Where Do the Indianapolis Colts Sit When It Comes to the Rumor Mill??
By: Trenton Roberts (Twitter: @TRobertsNFL)
The Indianapolis Colts have had a relatively quiet off-season after their early trade with the Philadelphia Eagles in mid-February for quarterback Carson Wentz. Since that time, the team has only made minor moves, such as re-signing a few key players and bringing in some much-needed depth at certain positions, though they have yet to make a big splash.
With free agency now in the rear-view mirror, the team is set to look forward into the draft, while continuing to monitor a few yet-to-sign free agents. Let’s dive into some of the biggest rumors at this point in the off-season for the Colts!
Free Agency Rumors:
The Colts came into the off-season with a lot of cap room to play around if they wanted. However, under GM Chris Ballard, the team has been known to build through the draft and the second wave of free agency, rather than acquiring big names on the market.
While this might irk some Colts fans who want to see more, Ballard has good reason for this. 2018 draftee’s Darius Leonard, Braden Smith and Nyheim Hines are all entering the final years of their respective contracts, slated to hit free agency in 2022. Fellow 2018 draftee Quenton Nelson will soon follow, as his fifth-year option will undoubtably be picked up, locking him in Indy until 2023.
With all of these names being major parts of the team’s identity, each will be receiving an extension sooner rather than later, so Ballard pinching his pennies gives the Colts flexibility to make sure they can retain each of these building-blocks.
As for the rest of free agency, the Colts filled a few holes with some cheap veteran experience, such as tackles Sam Tevi (LAC) and JuliÃ©n Davenport (MIA), defensive end Isaac Rochell (LAC), and most recently guard Chris Reed (CAR) and safety Sean Davis (PIT).
The team is also reportedly in talks to return 2020 starting defensive end Justin Houston to Indy. Houston, a 2019 free agency signing by the Colts, has been a solid presence on the defensive front since arriving in Indy, amassing 19.0 sacks, 30 QB hits, and five fumble recoveries in his two seasons with the team (per ProFootballReference).
With the 2021 NFL draft right around the corner, every team around the league is doing their due diligence on every prospect they can find. The Colts are no exception, as they have been very active thus far with prospects and pro-days, working hard to continue Ballard’s tradition of building through the draft.
One of the biggest names that has been constantly linked to the Colts recently is Oklahoma State University offensive tackle Teven Jenkins. Jenkins has been a major pre-draft riser, putting on a show at his pro-day on April 1st. According to multiple sources, the Colts have already met with Jenkins multiple times virtually, as well as sending multiple representatives to his pro-day.
The team is also reportedly keeping an eye on a few other tackle prospects in the draft class. According to numerous sources, Chris Ballard himself was in attendance for the pro-days at Notre Dame, Alabama, and Northwestern, who house tackles Liam Eichenberg, Alex Leatherwood, and Rashawn Slater, respectively.
Among other position groups with ties to the Colts is the EDGE class, with many popular mock drafts seeing the Colts landing a player at the position in the first round, such as Miami’s Jaelan Phillips or Gregory Rousseau, Michigan’s Kwity Paye, or Penn State’s Jayson Oweh.
Overall, the team has a lot to dig into leading up to the draft nearly three weeks from today. Will they bring in additional veterans on cheap contracts? Which direction do they go with pick 21? Where will the team sit when it’s all said and done.
Buckle up, Colts fans, because it’s about to get wild!