What Should Colts Be Looking For In Free Agency?
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INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Ballard knows the fear that comes with free agency.
But the second-year general manager is also not naïve to the holes currently on his roster.
“Look, we are 4-12,” Ballard says of last year’s record.
“Do we need upgrades at a lot of spots? Absolutely. Do we need more difference makers? Absolutely.”
But at what cost?
“Free agency is dangerous,” Ballard cautions. “You are paying a lot of money to a player that you don’t know, who is coming from a different culture and coming into your building. You have to be very selective in what you do.”
Ballard ends that statement reminding himself of the needs all over his roster.
Whether Ballard wants to or not, he has to be more aggressive in free agency, with 70-plus million to spend and knowing that the draft will not answer all the questions.
So what should the Colts do when free agency arrives next week?
-Offensive Linemen: No fan should be discouraged if the Colts go out and find two starters along the offensive line. It’s going to cost a lot, but it’s time to finally attack this deficiency at the proper level. Chris Ballard knows there are some OL veterans that would address Indy’s needs. He should not shy away from the top of this O-line free agent class.
-Wide Receiver: T.Y. Hilton and Chester Rogers are the only receivers of significance under contract for the 2018 season. A re-signing of Donte Moncrief would probably be considered a surprise at this point. That means the Colts have to go find some high-level receivers, with an emphasis on bigger targets being the smart path to go down. Could Sammy Watkins (pictured above) or Allen Robinson fit that criteria?
-Middle Linebacker: In changing to a 4-3 defense, the Colts are going to need to overhaul the linebacker group. Starting at the MIKE position---perhaps with Dallas’ Anthony Hitchens re-joining Matt Eberflus---is a definite need this offseason.
-Cornerback: This need could be achieved by re-signing Rashaan Melvin and Pierre Desir. Letting Melvin walk in free agency would slide this need up into the major category for a team having talented, but unproven young corners ready for bigger roles.
-Running Back: The draft is the major area to look to for a feature running back, especially with how much depth is at that position in 2018. In free agency though, a specific skillset (i.e. an elite catcher out of the backfield) could come into play for a backfield needing more diversity.
-Defensive Linemen: On paper, the Colts probably have the bodies to make a somewhat seamless transition to a four-man defensive front. But if the right body type emerges in free agency, I could see Chris Ballard wanting to bring in a new defensive lineman. Johnathan Hankins and Jabaal Sheard have had success playing before in a 4-3.