Indianapolis Colts: 5 Free Agents They Should Re-Sign This Offseason
5 Free Agents the Indianapolis Colts Should Re-Sign
The Indianapolis Colts’ 2013 season came to a disappointing end at Foxborough last weekend with a 43-22 loss to the New England Patriots, bringing down the curtain on what has been another successful year under head coach Chuck Pagano.
The Colts replicated their 2012 regular season record of 11-5, but did so with a much harder schedule and a slew of injuries to contend with, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The highlight of the year came on wild card weekend as sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck won the first postseason game of his career against the Kansas City Chiefs. It may be just one win, but it means a great deal. Just ask Andy Dalton.
Moving forward, owner Jim Irsay and GM Ryan Grigson have a lot of work to do if the Colts are to mount a deeper postseason push in 2014. Free agent signings and draft acquisitions are key to the rebuilding process, but just as important is the retention of valuable players who are entering the free agent market themselves. The Colts have 18 unrestricted free agents heading into the offseason, amongst them several starters in all three phases of the game.
Grigson has had a pretty miserable 2013. He brought in the likes of Ahmad Bradshaw, Trent Richardson, Darrius Heyward-Bey, LaRon Landry and Greg Toler who have all performed badly, or have been injured, or both. If he wants to save himself from the hot seat next offseason, Grigson must prove his worth over the coming months and he should start by re-signing these five players.
5. Pat McAfee
Pat McAfee has been a consistent performer for the Colts over the past five seasons and has stated his desire to stay in Indiana. A big fan favorite, the eccentric punter’s pastimes include swimming in canals while intoxicated and getting fined $10,000 for posting nude pictures of teammates on Twitter. Who doesn’t want this guy on their team?
4. Donald Brown
What a season for veteran running back Donald Brown. Prior to the first whistle of the opening game, Brown was the third-choice back behind Vick Ballard and Bradshaw. When Ballard went down, Brown remained third choice after the trade acquisition of Richardson. Brown didn’t get his chance until Bradshaw got injured, and he took full advantage of it.
He led the team with 537 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and ran for six touchdowns. Brown also contributed with catches out of the backfield, totaling 214 yards and two scores. He has certainly earned himself a big contract entering free agency and the Colts will have to pony up some serious cash to keep him, but after such a successful season, how do you lose him but keep Richardson?
3. Adam Vinatieri
Adam Vinatieri is the oldest man in the NFL at 41 years of age and he’s playing the best football of his storied 18-year career. His 35 made field goals during the regular season was the second most in the league, and his three successful kicks against the Patriots in the Divisional round made him the first kicker in history to convert 50 postseason field goals.
2. Antoine Bethea
Safety Antoine Bethea has been the rock of the Colts’ secondary for almost a decade. Drafted in 2006, Bethea has started 96 regular season games and has amassed several honors along with way, including two trips to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009, and of course a Super Bowl ring from the Colts’ win over the Chicago Bears at Super Bowl XLI.
Turning 30 later this year, Irsay and Grigson seem reluctant to offer Bethea a new contract despite his desire to finish his career in Indianapolis. Landry was brought in last offseason and has performed poorly while missing several games through injury. Unless the Colts’ front office can find a hidden gem in the 2014 draft, re-signing Bethea is the logical option.
1. Vontae Davis
Davis was brought over from the Miami Dolphins prior to the 2012 season and had an immediate impact on the defense. His production has been up and down this year while dealing with injuries, but he remains a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback. Indeed, Pro Football Focus ranked Davis as the third best cornerback in the league alongside Arizona's Tyrann Mathieu.
Toler was signed for big money prior to the regular season and has been on IR for more games than Grigson will care to remember. Along with Darius Butler and Cassius Vaughn, the Colts have a capable group of cornerbacks and Davis is easily the best of the bunch.