Colts will have a lot of important contract extension decisions to make this offseason
The Indianapolis Colts have a lot of young players entering the final year of their contracts, so it’s time to negotiate contract extensions.
This will be a busy offseason for the Indianapolis Colts. In fact, the busyness has already started as the Colts have completed several head coaching interviews. As Indy works on completing a coaching search, the team must also balance evaluating prospects to see who Indianapolis will be selecting with its top-four pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. To make things even more overwhelming for the front office, the Colts have several talented players entering the final season of their contract, which means it’s time to start talking extensions.
One of the biggest priorities will be extending the 2020 Draft class. After the regular season ended, all of the players drafted in 2020 became eligible for contract extensions. Indy’s 2020 Draft class was headlined by Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor but the class also has Julian Blackmon and Isaiah Rodgers, four players that the Colts will likely want to keep around long-term as the team tries to get back to contending status.
Considering Taylor’s status as a top running back in the league, it will definitely cost a lot to keep him around long-term. Then there’s Michael Pittman Jr., who could potentially have a difficult negotiation because of his status as a receiver. Pittman is no doubt Indy’s No. 1 but is he a No. 1 in this league, and more importantly, will he want to be paid like one? Recent free agency periods in the NFL have shown that receivers can command a lot of money if they hit the market so will Pittman want to test that out?
2023 could be an offseason of contract extensions for the Colts
Aside from the 2020 Draft class, Indianapolis has several other veterans entering the final season of their contracts. Grover Stewart, Kenny Moore, and Stephon Gilmore are the biggest names. All three are playing at a quality level and have had huge impacts in games for the Colts over the last two seasons.
Moore’s contract situation is the one that may be getting the most immediate attention this offseason. He already tried to negotiate a new deal last year but the team shut his attempts down. Now, with one season remaining, Moore’s future with the Colts is in doubt. Will Indy pay Moore what he’s asking for or will he be traded to another team this offseason?
Then there’s Grover Stewart. After the season he just had, what team in the NFL wouldn’t want to sign Big Grove? Stewart will be 31 next offseason and if he can have another dominant year next season, he will set himself up for a very nice contract, either with the Colts or some other team in the league. Hopefully, it’s Indianapolis, because Stewart was Indy’s best player this season.
Stephon Gilmore will be 34 next offseason but he’s still playing at an elite level. This past season, Gilmore won multiple games for the Colts. Luckily, the team has him under contract for another year. If he’s still producing and wants to keep playing after next season, his future in Indy will largely depend on how the team performs next year, not whether they can pay him or not. Gilmore came to the Colts because he thought they would be contenders. That wasn’t the case in 2022, and if it’s not the case in 2023, Gilmore will likely be gone after next season.
Many people questioned if Chris Ballard would still be Indy’s general manager heading into this offseason and he is. However, he has his work cut out for him this offseason. Depending on the decisions he makes, the Colts could be set up for success for years to come.