What Free Agents Will The Colts Look at as Free Agency draws near?
By: Trenton Roberts (Twitter: @TRobertsNFL)
The Indianapolis Colts head into 2021 as one of the most well-rounded teams in the NFL. With playmakers at all three levels on defense, a top five offensive line, a talented young running back room, and potential at receiver, the team should be competing for a championship yearly.
However, they are missing one key aspect: a quarterback.
With Philip Rivers retiring at the end of the 2020 season, and backup Jacoby Brissett slated for free agency, Indy is left with just one quarterback under contract on the roster: 2020 fourth round pick Jacob Eason.
If Eason can put it all together or if the team decides to make a trade for a new starter remains to be seen, but in a weak free agency class, it is unlikely the team will look at signing someone to lead the offense.
With that being said, the team with the third-most total cap space heading into 2021 will definitely be active in free agency, and thus we are brought to the point of this article: Who are five targets the Colts should pursue in the 2021 Free Agency class?
Honorable Mention: Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys
This is by far the least likely on the list, as it is all but certain that Dallas will be bringing him back one way or another. If he does manage to hit the market, however, expect the Colts to be very aggressive in an attempt to bring him to Indy.
5) Curtis Samuel, WR, Panthers
The Colts value speed at the receiver position. Samuel provides a ton of that.
Since running a 4.31 at the 2017 NFL combine, the former Ohio State star has turned into one of the best gadget players in the NFL. Late in 2020, however, he started to flash more than just “gadget-player” upside.
Over the final half of the 2020 season, Samuel broke out with 589 yards and a pair of scores on 48 receptions, and also chipped in a solid 22 rushes for 109 yards while seeing time in the backfield sans Christian McCaffrey.
Unable to truly shine in the shadow of young star DJ Moore and breakout acquisition Robby Anderson, Samuel will likely be headed elsewhere this offseason, and the Colts should certainly look into acquiring his services on their offense.
4) Carl Lawson, DE, Bengals
Since being selected in the fourth round of the 2017 class, Lawson has proven to be the steal of the class.
In his four seasons, Lawson has started in just 14 of a possible 51 games (11 came in 2020), yet he has managed to accumulate five or more sacks and 20+ QB hits in every season but one. In 2020, he was credited with creating 10.5 sacks for teammates by creating pressure, which placed him sixth in the entire league.
It’s not often that a young dynamic pass rusher hits the open market, so at just 25 years of age, his services will definitely create a bidding war this offseason.
With Justin Houston continuing to age, and both Houston and Denico Autry set to hit free agency, the Indianapolis Colts should certainly throw their chips into the pot to get younger and more talented at the position.
3) Trent Williams, LT, 49ers
Trent Williams is the model of consistency at one of the most important positions in football.
Starting in 133 of his 134 career games since 2010, Williams was a staple on the line for Washington before sitting out the 2019 season in protest against the team for unfair treatment and failure to care for an injury.
Subsequently traded to the San Francisco 49ers, Williams went on to have one of his greatest seasons yet, allowing just 4 sacks and finishing with a PFF grade of 91.9, which led all tackles in the league.
At 32 years of age, Williams is certainly on the older end of the spectrum, but with similar talented tackles providing high-caliber play into their mid-late 30s, the Colts should reach out to Williams in an attempt to replace recently retired stalwart Anthony Castonzo on the blind side.
2) Shaquill Griffin, CB, Seahawks
Perhaps better known as the twin of Shaquem Griffin, the linebacker with one hand, Shaquill has quietly made a name for himself in Seattle.
Griffin has been a mainstay in the Seahawks secondary since being drafted in 2017, having started in 53 of a possible 57 career games, and starting every game he played in since week five of his rookie season.
In 12 regular season games in 2020, Griffin picked off three passes and defended another 12, while allowing just a 62.1% catch percentage (per Pro Football Reference). Not turning 26 until July, Griffin gives teams the chance to sign a potential young CB1 for their team without paying a premium for his services.
Because of this, and with the Colts in need of more youth and a talent infusion in the cornerback room, expect the team to at least give a long look into signing Griffin away from Seattle.
1) Allen Robinson, WR, Bears
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, you’ve probably heard someone mention a connection of Allen Robinson to the Colts.
The 27-year-old has been a dominant force throughout his time in the league, highlighted by his 2015 season with the Jaguars in which he totaled 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns on 80 catches. In 2020, Robinson set a new career high in receptions, hauling in 102 balls for 1,250 yards and six scores.
In Indianapolis, the Colts have young talents such as Michael Pittman Jr and Parris Campbell at the position, as well as long-time top target TY Hilton potentially returning for more. However, the team lacks a true bona-fide WR1, with Hilton underwhelming since Andrew Luck’s retirement in 2019.
Robinson would bring a dominant top option for whoever is under center for the Colts in 2021, as well as being a perfect mentor for Pittman. This seems like a match made in heaven, so expect the Colts to throw everything they have into trying to sign the star wideout.
That just about wraps up our Indianapolis Colts Free Agency Target List!
Do you feel as though there are other names you would add to this list? Who do you want the Colts to chase in 2021? Where do you see the team heading in this pivotal free agency period?
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