Assessing the Indianapolis Colts’ Franchise in the 2023 Offseason

The 2023 season has just ended, and on March 13, the 2023 campaign will open its doors. Touchdown Actu therefore takes this opportunity to offer you an overview of the different franchises during the offseason. Which players to keep and cut? Which free agent to extend? Which recruits to observe? Here are some ideas, franchise by franchise. In the spotlight today, the Indianapolis Colts. You will find the files for each team on this page.

Expected to be Anthony Richardson’s year 1, the 2023 season saw a turning point with the young quarterback’s injury. Despite this, Shane Steichen had a successful first season with a positive record of 9 wins and 8 losses.

Despite a young group, Indianapolis has shown potential and has significant resources to strengthen the squad in the future. The direction is clear and the room for improvement is strong, so there is everything to succeed. However, the hardest part is yet to come: confirming and meeting expectations.

The captains

1. Quenton Nelson (G) / Ryan Kelly (C) / Braden Smith (T)
2. DeForest Buckner (DT)
3. Jonathan Taylor (RB)

On the Colts roster, there are only four salaries above $11 million per year. Three of those salaries are offensive linemen: Quenton Nelson (G), Ryan Kelly (C) and Braden Smith (T). Historically a strength of the franchise, this squad had a difficult year in 2022 with a notable rebound in 2023. Colts offense needs big line to go along with run-based strategyand this group will once again need to be the offensive engine of the franchise.

For the sixth consecutive season, DeForest Buckner has made over 7 sacks this season, which is notable for an interior lineman. A true leader of the defense, he is the ink of Gus Bradley’s system. His impact is therefore immense on and off the field, and he will once again be a core player for 2024.

Jonathan Taylor’s contract extension took a while, but he ultimately got four more years with the Colts. Author of a historic season in 2021, then losing momentum, he seemed to regain his explosiveness at the end of the 2023 season. In Shane Steichen’s system, having a dominant running game is a must, and Jonathan Taylor needs to become the leader of this offense. His importance must therefore increase not only as a player, but also as a leader.

The undesirables

Rarely in the NFL, there are no undesirables in this squad. Indianapolis’ payroll is low and the Colts have nearly 60 million available (4th highest total in the NFL). Proof of the solidity of the financial structure, the five highest salaries are the five tiers mentioned above. There is therefore no real large-scale saving to be made.

The base is healthy, and this is to the credit of General Manager Chris Ballard. The risk is obviously not to overreact by signing contracts above the market, but the franchise is on good foundations.

The summer man

Anthony Richardson (QB)

Unavoidable. After only one year as a holder in College Football, Anthony Richardson has decided to take the plunge into the NFL. Author of an encouraging start to the season, including 7 touchdowns for 1 interception, he ultimately saw his year shortened by an injury.

For such a raw player, this injury is far from problematic. He will be 22 years old in May, less than the majority of rookies, and nevertheless had the opportunity to study the game book and gain experience. A rookie’s learning is not just on the field, but off it, and Richardson was able to take advantage of this time to progress.

If he has extraordinary athletic abilities, it is in his understanding of the game and in its execution that progression must appear. After a full season, we will have a better vision of his potential, but his success will depend on the real ceiling of this team.

The main free agents of the Indianapolis Colts

1. Grover Stewart (DT)
2. Kenny Moore (CB)
3. Michael Pittman (WR)
4. Zack Moss (RB)
5. Gardner Minshew (QB)

Others : Taven Bryan (DT), Rigoberto Sanchez (P), Tyquan Lewis (EDGE), Isaiah McKenzie (WR), Jake Martin (EDGE), Danny Pinter (OL), Genard Avery (EDGE), Julian Blackmon (S), Juwann Winfree (WR), Tony Brown (CB)

If we had to talk about the key players for a good 2023 season, three of these players are free agents. Grover Stewart is the perfect complement to Deforest Buckner, and forms a basic component of the defensive line. It would be surprising to see her leave, re-signing him is a top priority.

Kenny Moore and Michael Pittman are in a similar situation: they have become indisputable starters and play in positions that lack depth on the Colts. It seems likely to see them return, and a departure would require an immediate replacement at the free agent level.

Zack Moss and Gardner Minshew are luxury replacements, they risk leaving with important contracts elsewhere. Having them return would be a bonus, but the fact remains that in any case, the 2023 season showed how having a strong running committee and a backup quarterback is key in a season where injuries happen. The need will have to be addressed.

The Top 5 needs of the Indianapolis Colts

1. Receiver
2. Tight End
3. Linebacker
4. Cornerback
5. Safety

The receiver position has been a problem for the Colts for a long time. Michael Pittman is a decent NFL player, Alec Pierce lives on flashes and Josh Downs is more of an interior player than a true outside receiver.. Recent NFL seasons have shown that to be successful, you need one or more great receivers (unless the quarterback is Patrick Mahomes), and strengthening that group is key. Same logic for the tight end position where no player has the level of a starter. Anthony Richardson, to succeed, needs targets!

With the loss of Shaquille Leonard, who never regained his level, the linebacker group requires improvement. Here again the lack of a leader is glaring, and although the position is not valued in a defensive system like that of the Colts, bringing experience to help this group progress makes sense.

Finally, the back line also needs to be strengthened. Kenny Moore is a free agent, there are no true number 2 cornerbacks and the safety group lacks depth. Here again, not necessarily a need for XXL hiring, but a need to expand a young group which has little flexibility.

Target

Mike Evans (WR)

Author of more than 1,000 yards in his first 10 seasons, Mike Evans is one of the best receivers in the league and a respected figure. Although 31 years old, Evans remains the best receiver on the marketand the risk of seeing it fall under the franchise tag is weak. He also has the ability to win contested receptions, which is very reassuring for a young quarterback.

Having such a player would allow the arrival of a leader and would strongly strengthen the target group. The Colts need this kind of profile to move forward and the arrival of Evans would also bring marketing potential that management will surely view favorably.

New blood

Cooper DeJean (DB)

Able to play as a cornerback, nickel cornerback or safety, Cooper DeJean is an exceptional athlete and probably one of the best defensive players in this draft. An excellent tackler, he is as good against the run as he is on the pass.

An intelligent player, he offers reinforcement on the back line overall. The Colts can afford to take the best player available in this draft. Paradoxically, DeJean’s versatility could lead to him being moved down to the middle of the first round.

Alternative : Brian Thomas (WR), Quinyon Mitchell (CB), Keon Coleman (WR), Jer’Zhan Newton (DT), Byron Murphy (DT, Texas)

2024-02-21 11:00:49
#Intersaison #Indianapolis #Colts #Anthony #Richardson #bearer #hope

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