Colts Free Agent Targets: WR Cecil Shorts


The Indianapolis Colts enter 2015 needing help at a number of key positions. While defense obviously needs the most attention, the Colts are likely going to go after a wide receiver to restock a depleted unit.

The Colts should look at Cecil Shorts to fill this need. Shorts has spent the first four years of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Colts fans will remember Shorts as the player who broke an inside slant for a game winning touchdown at Lucas Oil Stadium back in 2012. Incidentally, that was also the last time the Jaguars beat the Colts.

The Colts are projected to have roughly $25.6 million in cap space in 2015. That’s enough to make a few signings while also having money left over to start signing players from the 2012 draft class.

The Colts looked to be stacked at wide receiver before last season began. Reggie Wayne was back and the team added Hakeem Nicks and rookie Donte Moncrief to the roster. Along with T.Y. Hilton, this unit looked incredibly dangerous.

But injuries to Wayne, coupled with age, and a lack of effort from Nicks led to the wide receivers disappointing at times (and not getting open at others).

Shorts had 53 receptions for 557 yards and a touchdown after missing the first two games of the season. He managed that while the Jaguars featured the worst passing offense in NFL.

Shorts is clearly a talented receiver who suffers from the team he plays for. He’s never played with a competent quarterback (Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne) or non-rookie (Blake Bortles).

He also has been the primary receiver for the bulk of his career. Everytime the Jags have tried to get some help at the position, they’ve had awful luck. Whether is Justin Blackmon‘s substance abuse problems or injuries (like Allen Robinson), they simply can’t seem to get better at wide receiver.

Shorts would add experience and potential to the Colts passing attack. He has a nice blend of possession receiver and explosive playmaker that the team really needs. At 6-0 and 205-pounds, he would also add size the receiving corps.

Shorts had just five drops in 2014, which was about 4.6-percent of his passes. But any of his stats come with the caveat that Bortles was throwing the pass. Really, the Jaguars were awful on offense last season.

Advanced stats were not his best friends last season either. Football Outsiders had Shorts at the bottom of list among receiver with 50 or more receptions. Pro Football Focus gave him a -8.2 for the season.

So why should the Colts sign him?

As we’ve said, the Jaguars offense was abysmal in 2014. They were at 31st in DVOA overall, and 32nd in passing. They also had the worst graded offense by PFF (most of that coming from Bortles).

Shorts has talent but he’s never been in an environment where he can succeed. He’s also likely to leave the Jaguars for a place where he can win and for an offense that will use him more effectively.

The best factor for him will likely be his price. As a fourth round pick, Shorts wasn’t making very much in Jacksonville and he made a season high of $1.5 million in 2014. The Colts can get him at a bargain price.