Stephon Gilmore (Traded to DAL)
When the Colts traded away their top cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Dallas Cowboys for a fifth-round pick, they gave up a veteran who still possessed high-end coverage skills and an elite football IQ. In his lone year in Indianapolis in 2022, Gilmore got an 81.1 coverage grade from PFF which stood seventh-best among all corners.
The Cowboys will be very satisfied with their end of the transaction as Gilmore has continued his excellent play since arriving in Dallas. He has 10 passes defended and two interceptions so far this year while holding opposing passers to a 52.2% completion rate when targeting him. Together with DaRon Bland (who stepped into a starting role after Trevon Diggs’ season-ending injury), Gilmore is one half of one of the best cornerback tandems in football and has helped Dallas field the second-best defense against the pass in 2023.
The Colts gambled on youth when they sent Gilmore to the Cowboys but the deal may have worked out for both parties. Dallas is in win-now mode and got an experienced defensive back who immediately improved the team, while Indianapolis can afford to be patient and allow younger players like JuJu Brents and Jaylon Jones to show off their potential.
Rodney McLeod (Signed with CLE)
In his one and only season with the Colts in 2022, safety Rodney McLeod was rock-solid. He was a reliable starter and served as a veteran leader in an otherwise inexperienced safety group. McLeod also had one of his best seasons ever, recording eight passes defended and two interceptions.
Now in his 12th year in the league, McLeod's value was recognized by the Cleveland Browns who signed him to add depth, versatility, and veteran savvy behind their starting safeties. McLeod hasn't been great this season statistically speaking but, as expected, his off-the-field impact has been vital. In an up-and-down year that has included two devastating season-ending injuries to star players, McLeod has been a stabilizing voice in the Browns' locker room.
Regardless of his play, he is still a big reason why Cleveland is 7-4 despite all the adversity they’ve been through. Unfortunately, McLeod’s own season came to an end after suffering a biceps injury in Cleveland’s Week 11 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Brandon Facyson (Signed with LV)
Cornerback Brandon Facyson played an underrated role for the Colts in 2022, rotating with Isaiah Rodgers Sr. on the opposite side of Gilmore. The Las Vegas Raiders hoped Facyson could be another body to help out a secondary that had a lot of holes. However, he has yet to appear in a game this season after suffering a shin injury in August and his timetable to return is unknown.