Colts: Latest Xavier Rhodes update proves Indy may have a secondary problem
When it comes to the Indianapolis Colts’ offseason agenda, all eyes are focused on who they’ll ultimately acquire to be their starting quarterback. Despite that being their most pressing issue, however, the vacancy is far from the only urgent concern they have to address in the coming months.
The Colts secondary, which was easily the most inconsistent level of their defense this past season, comes to mind as something that should be getting more attention. After all, cornerback tandem Xavier Rhodes and TJ Carrie are both set to hit free agency and there’s no guarantee that either player (let alone both) will consider a reunion.
Speaking strictly in terms of Rhodes, his potential departure would leave Indianapolis without a clear cut No. 1 corner capable of neutralizing opposing top wideouts. And if the latest update on his impending free agency is indicative of anything, it’s that he won’t be returning.
Per the latest buzz, the Colts aren’t expected to offer Rhodes more than $9 million per year. Such a salary reportedly doesn’t align with the 30-year-old star’s demands and he will likely test the open market as a result.
The Colts might have a huge problem in their secondary next season.
This certainly doesn’t bode well for the Colts, who will end up with Rock Ya-Sin as their top cornerback if Rhodes rejects their proposal. While the 2019 second-round pick showed incredible promise as a rookie, he regressed significantly as a sophomore, logging a dreadful 48.2 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus, and was among the league leaders in penalties committed.
Rhodes, on the other hand, enjoyed a spectacular bounce back campaign after struggling mightily in his final years with the Vikings. The three-time Pro Bowler played 87% of the defensive snaps and recorded 42 tackles, 12 passes defended and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. While his 77.5 coverage grade was elite by every metric, he was especially dominant in the red zone, finishing as the third-highest graded CB in the league (80.9), per PFF.
If Rhodes does end up leaving this offseason, the Colts should seriously consider re-signing Carrie, who finished first on the team in passes defended (13) and interceptions (four), as well as fourth in total tackles (82), and another cornerback in free agency.
Given that Indianapolis boasts one of the league’s strongest front sevens, they simply cannot afford to deploy a flawed secondary.
Rhodes might not have garnered the plaudits of a Darius Leonard or DeForest Buckner this year, but his consistent dominance in coverage was really invaluable to the defense, and they’d be hard-pressed to find a like-for-like replacement on the open market.