Indianapolis Colts: 3 free agents Indy clearly should’ve signed this offseason
By Jerry Trotta
The Indianapolis Colts took care of business against the Jets on Thursday, but they have a lot of work to do before we can say they’ve saved their season.
After all, they sit at 4-5 and have showdowns with the Bills and Buccaneers looming in Weeks 11 and 12. If Frank Reich’s side doesn’t win at least one of those two matchups, it’s fair to say they won’t make the playoffs.
A lot has gone wrong for the Colts this campaign, but Chris Ballard’s dreadful offseason in regard to signing free agents looms incredibly large. The fifth-year GM loves a good bargain and champions finding diamonds in the rough as opposed to spending at a premium to upgrade positions of need.
That’s an admirable strategy and looks brilliant when it works. Unfortunately for the Colts, it hasn’t panned out and fans are surely wishing Ballard and the front office had splurged on these three 2021 free agents.
3 free agents the Indianapolis Colts should’ve signed in offseason
3. Charles Leno
Draft a left tackle or use some of your ample cap space to sign one of the plethora of available options in free agency? After the Carson Wentz trade, that was the burning question surrounding the franchise this past offseason.
After not partaking in the first, second and third waves of free agency, the Colts also passed on taking a left tackle in the draft. That conservative approach paved the way for the signing of Eric Fisher to a one-year, $9.4 million deal in May.
For as dominant as Fisher has been in the running game, he’s been a turnstile protecting Wentz’s blindside. Per Pro Football Focus, the 30-year-old has conceded four sacks, seven QB hits and 23 (!) pressures, which seems impossible. He’s also been penalized six times, which is the fourth-most at the tackle position.
The move looked questionable at the time — Fisher was coming off his second major injury in as many seasons — especially with someone like Charles Leno just waiting to be signed after he was released by the Bears.
Leno inked a one-year deal worth up to $5 million in Washington, and he’s proven to be a bargain for head coach Ron Rivera. Outside of allowing the sack that injured Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1, Leno has been flawless.
Few left tackles have been better than Leno in pass protection, and he’s a real candidate to be re-signed by Washington in the offseason. Instead of signing the former Bear, though, Ballard tried to outsmart everyone by signing Fisher.