3 impending Colts free agents Chris Ballard can’t afford to lose
The Colts have a lot of impending free agents but these three guys need to be taken care of.
It’s never fun to look ahead to the future when you’re team is 7-3 and battling for prime playoff positioning in Week 12 against a division rival, but the fact of the matter is that the Indianapolis Colts face a ton of offseason questions, and some need to be addressed sooner than later.
We also have an ample body of work to judge players on and determine if they’re a fit with the 2021 roster. In the case of the Colts, they have a ton of impending free agents in addition to having to (likely) fill a colossal gap at quarterback assuming Philip Rivers leaves and general manager Chris Ballard wants a signal caller of the future.
But the sexier positions can’t force the front office to overlook other areas of need. The Colts need to make sure they keep a number of their current players on the roster beyond the 2020 season and it won’t be easy. The good news? Indy will have a plethora of cap space and room to work with in terms of negotiating.
Here are three players Ballard needs to make sure are Colts for the foreseeable future.
3. Xavier Rhodes
The Colts’ secondary has been among the best in the league thanks to Xavier Rhodes.
Xavier Rhodes was supposed to be a sort of reclamation project for the Colts when he was signed to a one-year deal in the offseason. After being cut by the Minnesota Vikings thanks to one of the worst 2019 seasons you’ll ever see from a cornerback, Ballard got his hands on a promising talent who was perhaps just falling out of favor on a declining (and much more complicated) Vikes’ defense.
It’s been an entirely different story for Rhodes in 2020. His veteran experience, alongside TJ Carrie, has provided a sense of security in the secondary, which is also seeing productive campaigns from rookie Julian Blackmon, Rock Ya-Sin and Kenny Moore II. Additionally, Indy’s zone scheme has helped mask Rhodes’ deficiencies. After all, he’s not getting any younger.
But he still has tremendous athleticism and instincts. Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus has done a great job putting Rhodes and his strengths in the best position possible, and the 30-year-old has delivered. He’s got 22 tackles, 10 passes defended and two picks across 10 starts.
The Colts could also lose Carrie and Tremon Smith as well as safeties George Odum and Tavon Wilson. Carrie and Wilson will be unrestricted free agents while Smith and Odum will be restricted. But one could argue keeping Rhodes alongside Ya-Sin and Moore is the winning formula.