The offseason moves are pretty much done around the NFL. While there are still a few players waiting to be signed, the Colts should be done. What grade do they get for their work?
2020 is an extremely important season for the Indianapolis Colts. It’s one of the last seasons that they have cheap contracts on the books, which means it’s an easier window for them to win. After this season, extensions will need to be doled out to T.Y. Hilton, Darius Leonard, Quenton Nelson, and others.
While Leonard and Nelson won’t start getting paid on those extensions until 2022, that doesn’t give the team a lot of time to try and win before those large contracts kick in. That means they had to have a stellar offseason to improve on a roster that failed to make the playoffs in 2019.
Improve on that roster they did. They started things off by trading their 2020 first-round pick for DeForest Buckner and signing him to a big five-year extension. Then they went out and signed Xavier Rhodes, T.J. Carrie, Sheldon Day, Trey Burton, and Roosevelt Nix.
Most of those signings were good because they fit positions of need. After the surprising release of Pierre Desir, they needed to fill a void at corner. Signing Rhodes and Carrie fill that void. Adding a second tight end in Burton was also a priority after letting Eric Ebron walk.
The draft fixed other holes they had left. Drafting big receivers in Michael Pittman Jr. and Dezmon Patton fixed the biggest remaining hole on the roster. They needed a big-bodied receiver to play opposite of T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell. Pittman gives them that target.
They also possibly drafted the quarterback of the future in Jacob Eason, snagging him in the fourth round. That is excellent value for someone who had late first-round talent. Eason will need time to develop, but he will have time to do that.
Eason has that time because of the biggest move in the offseason. That move was signing Philip Rivers to a one-year deal. Rivers is an aging quarterback, but the Colts are betting on him having fuel left in the tank for a big run. This team will ultimately go as far as he takes them.
Colts offseason grade: A-
I’ve been on the record as saying that Rivers wasn’t the best choice of free-agent quarterbacks. Tom Brady or even Teddy Bridgewater may have a higher ceiling. There was also the questionable move of the team turning down Malik Hooker‘s fifth-year option.
It’s questionable because free safety is not a cheap position, and the Colts were in a position to have a relatively good player at a reasonable price for another year. But they decided to make him prove his worth this season instead.
Those are really the only two squabbles I have about the offseason. The Colts addressed major needs in big ways and weren’t afraid to spend money to do it. Improving at wide receiver and defensive line were the two biggest holes, and they filled them well.
We will see if the coaching staff can put all the pieces together to form a title-winning team. That’s the ceiling for this group, but the expectation is at least a playoff appearance.