of it. He finishes with career highs with 63 receptions for 623 yard and 3 TDs. Most importantly, he played every single game this season after being riddled with injuries so far in his career. While he did prove his talents this year, he would most likely be signed to a one year “prove it” deal with the opportunity for a multi-year deal after that. If another team goes for multiple years, then his time in Indianapolis might be finished.

CB Tony Brown (26)

Continue to harp on the special team’s aspect of this team. Tony Brown is no different. Was his impact as large as EJ Speed or Zaire Franklin? Absolutely not but he it was impactful at times. If he can be brought back on a one-year deal as a depth piece, then it’s a good deal worth making.

Which legendary NFL defense would love to resurrect?

1985 Chicago Bears

1985 Chicago Bears

1976 Pittsburgh Steelers

1976 Pittsburgh Steelers

2000 Baltimore Ravens

2000 Baltimore Ravens

2002 Tampa Bay Bucs

2002 Tampa Bay Bucs

1986 New York Giants

1986 New York Giants

2013 Seattle Seahawks

2013 Seattle Seahawks

EDGE Tyquan Lewis (27)

Another unfortunate end for Lewis in the 2022 campaign. After suffering a season ending torn patellar injury in 2021, he suffers the same fate again this past season. When he was on the field, he delivered in key spots a rotation guy on the defensive line. But his ability to stay healthy has been his crutch. He was given a one-year deal last season but this season may not end the same way. His medicals will go a long way before any decision is made.

WR Ashton Dulin (25)

Dulin has been the apple of ST Coordinator Bubba Ventrone’s eye for many years. On top of his wide receiver duties, he is known as being the “gunner” for the Colts special teams units. He has the speed every special teams coach looks for. Dulin missed one month of the season with a foot injury and only logged 15 receptions on the season. We could see Dulin return but it would not surprise me to see him go to another WR needy team where he wont have to play special teams all season long.

Doubtful Re-Sign

DT Byron Cowart (26)

Purely a rotational guy behind starters Buckner and Stewart this season. While he did log over 200 snaps, it’s expected for Ballard to continue the youth movement he does every year with depth pieces on the defensive line. Look for 2021 draft pick Eric Johnson to get some more snaps next season and let Cowart test the water in free agency.

Punter Matt Haack (28)

Not expected back with the return of Pro Bowler Rigoberto Sanchez. Haack knew he was a rental and shouldn’t have an issue finding a new team as he was a satisfactory fill in for Indianapolis.

SS Armani Watts (26)

Brought in from Kansas City as a secondary depth piece and special teams veteran. Watts tore his Achilles in the final preseason game. A possibility of bringing him back in camp but he is not expected to return with the young safeties showing promise this past season.

OT Dennis Kelly (32)

A training camp addition this past season was helpful in the rotation throughout the year. Kelly did get 3 starts this season but at times seemed frustrated with his playing time. Fully expect him to test free agency and latch onto a team with more opportunity for playing time.

OT Matt Pryor (27)

Pryor came into the season as the starter at left tackle but eventually lost his starting job to rookie Bernard Raimann. He was eventually moved into rotation at right tackle with Danny Pinter and Will Fries. He never quite solidified himself as a starter at either position.

DE Ben Banogu (26)

Another edge rusher with a completed rookie contract. Don’t expect him to be offered a new deal or a camp invite. This was one of the worst draft picks of the Chris Ballard era. He was a second-round pick and never was a factor in his career in Indianapolis. Would be surprised to see him get through any teams training camp next season with a full-time roster spot.

CB Brandon Facyson (28)

Was brought in under the recommendation of current Colts DC Gus Bradley during free agency. Played as a rotational and 3rd DB in the system with the great play of Isaiah Rodgers. Don’t expect Facyson to get re-signed this coming season.

DE Khalid Kareem (24)

A late season add off the Bengals practice squad. He played in the final 4 games for Indianapolis, making little impact. With the rosters able to be set at 90 players now until the start of the 2023 season, it’s expected that Kareem will have an opportunity to make the team in training camp. Ballard values this position every year so look for him to potentially comeback if he goes unsigned in free agency.

Let us know your thoughts on the Colts offseason in the comments below!

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