, a handful of draft picks, and an arrow pointing straight up for a franchise that bounced back from the crater left by Ryan Grigson remarkably quickly. They got solid production from their rookies and second year players. They also did well with the free agents they signed in terms of both production and culture in the locker room. Something really cool was happening with this team in 2018, and the Colts’ front office has some interesting decisions to make this offseason, because they won’t want to mess with any of the progress that has been made. There are several players who are due to hit free agency, and our goal in this exercise is to take a look at some of them and determine if the Colts should re-sign them or let them walk. Ryan GrantPhoto by Michael Hickey/Getty ImagesThis one is as easy a call as there is on this list. Ryan Grant had a few decent games early in the season, but after he hurt his ankle and missed a few games starting in week 7, he became a complete nonfactor. He never had more than 2 catches after that point and was never targeted more than 3 times. Dontrelle Inman stepped directly into his role and took it over pretty seamlessly in week 8 against Oakland. When you factor in that Grant is 28 and unlikely to be making a leap at this stage in his career, it is pretty easy to wish him well and send him on his way.Verdict: GoPierre DesirPhoto by Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesPierre Desir made a strong case for his return over the back stretch of the 2018 season. He was an integral part of limiting arguably the best receiver in football, DeAndre Hopkins, to two very pedestrian games against the Colts. He also had the same kind of impact on Cowboys’ wide receiver Amari Cooper, who had been taking over games before the Colts shut Dallas down completely. Is Desir a long term answer at cornerback? No. He’ll turn 29 next season, and they will need players to step in and take over at some point. While there might be some cornerbacks hitting free agency who could provide a marginal talent increase, would it be worth it if they are a risk to the locker room’s cohesiveness? Given Ballard’s tendency to build from the draft, he will likely address the position there, but in the meantime, it makes sense to give Desir a reasonable deal and let him be a veteran presence in a very young defensive backs room.Verdict: StayAl WoodsPhoto by Bobby Ellis/Getty ImagesFor some reason I had it in my brain that Ryan Grigson had brought Woods in, and nearly gave him credit for a solid signing. Unfortunately for him, that was not the case. Chris Ballard signed Woods, and it proved to be a big signing for the defensive line in terms of limiting their impotence against the run. Woods is one of the oldest players on the roster not named Adam Vinatieri, and having him present on such a young defense almost certainly provided some value. His role this season was significantly limited, especially when compared with 2017 where he was on the field for the majority of defensive snaps. At 32 years old and with a draft class littered with talented interior defensive linemen and a room full of promising young players already Peyton Manning Jersey
, it just seems like Woods is an unlikely candidate to return. Verdict: GoMatthias FarleyPhoto by Brian Bahr/Getty ImagesYou could be forgiven if you had forgotten about Matthias Farley just a little bit. He went to IR after the game against the Patriots, and given the Colts’ run after that point, much of what happened before got lost in the shuffle. Farley is an interesting case in terms of re-signing. He is just 26 years old, and has a ton of heart as well as being a locker room leader. While he isn’t the most athletic guy in the safety room by a wide margin, he also has a bit of that “it” factor that has reared its head with greater consistency over the past two season. He is a player who gets the most out of his ability. To use a term Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com uses, he is a “fairway” guy. He doesn’t have the high ceiling of some guys, but he doesn’t have the low floor either. I would love to see Farley back in that safety room to back up Malik Hooker.Verdict: StayAdam VinatieriPhoto by Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesThis is one of the toughest calls out there. On the one hand, the guy is a complete legend. He holds the All-Time points record, and has been one of the most clutch kickers ever. On the other hand, the guy is 46 years old. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt Vinny’s accuracy. He was as accurate this season as ever, and even knocked one in from 54 yards. However, I noticed something this year that I’m sure you did as well. He had some pretty ugly kicks at times, and I think they were due to a lingering injury. He injured his groin in the game against the Bills, and from that point on, there were several one-off kicks that just didn’t look right. Most went in, but seemed to clearly indicate a guy dealing with pain. That is normal for football players, but part of the reason there aren’t guys playing at 46 is because your body simply takes longer to heal than a 24 year old’s does. There is a very real concern that letting someone as prestigious as Vinatieri walk would come back to bite the Colts, and it could. However, Michael Badgley was the guy kicking backup to Vinatieri during training camp and preseason before landing with the Chargers and kicking 93.8% of his field goals and 96.4% of his extra points as well as hitting a 59-yarder. All those numbers best Vinny’s on the year, proving that not only are there guys out there who can be effective Al Woods Color Rush Jersey
, but that the Colts have had them in their building. While it would be a truly tough call, and one that Vinatieri’s retirement might make irrelevant, I believe the right move for the Colts is to let him walk and sign someone to be the next generation place kicker for this team.Verdict: GoLet us know your thoughts in the comments, and check back for the second part of this series for some of the other major in-house free agents the Colts will need to make decisions on. Update: 5 additional players have been selected as Pro Bowl Alternates. Denico Autry, T.Y. Hilton, Ryan Kelly, Darius Leonard, and Andrew Luck.The Colts will send two players to this year’s Pro Bowl. Rookie guard Quenton Nelson and tight end Eric Ebron will both make their first Pro Bowl appearances and they’re well deserved. Ebron broke the franchise record set by Dallas Clark for most touchdowns by a tight end, and has been a red zone machine, scoring 13 touchdowns with two games to go. Quenton Nelson has been serving more pancakes than a Denny’s next door to a frat house. He has been a huge part of the turnaround of the Colts’ offensive line and has brought the kind of meanness and attitude to this offense that it has sorely lacked. There is a notable problem with this list of Pro Bowl players for the Colts, and it doesn’t take long to spot it. Two very notable names are absent from the list, and they’re the two best players on this Colts team. On offense, Andrew Luck somehow finds himself below Tom Brady, a feat that in previous years would not have been notable, but based on their play this season, is laughably absurd.Brady has 10 fewer touchdowns than Luck, has been unable to extend plays as he looks scared to take a hit, and has generally been a better than average to good quarterback for the Patriots. Luck on the other hand has been transcendent at times, weaving around defenders and avoiding sacks to extend plays when needed, and taking the smart dump off pass when it makes sense. He has been nearly impossible to defend and as much as his dramatic decrease in sacks is due to the offensive line’s improvement, it is also a product of his changed playing style. Luck has gotten rid of the ball quickly and made it nearly impossible to sack him. His awareness and decision making have been some of the best in the league and the idea that Brady has even been close to as good this season is just silly.Somehow https://www.coltsfanshop.com/Erik-Swoope-Jersey
, though, Luck’s snub isn’t even the worst one. Darius Leonard, the same guy who is playing historically well both for a rookie and for a player at his position in general, did not make the Pro Bowl. That’s right, the guy who leads the league in tackles with 146, has 7 sacks, an interception, 4 forced fumbles, 6 passes defended, and 12 tackles for loss, didn’t make the cut for the Pro Bowl.Jadeveon Clowney made it in ahead of Leonard, because they’re somehow in the same category despite Leonard playing the inside linebacker position. Regardless of his incorrect categorization, Leonard has still been more impactful than Clowney, who has 8 sacks, no picks, no passes defended, no forced fumbles, and just 37 tackles. Darius Leonard has played like one of the best defenders in football, not just at his position or for a rookie. One of the best defenders in the game period. All I can say about this is that I pity how Darius Leonard plays with yet another chip on his shoulder. Saquon Barkley and the Giants had better get ready.