The Indianapolis Colts’ approach to free agency — which has emphasized re-signing key free agents while being reluctant to overpay for a potential newcomer — has largely been what fans anticipated since the start of the offseason.
Though fans undoubtedly would have preferred to see more urgency, it’s still impressive that Indy has been able to retain some of their most important players from last season, including wide receiver TY Hilton, cornerbacks Xavier Rhdoes and TJ Carrie, as well as running back Marlon Mack.
Promoting roster continuity has been a staple for the Colts since Chris Ballard took over the general manager reins four years ago, and it continued with big news on Monday morning to kick off the new week on a positive note.
The Colts announced that both wideout Zach Pascal and safety George Odum signed their respective free agent tenders, locking them up in Indianapolis for another year.
The Indianapolis Colts just got huge news on the restricted free agent front.
This news might not look like much on paper, but Pascal and Odum were absolutely immense to the Colts’ success last season. This overlooked duo doesn’t garner the praise of some of the team’s biggest stars, but everybody in the locker room is fully aware of their worth.
Pascal, for starters, finished third on the team in both targets (71) and receptions (44), second in receiving yards (629) tied for first in touchdown catches (five) and first in yards per catch (14.3) among players who caught at least 25 passes last season.
In a receiving corps that struggled with injuries and consistency last campaign, Pascal was arguably the only dependable option week in and week out.
The former undrafted talent has improved in each of his first three seasons in the league and should be expected to take another step in his development with a more dynamic quarterback in Carson Wentz under center who can better accentuate his skillet.
Odum, meanwhile, was named a first-team All-Pro special teamer last season after leading the NFL with 13 special teams tackles. Another former undrafted gem, Odum hasn’t missed a game over his first three seasons, totaling a whopping 965 special teams snaps during that span.
There was actually some concern that Odum would be leaving Indianapolis this offseason, so keeping him should be considered a huge win. After all, he took to social media to say he felt “disappointed and disrespected” after being tendered at the right of first refusal.
It remains to be seen if the 27-year-old is still bothered by that, but him signing the tender suggests his frustration has simmered a bit. Whatever the case, you have to think he’ll be playing with a chip on his shoulder in 2021 before he hits unrestricted free agency next offseason.
Again, these signings won’t receive the publicity of the Hilton and Rhodes deals, but they are right up there as far as significance is concerned.
Don’t look now, but the Colts, for all the tension they’ve evoked in their fan base, are quietly putting together a very nice offseason.