Indianapolis Colts: Already Looking Ahead to 2019
By Rob Voigt
Special to Pro Football Guru
We all want to fast forward through free agent signings and draft selections and straight into final 53-man roster predictions for the September 2019 Colts opening day roster. There are steps in the process that must be followed chronologically. We must exercise some patience as it plays out.
The existing roster must be reviewed for areas to upgrade. Decisions must be made on the Colts’ own pending 27 free agents before the 2019 league year begins on March 5. Six days later begins a two-day negotiating period and unrestricted free agents may be officially signed beginning March 13. The NFL draft is April 25-27 and in Nashville this year.
Hence, the first step in the process and the first of many pieces on this site. It’s a review of the 2018 Colts’ roster. Keep an eye out for work on free agents re-signed, available free agents, an NFL draft preview followed by a review. General manager Chris Ballard has been brilliant with waiver claims, undrafted and street free agents. Those avenues of acquiring players are hard to predict. Nonetheless, it is another option for roster building.
As of this writing, the Colts have 81 players under contract and nine draft picks that would make up the offseason 90-man roster. Teams must meet 53-man roster by August 31. The club’s roster does give us a glimpse into what kind of positional break down they would like. Here’s a look by team by position group and whether the player is worthy of being on the 90-man roster. They will come to training camp competing for a spot on the final. (Number in parenthesis is in regards to the 53-man roster.)
Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Phillip Walker, Brad Kaaya.
Brissett could be traded before or during draft. Ballard should be able to get a second- or third- round pick – which is better than just letting him walk to a possible AFC team. Best compensatory draft pick a team can get is at the end of the third round. Best scenario is to sign him to long term deal for high end backup money. It’s doubtful Brissett or his agent will want that. So predict that Brissett does get traded.
RUNNING BACK (4)
Marlon Mack, Nyhiem Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Jonathan Williams.
Williams is a three-year pro from Arkansas. He is listed as 6’0” and 223 pounds. He was kept on 53-man roster, so team must like him. He is a restricted free agent for 2019. Predict he is tendered and brought to camp.
WIDE RECEIVER (6)
TY Hilton, Deon Cain, Daurice Fountain, Krishawn Hogan, Steve Ishmael, Jordan Veasy, James Wright, Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, Ryan Grant, Dontrelle Inman.
Rogers is a restricted free agent. Predict he is tendered. Pascal and Johnson are Exclusive Rights free agents. Predict both will return. Grant and Inman are unrestricted free agents. Grant is not re-signed. Predict Inman is re-signed by Colts. Market value in length and amount.
TIGHT END (4)
Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox, Ryan Hewitt, Billy Brown, Ross Travis.
Hewitt is an unrestricted free agent. Predict he is not re-signed. Travis is a restricted free agent. Predict he is tendered.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
Anthony Costanzo, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Mark Glowinski, Braden Smith, Joe Haeg, Evan Boehm, Le’Raven Clark, Josh Andrews, Antonio Garcia, William Poehls, De’Ondre Wesley, Matt Slauson, J’Marcus Webb.
Webb, Slauson and Glowinski are unrestricted free agents. Predict Webb will not be back. Predict Slauson is re-signed and modest deal with low chances to make final roster. Predict Glowinski is re-signed by Colts to market value in length and amount. Predict Andrews is a restricted free agent who will be tendered.
DEFENSIVE ENDS (5)
Jabaal Sheard, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Kemoko Turay, Anthony Winbush, Carroll Phillips, Geneo Grissom,
All signed thru 2019.
DEFENSIVE TACKLES (5)
Denico Autry, Tyquan Lewis, Hassan Ridgeway, Grover Stewart, DeShawn Williams, Jihad Ward, Al Woods, Margus Hunt.
Woods, Hunt and Ward are all unrestricted free agents. Predict Woods and Hunt are not re-signed. Solid role players that will be 32 years old. Assume agents want more than Ballard offers. Predict Ward is re-signed by Colts to a modest deal.
Darius Leonard, Anthony Walker, Matt Adams, Zaire Franklin, Ahmad Thomas, Skai Moore, Najee Goode.
Goode is an unrestricted free agent. Predict he is re-signed for vet minimum.
Kenny Moore, Quincy Wilson, Nate Hairston, Jalen Collins, DJ Killings, Chris Milton, Pierre Desir.
Desir is unrestricted free agent. Predict he is re-signed by Colts to a market value deal. Milton is a restricted free agent. Predict he is tendered.
Malik Hooker, George Odum, Rolan Milligan, Isaiah Johnson, Matthias Farley, Corey Moore, JJ Wilcox, Mike Mitchell, Ronald Martin, Clayton Geathers.
Geathers, Mitchell and Wilcox are unrestricted free agents. Geathers is re-signed by Colts to market value deal. Predict Mitchell and Wilcox re-sign one-year deals. Moore and Farley are both restricted free agents. Predict both are tendered. Ronald Martin is an exclusive rights free agent. Predict he returns.
SPECIAL TEAMS (3)
Adam Vinatieri, Rigoberto Sanchez, Luke Rhodes.
Vinatieri is an unrestricted free agent. Predict his signs one-year deal. Luke Rhodes is a restricted free agent. Predict he is tendered.
Of the current 81 players under contract to the Colts, I predicted six will not be on 2019 Colts’ 90-man training camp opening roster. Brissett will be traded to an NFC team. Ryan Grant, Ryan Hewitt, J’Marcus Webb, Al Woods, Margus Hunt will all not re-signed.
The remaining 75 players stay on roster- for now. NFL contracts are easily gotten out of. The salary cap and its rules are not a factor. The draft will yield 9-10 prospects plus undrafted players.
Enjoy Super Bowl LIII.
Rob Voigt is a freelance football writer. Follow him on Twitter at @ColtsFnSnceBert.