Chris Ballard’s first offseason as the Colts GM went well overall, but there is still a long way to go before this team is a Super Bowl contender. Armed with a top-five pick and an NFL leading $65+ million salary cap space, Ballard can once again make considerable strides in the teams rebuild, but who will that be? The Colts have needs at CB, OL (OG and OT), WR, RB, K, and ILB. The Colts will likely resign Rashaan Melvin to solve one CB spot, Adam Vinatieri for the kicker, and ILB may be easier to fix in the draft, that leaves OL, WR, and RB. Let’s look at some of the options the Colts could look at in free agency.
Allen Robinson Jacksonville Jaguars
Current Situation: A year ago, the former Penn St. Nittany Lion seemed primed to earn over $13m/yr in free agency, but after tearing his ACL in week one, his future is unclear. The Jaguars are low in free agency money, and have their current number one receiver Marquis Lee up for a new contract as well. Robinson has quietly voiced his displeasure with Blake Bortles, liking two social media posts about the Jaguars quarterback situations, so unless the team franchise tags him, which would take a lot of maneuvering on the Jacksonville side, the Pro Bowler will likely hit free agency.
Colts Fit: The Colts need a physical receiver to go with the speed of TY Hilton, which Donte Moncrief has failed to do. Robinson shows the innate ability to win jump balls and dominate the red zone, but what he doesn’t get enough credit for his precise route running. He could give Andrew Luck a safety valve that makes the tough contested catches that he has missed since Reggie Wayne retired.
Andrew Norwell Carolina Panthers
Current Situation: Norwell has placed a top ten guard in each of his four years in the NFL. However, the Panthers aren’t flushed with cap space and just gave Matt Kalil and Trai Turner substantial contract extensions recently, and have Ryan Kalil under contract as well. The new GM may not want to spend that much money on the offensive line, letting the all-pro caliber left guard hit free agency.
Colts Fit: The Colts need offensive line help dearly, and with Jack Mewhort’s career in jeopardy, have a huge hole at left guard as well. Norwell has only missed three games since earning the starting job in 2014 and is the best pass blocking guard in 2017 and an above average run blocker, the prior the Colts desperately needs.
Carlos Hyde San Francisco
Current Situation: The 49ers will hold a top two pick in the draft this year, and after trading for Jimmy Garoppolo will likely pass on a quarterback. If so, that leaves the door open to Penn St. stud Saquon Barkley at running back, which could leave Carlos Hyde out of a starting role. The former Buckeye may be okay with sharing the role and probably won’t know the team’s intentions when he is set to hit free agency in March, but who says the team won’t move in another direction anyway?
Colts Fit: The Colts are likely losing future Hall of Famer in free agency as Gore will probably want to go to a contender to try to win a Super Bowl. If that so, wouldn’t it be ironic if the player that drove Gore out of San Francisco ended up being his replacement in Indy? The Colts have Marlon Mack, but he still has room to grow before he can be considered an every down back, and adding Hyde would give the team a pretty exciting one-two punch in the backfield. Hyde has some consistency and durability concerns, but the prior is most likely due to the team’s dysfunctions and not his talent.
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