The Indianapolis Colts’ final game before the NFL trade deadline will be hosting the up-and-down New Orleans Saints at Lucas Oil Stadium. Both teams have plenty to play for in this near midseason battle. With the Colts nearly out of the AFC South race, they will begin to position themselves for potential wildcard positioning. As for New Orleans, they are still in the thick of the NFC South division race.
Indianapolis still has a lot of questions on its roster and the decision will be between addressing them now, at the trade deadline, or later, in the 2024 offseason. Indy has plenty of key players on the final year of their contract, and also need to replace players who suffered injuries at major positions. Sitting at 3-4 entering Week 8, the outcome of Sunday’s game could decide if the Colts will be buyers or sellers.
How Colts will approach trade deadline if they lose to Saints
If the Colts lost, they would move to 3-5 on the season and will really need to start looking to the future. They would still have an outside shot at the playoffs, but they would really need to get things turned around, even with Gardner Minshew under center. The AFC South is one of the weakest divisions in the league but even the runner up would be in the playoff race to some extent.
At 3-5, they would have no reason to trade for rental players to prepare them for a playoff run. They may look to move some large salaries (Shaquille Leonard) or guys that they don’t see as part of the team in the future, and that other contending teams might see as that final piece to make a playoff run. Draft capital and some salary cap freedom would be an ideal return. Players that could be moved include Zack Moss, Julian Blackmon and Mo Alie-Cox.
How Colts will approach trade deadline if they win against Saints
If the Colts win, they would move to 4-4 on the season and be in the heart of the playoff race with an easy schedule heading into the second half of the season. Being in contention would allow them to take some risk with some other players on the roster that might already have an established role (Zack Moss) and hope they want to re-sign to the current role they are in and build on it.
This could lead to Indy taking a swing on a players like Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy or Bears CB Jaylon Johnson, both going for positions of need in depth or where we need to replace help because of injuries. With the suspension of Grover Stewart, it leaves us thin at defensive tackle, and don’t count out the Colts going for a big-name edge rusher as well, as Kwity Paye and Samson Ebukam seem to be the complimentary guys. Even with Paye showing improvement, we saw firsthand what an edge rusher like Myles Garrett can bring to any franchise on Sunday.
Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game, expect the Colts to be active in the 48-ish hour window before Tuesday’s Trade Deadline