The NFL Free Agency period is one of the most crucial times for a franchise. It is where you can attain that one player that changes an entire culture on either offense or defense. Colts’ GM Chris Ballard has already shown his “Moneyball” like tactics from his offseason last year and with over $60 million in cap space to spare, he will be looking internally to see who best fits his big picture for the Colts. Let’s take a look at a few key free agents set to hit the market this year.
RB- Frank Gore – Re-sign Em’
It’s no surprise that Frank Gore is cementing his status not only as a Hall Of Fame running back but, also as a perennial “Iron Man.” Since his acquisition back in 2015, Gore has been a rock-solid option for the Colts, almost consistently averaging 1,000 yards a season and has been rushing his way up to number five on the all-time NFL Rushing Yards list. Gore has stated that a healthy Andrew Luck will persuade him to stay in Indy to which all signs are pointing towards. If Gore were to walk, that would leave Robert Turbin and Marlon Mack as the lead backs in Indy, but Ballard will probably want the experienced legend instead. Gore will stay in Indy albeit, for a short term.
TE- Brandon Williams – Let Em’ Walk
Williams was acquired by the Colts in March, cut in September, and then signed the next day after TE Erik Swoope went on IR. His season was cut short due to a head injury suffered against Denver in week 15. Williams amassed 121 receiving yards and no touchdowns. With the impending return of Erik Swoope, who shows great talent and potential at the position, and the addition of Ross Travis, Williams looks to be the odd man out.
QB- Scott Tolzien – Let Em’ Walk
After it was announced that Luck would not play the first quarter of the season, Indy turned to veteran Scott Tolzien to lead them against the Rams in Week 1. Tolzien was dismal. His mix of interceptions and bad decisions lead to his benching for the rest of the season in favor of Jacoby Brissett, who became the better option. The emergence of Brissett, mixed with the benching decision and the recent acquisition of Brad Kaaya from Detroit is the writing on the wall for Tolzien.
LB- Barkevious Mingo – Re-sign Em’
The former 6th overall pick back in 2013 has seen his career shift from city to city and has not lived up to its billing. Mingo was signed last offseason to help bring depth and was ultimately given another chance. Fortunately, both of those came to fruition for this player. After starting linebackers John Simon and Jon Bostic were sent to IR, Mingo became the starter and proved to a competent backup. Ballard is all about depth and talent with his new roster. Mingo fits both categories and will find himself back in Indianapolis
CB Rashaan Melvin – Re-sign Em’
Journeyman Rahaan Melvin finally found his footing in Indianapolis last season and was building a possible Pro Bowl-like season until a hand injury cut things short. With the mid-season release of Vontae Davis, Melvin saw his status ascend to the number one corner in Indy. He was able to shut down many of the top receivers in the game and was very reliable in coverage. Pairing him with rookie Quincy Wilson will be the corner combo that Indy has been looking for. Expect a big payday for this guy.
OL- Jack Mewhort – Re-sign Em’
The offensive line situation in Indianapolis has been a headache since 2012. Multiple faces and combinations have done more damage than good. Mewhort drafted back in 2014, was eyed as a long-term solution at the guard position. Even though his career has been marred by injuries, he still has been one of the consistent pieces on that left side next to tackle Anthony Costanzo. Once again, Ballard is all about keeping depth which will influence his decision to re-sign Mewhort.
WR- Kamar Aiken – Let Em’ Walk
The Colts have had a hard time filling in that third receiver spot on the roster for some time now. Aiken was brought in from Baltimore to hopefully become that guy. Unfortunately, he never lived up to his potential. He was unable to register a single touchdown this season, had multiple drops, was near invisible in some games and his backup Chester Rogers outplayed him. The Colts will most likely stick with Rogers and find another receiver in the draft or free agency leaving Aiken to find another team.
WR- Donte Moncrief – Re-sign Em’
Moncrief is probably the most surprising person to consider a keeper for this upcoming season. Many fans think he will be cut but, they are not thinking about how important Moncrief is to the Colts. Even though he has had a bad case of the drops and has been unable to stay healthy for a whole season, he is still a very physical and talented receiver. It will be important for Ballard to keep the offensive unit intact for a returning Andrew Luck and keeping Moncrief around as his second receiver will help ease things back for his quarterback.