Colts: Could Kyle Rudolph be a smart low-cost addition for Indy?
The Indianapolis Colts are currently projected to have $50.34 million in cap space to throw around following the trade for Carson Wentz, which is still good for the fourth-most in the league.
As promising as that sounds on the surface, however, it might not end up being as much as some fans think when they realize everything GM Chris Ballard has on his plate this offseason — like signing players on expiring contracts to extensions and adding other big names in free agency.
Given that both Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson are entering the final year of their rookie deals and will end up commanding top dollar, that’s something that could seriously eat into the Colts’ cap room, so it would behoove Ballard to start brainstorming moves that could save money.
Fortunately for Ballard (and the Colts), the Vikings released veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph this week, which begs the question of whether he could be a smart, cost-effective addition for Indy in free agency.
Should the Colts target Kyle Rudolph following his release from the Vikings?
If it were our decision, we would absolutely entertain the idea of signing Rudolph. For starters, current starter Jack Doyle is on the books for $4.35 million next season, but comes with just $1.5 million in dead cap, meaning that the Colts could release him and use their $2.8 million in salvaged cap space to sign Rudolph.
What’s equally important is the fact that Rudolph is the better all-round player. Not only does the former second-round pick have some of the softest hands of any tight end in the league, but he’s a proven (and willing) blocker, which the Colts need to maintain their potent rushing attack.
If you take a look at Rudolph and Doyle’s respective injury history, Rudolph is significantly more durable, having appeared in 140 of a possible 160 games throughout his career. Believe it or not, the 31-year-old has actually missed just four games (!) over the last six seasons.
Doyle, meanwhile, missed 10 games due to injury as recently as 2018 and his production as a pass catcher has really fallen off over the last three seasons. During that span, the eight-year pro has averaged a measly 34 receptions for 314.6 yards and three touchdowns per year.
The Colts’ cap situation might look handsome right now, but a large chunk of it could dissipate quick than many might realize. With that in mind, targeting a few low-cost options to address positions of need (or ones that require some upgrades) could fit right into Ballard’s wheelhouse.
Rudolph fits that bill, but the Colts better act quick because the buzz following his surprise release suggests that he will have multiple teams vying for his services.