The Indianapolis Colts free agency moves have led to assembling a lineup full to the brim with stars. They have picked up defensive powerhouses and cut players to free up even more cap space.
Here is a brief summary of the Colts free agency moves that stand out as the most exciting to me, except the Philip Rivers signing. In all honesty, I’m already sick of talking about it.
Colts Free Agency Defensive Upgrades
With the Colts free agency signings of defensive tackles DeForest Buckner and Sheldon Day, they have made it clear that an already renowned defense is a priority. With stars like Darius Leonard and rookie breakout Rock Ya-Sin, the Colts’ defensive unit is already good. Adding Buckner and Day just makes them look better.
Buckner was a solid DT for the 49ers’ last season. In 2019, he recorded 7.5 sacks during a 49ers season that ranked 11th in strength of schedule. He’s also credited with three forced fumbles. Buckner is an excellent addition to a Colts defensive line, which was stout, for the most part, in 2019.
Day is two spots behind Buckner in the depth chart, according to ESPN. We can expect Day to compete fiercely to move up in the depth chart, or maybe even try to move over a few steps to the RDT spot on the defensive line as a backup to Al-Quadin Muhammad. Overall, the Colts defensive front will be better in 2020.
Another defensive Colts free agency signing, and arguably the most interesting, is cornerback Xavier Rhodes. It seems to me that this move could serve one or two purposes. If there is an injury to either Rock Ya-Sin or Kenny Moore II, Rhodes is an easy pick to take over the starting job right away with his experience. However, if those players stay healthy, this could be to create competition for Moore II and provide a mentor for both, as they continue to develop.
Colts Free Up Cap Space
Let’s start with the obvious. Brian Hoyer was a disaster at backup quarterback. With a 53.8 percent completion percentage over 65 attempts in four game appearances, Hoyer was clearly a contract that needed to go. The team freed up $1M, which shows the Colts free agency moves are not over yet. With the draft rapidly approaching, look for the Colts to secure a young talent at QB. Rivers is not a long term option and Jacoby Brissett will need a backup to compete with him for the future starting job.
The Colts also released CB Pierre Desir to make room for Rhodes. Rhodes signed for one year, $3M, and Desir’s release freed up $6.85M. Desir had three interceptions and 50 combined tackles last season. Desir did not show signs of regression last season, leading me to believe that his release was purely financially motivated.
Colts’ NFL Draft Direction
The draft is going to be very interesting this year. There are some interesting storylines and big name college standouts, but what do the Colts need? The Colts have eight picks in the 2020 NFL Draft to continue improving this team.
There are some premium choices this year in the draft. If the Colts elect not to draft quarterback Jordan Love, as some experts predict, they could go for one of the premium wide receivers that will be on the board. T.Y. Hilton has been in the NFL since 2012 and he could begin to regress soon. The Colts need to make sure they have someone to take over for him. They could easily go for Tee Higgins of Clemson, or even Isaiah Hodgins from Oregon State a bit later on.