Julian Blackmon ranked as second-best remaining safety in free agency

Where will Blackmon be playing next season?

Nov 12, 2023; Frankfurt, Germany;  Indianapolis Colts safety Julian Blackmon (32) reacts after a
Nov 12, 2023; Frankfurt, Germany; Indianapolis Colts safety Julian Blackmon (32) reacts after a / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

While some NFL free agents have already signed with new teams this offseason, others haven't. Safety Julian Blackmon falls into the latter category, but not because of a lack of skill.

On a recent ranking of the best remaining free agents from ESPN, Blackmon came in at No. 5 overall -- as the second-highest rated safety, behind only Justin Simmons. Blackmon, 25, spent the first four seasons of his career with the Colts.

From ESPN:

"A multilevel defender, Blackmon had a career-high four interceptions and 88 tackles in Indianapolis last season. He has the range and ball skills to play over the top, and he could help a secondary in split-safety and single-high schemes."

Blackmon is an impactful defender in the secondary, and he'll be a positive addition for whatever teams he ultimately signs with.

Why not keep Blackmon in Indianapolis?

Blackmon plays in the secondary, and that happens to be an area where the Colts still need some help, so it would certainly make sense if Indianapolis decided to bring him back. After all, the team has already re-signed several marquee free agents this offseason, including Michael Pittman Jr., Kenny Moore II, and Grover Stewart. Could Blackmon be next?

The good news for Colts fans hoping that Blackmon stays in Indianapolis is that the team has reportedly recently re-engaged with him in contract discussions.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard recently rationalized the team's offseason strategy of retaining their own guys, as opposed to bringing in external free agents.

“I think sometimes (what) gets lost is when you lose a player, it creates a void," Ballard said. "So, you lose a Grover Stewart, you lose a Kenny Moore or you lose a Pittman, now you’ve got a real void.

“I think any time you can keep continuity in your own players is a good thing . . . because you know what you’re getting in the player," he added. "It’s always easy to look outside and think automatically that no doubt this guy’s going to be an upgrade. But there’s usually a reason they hit free agency.’’

It will be interesting to see if Ballard ultimately applies this same logic to Blackmon.