The Indianapolis Colts have no shortage of intriguing storylines regarding their roster as we approach the start of training camp.
Will there be any surprise cuts along the defensive line? The group is stacked right now and will need to be trimmed in some fashion before the start of next season. Who will start at left tackle while Eric Fisher works his way back from Achilles surgery?
We could go on, but you get the point. For the sake time of time, let’s keep this conversation focused on the running back position, as we can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen with Jordan Wilkins between now and the start (or end) of training camp.
It’s worth noting that GM Chris Ballard said earlier this offseason that he could envision a four-man backfield of Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, Marlon Mack and Wilkins. However, that’s incredibly unrealistic and Ballard was likely giving the media what it wanted to hear.
So, is this the end of the road for Wilkins in Indianapolis?
What should the Colts do with Jordan Wilkins?
This is tough, but it feels like the Colts should try trading Wilkins first and foremost. The 2018 fifth-round pick is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and Indy doesn’t seem to have any plans to re-sign him, especially with extensions looming for so many players.
In terms of the extension pecking order, the likes of Quenton Nelson, Darius Leonard, Braden Smith, Hines, Tyquan Lewis, George Odum, Mark Glowinski, Zach Pascal, Fisher (if he performs well upon returning from injury), and even Mo Alie-Cox would be ahead of Wilkins in that regard.
With that in mind, the Colts should try to cash in on him while they still can. Following the re-signing of Mack, there just doesn’t figure to be much of a role for Wilkins. Taylor is clearly locked into the starting role and Hines deserves a prominent supporting one after his career year in 2020.
Though Mack is coming off a devastating Achilles injury, as long as he makes a full recovery, his track record suggests he deserves to a chance to prove himself again. For context, he totaled 1,999 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns (!) on 4.5 YPC between 2018 and 2019.
Taking those numbers into account, Mack should, at the very least, be deployed as a goal line specialist, and that would make keeping Wilkins even more pointless.
Whatever the case, trading Wilkins just seems like the best option, if the Colts can find a willing trade partner, that is. Whether the 26-year-old is used to sweeten the pot in a potential deal for Zach Ertz or merely used to acquire a late-round draft pick, Indy has options.
If trading Wilkins falls through, cutting him after camp would be the next oder of business. After all, the Colts are reportedly bullish on undrafted free agent Deon Jackson, who was given a hefty $45,000 signing bonus as a priority free agent last month.