Report: Colts ‘Making a Strong Push’ to Sign Alshon Jeffery
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, the Indianapolis Colts are among the teams that are making a ‘strong push’ to sign Chicago Bears star wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Along with the Philadelphia Eagles (who may bow out after signing Torrey Smith), the Colts are also reportedly vying with the Bears for Jeffery’s services, who’s a soon-to-be free agent:
Originally a 2012 2nd round pick of the Chicago Bears, the 6’3″, 218 pound Jeffery has become one of the NFL’s best young big-bodied wide receivers.
He has 304 career receptions for 4,549 total receiving yards and 26 touchdown receptions in 5 seasons with the Bears–despite battling oftentimes suspect starting quarterback play.
Jeffery is coming off a season in which he caught 52 receptions for 821 total receiving yards and 2 touchdown receptions. Although to be fair, there’s only so much one can do with Brian Hoyer, Jay Cutler, and Matt Barkley throwing passes behind center.
However, there’s some questions regarding Jeffery’s durability, who has suffered from lingering injuries, as well as his 4-game PED suspension this past season.
As the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder pointed out, new Colts general manager Chris Ballard already has a great familiarity with Jeffery though–having served as Chicago’s Director of Pro Scouting in 2012 when the young wide receiver was drafted.
It’s still a potential puzzling move for Ballard though, as the Colts already have star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and promising young wideout Donte Moncrief at starting wide receiver.
Hilton was the NFL’s leading wide receiver last season and is firmly entrenched as starting quarterback Andrew Luck‘s number one wideout–having made a 3rd consecutive Pro Bowl appearance.
It’s Moncrief though that this potential move indicates Ballard’s desire for improvement.
Despite leading the team with 7 touchdown receptions, Moncrief had a fairly underwhelming season, recording just 30 receptions for 307 receiving yards otherwise–having missed 7 games because of injuries.
Nevertheless, he’s still only 23 years old, which is as young as some of the wide receivers in this year’s draft class–indicating there’s still room for potential growth.
While Jeffery would give the Colts the closest thing the franchise has had to a Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne pairing again, there are so many holes on the defensive side of the football that it’s fair to question whether this is the most prudent allocation of salary cap funds.
Jeffery would no doubt help bolster the Colts offense, starting on the other side of Hilton while relegating Moncrief to a 3rd-wideout role.
It also means that Ballard has given up on 2015 first round wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who has so far been a disappointment.
As it stands, the Colts offense ranked 11th last season in average total points per game at 24.5 ppg, meaning the offense isn’t really the problem—although it could still admittedly withstand to improve.
If there is an issue on offense that desperately needs fixing though, it’s along the starting right side of the offensive line, where the Colts could clearly use a veteran to shore up their pass protection.
Perhaps this is a case where the Colts have ample cap space and simply want to use it on a star player to help improve the team with Jeffery being the only realistic remaining option.
That being said, Ballard emphasized ‘getting stronger in the trenches’ and adding another skill position player like Jeffery doesn’t accomplish that–even if it does make the Colts better on offense.
Update (2:17 PM EST): According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Jeffery is leaning toward choosing the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency: