The Indianapolis Colts will head into the 2018 season a very different team from 2017. They are going to have a top 3 draft pick, north of 80 million dollars in cap space, and a brand new head coach. But much like any other offseason, determining which free agents they want to bring back for the short or long term future will be a challenge.
The Colts have 11 players that are heading towards free agency. Any team that finishes a season with only 4 wins is going to have roster turnover, but there are some players that General Manager Chris Ballard will want to bring back. Below are the 11 players (listed from youngest to oldest) that the Colts front office are going to have to decide whether or not to retain.
Donte Moncrief(24)- Moncrief has shown countless flashes of what he could be. Moncrief has everything that a receiver could need to be successful. He has the speed, the size, the burst, the hands. The biggest gripe about Moncrief is that he constantly shows a lack of effort, and that is something Chris Ballard is certainly taking note of. If Moncrief met expectations this year, he could have broke the bank. It is not often that a player hits free agency under 25 years young. I could see him being given a 1 year “prove it” type deal, but Ballard despises those with lack of effort. Moncrief could stay, but don’t be surprised if he goes.
Jon Bostic(26)- The Colts defense was not very good in 2017. Bostic started 14 games for that “not very good” unit. My gut tells me that the Colts will have a different look at inside linebacker in 2018, but that does not mean Bostic will be kicked to the curb. Per PFF, Jon Bostic graded 74.7 on the season, which was the 40th ranked linebacker. At a reasonable price, I could see Ballard bringing back Bostic for competition/depth purposes.
Jack Mewhort(26)- There is a really good chance that the 2014 second rounder is done in Indianapolis. In the beginning of his career, Mewhort was one of Andrew Luck’s better blockers. However, he has missed 17 games in the last two seasons. In the NFL, one of the biggest abilities is availability. The former Ohio State guard may not have a gashing market so the Colts may be able to bring him back for a cheap deal, but there is a real possibility that Ballard lets him walk.
Barkevious Mingo(27)- There seems to be a trend with these pending free agents. If any of the above players return, it will likely be for depth purposes. The same goes for Mingo. The 6th overall selection in the 2013 draft never lived up to his hype, but he certainly played a decent role for the Colts as a reserve edge player. I see no reason why Chris Ballard wouldn’t resign Mingo for a cheap deal to provide the defense some quality depth.
Pierre Desir(27)- Pierre Desir made a name for himself this season, playing a big role once Vontae Davis was released. Desir became a fan favorite because of his play and his story. Desir could be brought back. He plays special teams and is solid depth for a young secondary. Depending on the market, Ballard should certainly entertain the thought of an extension for Desir, but I wouldn’t commit a huge amount here because Desir probably isn’t the future of the secondary.
Rashaan Melvin(28)- Melvin had a breakout year in 2017. There isn’t much disputing his play, because he played great this year. However, the Colts should not give Rashaan Melvin a contract extension for many reasons. Melvin was ranked the 19th best cornerback in 2017, with a 85.7 grade per PFF. The outstanding play in 2017 resulted in Melvin signing with agent Drew Rosenhaus. When players sign with Rosenhaus, they typically get a pretty nice contract extension. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to have Melvin back for a season or two. But, he is going to demand a contract for about 4 years. Melvin will be 29 in October, and he has a history of missing a lot of time with injuries. He even missed 6 games this season. It would be a huge risk to give Melvin the contract he is going to be seeking. That being said, if I were Chris Ballard, I’d let him walk.
Kamar Aiken(28)- I do not see a scenario that would make Chris Ballard give Aiken another contract after his failed 1 year deal last year. Aiken had potential to be a sleeper weapon for the Colts offense but he consistently struggled all season with creating space, and had a hand full of drops.
Scott Tolzien(30)- The first pass out of Tolziens hand in week 1 was a 39 yard interception return touchdown for the Rams DB Trumaine Johnson. Later that game, Tolzien lost his starting job to Jacoby Brissett. Tolzien has seen his last day of being a Colt. There isn’t a reason I can think of to bring Tolzien back, even if Andrew Luck is healthy and ready for the season.
Darius Butler(31)- Butler is no longer a starting caliber player. But he does bring a strong veteran leadership to the defensive side of the ball, which is something that the Colts truly need. Butler could get a similar deal that he got last offseason, and could return for another year as a veteran role player in a young and rising Colts secondary.
Frank Gore(34)- Gore has already said that he is going to be playing in the NFL next year. Again, Gore proved to be a freak of nature this year, breaking many records and still carrying a strong load in the Colts back field. Gore said that he is “open” to the idea of coming back to Indy if Andrew Luck is healthy. In my opinion, Frank Gore is going to be breaking more records in a different city next year. Gore is going to be a Hall of Famer one day, but Chris Ballard is probably going to be leaning in a different direction next season, trying to get younger.
Adam Vinatieri(45)- The 45 year old legend is still kicking at an insanely high rate. The only possible way I could see Vinatieri not coming back is if Ballard finds a young guy that he thinks is going to be the next best kicker, who he can’t turn away from. Otherwise, Vinatieri will certainly be back with the Colts, where he said is his preferred destination.