Colts losing out on another extremely cost-effective free agent spurs more confusion
For any Indianapolis Colts fans who are growing impatient with the team’s ultra conservative approach to free agency, we’re right there alongside you.
We totally understand GM Chris Ballard’s philosophy of waiting for the initial waves of signings to pass before he makes a splash, but passing on stars like Trent Williams and Will Fuller (among others) who would fill positions of need in the name of preserving cap space makes zero sense.
What makes the Colts’ lack of urgency so infuriating is that teams around the league are landing marquee players at shocking discounts.
You would think this sort of team-friendly market would fit right into their penny-pinching wheelhouse, but that maddeningly hasn’t been the case.
Unfortunately for fans in Indy, this narrative continued on Friday.
Free agent tight end Dan Arnold inked a two-year deal worth up to a reported $6 million with the Carolina Panthers.
The Colts have let another cost-effective free agent fall by the wayside.
The Colts don’t necessarily have a pressing need at tight end, but it remains to be seen if the coaching staff trusts Mo Alie-Cox to take over an every-down role. After a promising start to the year filling in for injured duo Jack Doyle and Trey Burton, the three-year pro took a back seat and ended up playing just 46% of the offensive snaps.
It’s worth noting that Doyle is still under contract for the next two seasons, but his production and durability have been incredibly suspect over the last three campaigns following his Pro Bowl nod in 2017, when he registered 80 catches for 690 yards and four touchdowns. And he could’ve been cut loose in the name of saving even more cap space.
We all know how much the Colts champion dual-threat tight ends in terms of catching and blocking at a dominant level, and Arnold fills that bill. The 26-year-old is deceivingly one of the fastest TEs in the league, has reliable hands (one drop last year), and an excellent catch radius.
The Colts have to think about moving on from Doyle at some point — they can save 4.2 million against the cap by cutting him this offseason — and Arnold quite literally would’ve been the perfect complement to Alie-Cox in two tight end sets.
To think Indy could’ve had Arnold for just $3 million annually over two years really makes you wonder what their plan is in free agency.
We wish we had better news for Colts fans, who really deserve better than this, but it would be thoughtless on our part to suggest that Ballard and Co. are going to change their ways and swing for the fences anytime soon. After all, they continue to lose out on cost-effective options seemingly without batting an eyelash.