Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The Indianapolis Colts will face some tough decisions during NFL free agency. Although the NFL Scouting Combine is currently underway in the Circle City, the Colts have many choices to make, when it comes to the contracts of players currently on their roster. Indianapolis has nearly 20 players with expiring contracts, which means that it will be difficult for the team to not lose at least a few starters to free agency.
Indianapolis has players on offense, defense, and special teams that may be victims of the business side of pro football. Both K – Adam Vinatieri and P – Pat McAfee have expiring contracts, which means that at least one of those important special teams players may not be with Indianapolis next season. Veteran S – Antoine Bethea, after an eight-year career, may have to take less money, if he chooses to remain with the Colts. Running backs Donald Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw may both be cut looses by the Colts, albeit for separate reasons. Bradshaw was brought in last season on a one-year contract, although he was coming back from an injury-riddled 2012 with the New York Giants. Bradshaw went down for the Colts early in 2013, and is a risky prospect to bring back. Brown had a good 2013, but could possibly get a starting spot and a bigger payday from another team.
Some of the players with expiring contracts have very little chance at returning, due to lackluster play last season. The Colts took a low risk by bringing in WR – Darrius Heyward-Bey last season, and the five-year veteran did not find the redemption he was hoping for. Heyward-Bey underperformed as a Colt. Although the wideout played in 16 games last season, he was eventually demoted to special teams play. The Colts also signed WR – Deion Branch in the postseason, but Branch never saw the field for Indianapolis. It’s a long shot that Branch will spend his 13th pro season with the Colts.
The eyes of the NFL may be focused on the young talent at the scouting combine right now, but soon enough, these tough decisions concerning these veterans will have to be made.