When it comes to who’s doing the best restocking their team, the Indianapolis Colts getting an A-plus with their moves.
It’s obviously extremely subjective when it comes to which franchise is having the best offseason among 32 NFL teams. It is certainly not based on the number of additions. And keep in mind that the league is just in its 10th day of the new fiscal year and there’s still a draft in just under four weeks.
Once again, the Indianapolis Colts are slowly but surely adding some key performers via trade and free agency. And reminiscent of last offseason, when it was quality over quantity. Of course, 2019 was somewhat derailed in mid-August when 2018 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Andrew Luck decided he wasn’t coming back at all.
This past season, Frank Reich’s team got off to a 5-2 start. Then there was a turning point in Pittsburgh when the team saw quarterback Jacoby Brissett suffer a knee injury and the team a 26-24 setback. Brian Hoyer would start a week later at home vs. the Dolphins and the club fell, 16-12. But Brissett was really never the same and Reich’s club tumbled to 7-9. Hence the decision to bring in veteran quarterback Philip Rivers on a one-year deal. He had his own issues with turnovers this past season but started every game for the Chargers since 2006 and has worked with Reich in the past. Up front, the team made sure a sturdy offensive line remained intact when it re-upped with left tackle Anthony Castonzo.
Of course, it wasn’t all on the offense. Matt Eberflus’ defensive unit fell off a bit, especially when it came to pass defense. The Colts finished 23rd in the league in aerial yards allowed and of the 37 offensive TDs allowed by the club, 29 came through the air. Indianapolis allowed 31 or more points in four of their last five contests.
So it’s general manager Chris Ballard to the rescue. The team gave up a first-round pick for 49ers’ interior presence DeForest Buckner, who can pressure the quarterback up the middle and be a perfect complement to edge rusher Justin Houston. They also added his San Francisco teammate in Sheldon Day to reinforce the middle. In the secondary, Pierre Desir was let go but in steps former Pro Bowler Xavier Rhodes. He was inked to a one-year contract and admittedly is not coming off his best of years for a Minnesota Vikings’ defense that was inconsistent at best in 2019. But the former first-round pick could also rebound in a big way and brings a little veteran savvy to some of those younger defensive backs on the roster.
So add the Indianapolis Colts to the list of teams that are having solid offseasons. And given the upheaval in the AFC South this month, the team may be the early frontrunner to win the AFC South for the first time since 2014.
Emphasis on the word “early.”