Chris Ballard is making one thing very clear to all Indianapolis Colts players this upcoming season: no one is safe and no one has a guarantee on any contract soon. The Jonathan Taylor contract situation and continued drama has made Ballard show his cards. While Indianapolis typically re-signs its own, this has become a new path that all Colts management will have to go down.
The new regime and coaching staff are the main reason for the change of direction and with the Colts only winning four games last season, it shows that no one is a lock for an extension this upcoming season. Let's make some predictions on the future of some of Indy’s top players.
Top tier pending Colts free agents
RB Jonathan Taylor
We have all seen it play out this offseason with the Colts and Jonathan Taylor. Unfortunately, with Taylor becoming the best player on the team, he is the first of many to be the example that the organization will be using going forward. While Taylor has shown his ability to be a bell cow back, the fact remains that he is coming off a nagging ankle injury and the Indy won four games last season. With the new market for running backs, Taylor will now be the test subject for not only Indianapolis but the entire league.
Prediction: Trade to either Miami or Green Bay at the deadline
WR Michael Pittman Jr.
Without question Michael Pittman Jr. deserves a second contract from the Colts, even though some doubters believing he is not WR1 material. In 46 games, Pittman has 227 receptions for 2,510 yards. While he only has 11 touchdowns in his career, he is a ball-catching machine and rarely has many drops. He has been the safety net to Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and Matt Ryan.
He will now be relied on to do those same things with rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson. If Pittman doesn’t get his money in Indianapolis, he won’t have an issue getting WR1 money with another team. If the Colts want to keep the cupboard stacked with pass catchers for Anthony Richardson, then Pittman should be priority No. 1.
Prediction: Long term contract either in season or before free agency- 4yr/$92 million
DT Grover Stewart
Half of the two-headed monster on the Colts defensive line is in a contract year this season. Rarely do you see many NFL players get a second long-term extension (third overall contract) with any franchise but it’s very possible with Grover Stewart. DeForest Buckner and Stewart have given the Colts stability in the defensive trenches since 2020 when Buckner was acquired via trade from San Francisco. Ballard’s number one priority has always been building in the trenches, and Stewart would continue to give them the needed strength in the area.
Prediction: New contract extension- 2y/$23 million
CB Kenny Moore II
We saw Kenny Moore II ask for an extension last offseason but was not granted one and has not made a verbal declaration this offseason as well. Again, we are seeing what appears to be the new wait-and-see philosophy with the new regime. Moore will be a unique situation as he has a specific position that he plays and plays it at a high level. He is one of the premier slot corners in the league and made his first Pro Bowl in 2019. While not drafted by Indianapolis, he was claimed off waivers by Ballard as a rookie and has stayed with the organization and has not only been a leader on the field but off the field with many philanthropic efforts.
Prediction: Will test free agency