For the most part, the AFC South has served as a muffled division, headlined by mediocrity for the better part of the last two decades. In the last 15 seasons, only the Indianapolis Colts in 2006 and 2009 have raised an AFC title banner, and the division as a whole has appeared in only seven combined conference title games.
Following the Colts’ trade for Carson Wentz, general manager Chris Ballard has put his roster in prime position to win a wide-open division. With Deshaun Watson’s future currently up in the air in Houston, Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer in Jacksonville for only their first NFL seasons, and Tennessee on the verge of losing almost all of their non-A.J. Brown pass-catchers, the move for Wentz could provide the final piece to Ballard’s puzzle in returning Indianapolis back to NFL glory.
Here are three potential offensive targets the Colts could look to sign when free agency begins.
Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions
In this scenario, T.Y. Hilton signs elsewhere in free agency.
The Colts have flexibility with their cap space, currently at fourth-most among all NFL teams, which will allow Ballard to get creative and offer some of the bigger-named talent within this year’s open market. However, I don’t envision Indianapolis paying up at wideout unless they back the Brinks truck up for Allen Robinson—which could happen. The Colts lacked a vertical threat in 2020. Hilton’s speed has digressed with age, and the weapon to take the lid off the defense simply wasn’t there for head coach Frank Reich.
With the addition of Wentz, who’s proven he can sling it around the yard, Jones could provide the vertical and intermediate threat for the Colts without spending up for one of the headliners in this year’s wideout class.
Just days ago, Jones seemed adamant about joining a contender in position to compete for a title.
“At this point in my career, that's what I want… I am 31, I am going on my 10th season, but I'm still running past people and I'm doing the things that I've always done. So I have no signs of slowing down at all.”
Trent Williams, OT, San Francisco 49ers
Following the retirement of Anthony Castonzo, and with Chaz Green set to enter the open market, a huge hole lies on Wentz’s blindside.
A quarterback who’s taken a fair share of licks in this league, it would be wise of Ballard to shore up the Colts’ left side of the line. Who better to do so than the eight-time Pro Bowler in Williams? Sure, John Lynch and the 49ers have made it public they would like to retain Williams, but with a sticky current cap situation, I don’t see Williams returning to the Bay.
This is where I see Ballard paying up. Williams has represented a new generation of tackles since his debut in the league back in 2010. He’s extremely athletic, smart, and is as good in the run game as he is in the pass game. He allowed just 19 total pressures all season and finished as PFF's highest-graded tackle in 2020.
He allows offenses to be creative, and with his addition on the same unit as Quenton Nelson, second-year back Jonathan Taylor could be primed for a massive sophomore campaign.
Gerald Everett, TE, Los Angeles Rams
Looking back to his time in Philadelphia, Wentz thrived in two-tight-end sets. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert hogged targets, working the second level of the defense with seamless execution. The Colts have Jack Doyle locked up until 2023, but with Trey Burton set to enter free agency, the addition of Everett would provide a similar look in Indianapolis for Wentz. Mo Alie-Cox has all the tools, but if Reich is looking for an immediate playmaker opposite Doyle, Everett would be a cheap option for the production he provides.
Just 26 years old, Everett has produced when given the opportunity. He’s recorded 127 receptions in four seasons in Los Angeles, totaling 1,389 receiving yards, good for 10.9 yards a pop—not bad numbers considering he’s started just 11 games in 61 career appearances.
- Jun 24, 2022
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