Free Agent Wide Receivers the Colts Could Target
The Colts made two of the biggest acquisitions of the NFL offseason. Trading their first-round pick to the 49ers for DeForest Buckner and signing Philip Rivers to a one-year contract. Those two moves filled major holes in the Colts roster at the three-technique and quarterback spots. Yet, the Colts have a desperate need for more offensive weapons. Injuries and lack of talent led to Colts receivers underperforming last season. While Chris Ballard and co. are more likely to address WR in the draft, there are still a few free agent wide receivers that could be a big boost to the Colts offense.
Robby Anderson is the biggest name receiver still left on the market. The soon to be 27-year-old has spent his entire career with the Jets. In 2019, he caught 779 yards, five touchdowns, on 52 receptions. While those numbers are uninspiring here is a list of the quarterbacks that threw to Anderson in 2019: Sam Darnold, Luke Falk, David Fales, and Trevor Semian. While Sam Darnold is expected to be a quality quarterback at some point it is pretty clear that Philip Rivers is a better quarterback for 2020. Giving Anderson an upgrade at the QB position should give his stats a nice boost. PFF grades Anderson as a 71.4 (#42 WR), 68.3 (#55 WR), and 68.6 (#61 WR) over each of the last three seasons. Adding Anderson would give the Colts a burner opposite of T.Y. Hilton.
Breshad Perriman was a beneficiary of the Tampa Bay offense over the last two seasons. The 26-year-old receiver was awful in Baltimore during the 2017 season with a PFF grade of 44.4 being ranked as the #116 WR. Since then Perriman has been borderline elite for the Bucs grading out at 71.8 in ’18 and 72.8 in ’19 ranked as the #42 WR in the NFL. Not to mention he dropped just one pass in 65 targets from the always inaccurate Jameis Winston. Don’t forget Perriman was a 1st round draft pick back in 2015 so the talent is clearly there. Signing someone like Perriman would give the Colts a number two wide receiver with an abundance of talent and giving him a quarterback who is the better version of Jameis Winston.
This is the one that makes the most sense. Devin Funchess signed a contract with the Colts during the last offseason expecting to rebound with Andrew Luck throwing him the ball. Of course, Luck retired and Funchess broke his collarbone three quarters into his season and never saw the field again. However, when Funchess is healthy he has huge upside as a large target standing at 6’4. He excels at using his large frame to box out and overpower smaller/weaker defenders which makes him an elite red-zone target. Something the Colts have been missing for years. Funchess graded out at 72.2 (#38 WR) and 68.4 (#54 WR) through ’17-’18. He would be a great fit for the Colts as someone who does the opposite of what T.Y. Hilton does which gives the Colts more versatility on offense.
The Colts need to add some offensive weapons throughout this offseason. While the draft is extremely deep in the WR class there are clearly some options on the free-agent market the Colts should strongly consider.
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