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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: Should The Offensive Line Be Addressed In Free Agency Or The Draft?

Posted Jan 30, 2016

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about the outlook for Jerrell Freeman, possible free agents and how the offseason works.


INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of Colts.com can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Wednesday or Saturday mailbag.

Submit your question here.

With the abundance of questions in recent weeks, we will have two mailbags each week. This one comes via a weekend edition (here’s the Wednesday version from this week).

Here is this weekend’s collection:

Skyler C. (Indianapolis)


Hello Kevin , this ones been on my mind but is there any news on Freeman's contract and future with the Colts? He's a good solid player since he came from the CFL and would love to see him return with Jackson as the most underrated linebacker duo in the NFL.*my opinion*

Bowen: Like is typically the case this time of year with unrestricted free agents, we haven’t heard any news on Jerrell Freeman and a potential new contract with the Colts. Freeman was our first “free agent watch” this offseason because he’s clearly the most productive starter that could potentially hit the open market. Like I wrote in the watch, my three main questions regarding Freeman’s free agency are as followed: Do the Colts still believe they can have a linebacker duo of D’Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman, with both players in their 30s (Jim Irsay has mentioned a need to getting younger on defense)? Do the Colts think backup linebackers Nate Irving and Sio Moore are fully healed and can play starting roles, thus making Freeman expendable? Is Freeman going to seek out the most profitable free agent-contract, a move one could hardly blame him for, as he gets his first real look at free agency?


Dan A. (Muncie, IN)

A lot of analyst are predicting right tackle as being the biggest need for the Colts O-Line. I personally disagree but then again, who am I? My opinion is that the center and right guard positions are the most critical. I would be OK if Reitz and Good were it that position again next year. So I would propose that the Cleveland Browns are sitting on two center (Alex Mack & Cameron Erving). What do you think would be the likelihood that the Colts would make a trade offer for one of those two guys? They may even be able to make it a package deal and get Barkevious Mingo or another need.

Bowen: Dan, I agree with you in the right tackle craze that we are seeing for the Colts. Could the Colts use some more help on the offensive line? Of course. But, like you, I think the Colts can more than get by with either Joe Reitz or Denzelle Good at right tackle. I personally think there are other areas that could use immediate addressing, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. I understand why so many mock drafts have right tackle pegged for the Colts, but I’m more of a “grab impact defenders in Round One” sort of guy, then find some interior offensive linemen. Now, the orchestration of such a trade might be a tad difficult. The Colts have made deals in the offseason before but nothing really (besides Vontae Davis) to the extent of acquiring a Mack or Erving.


Matthew W. (Plant City, FL)

Hi Mr. Bowen just wondering whats ur take on who u think colts will go after in free agency??? Any chance on von miller, eric berry, jpp or ngata??? I think they would be a great fit for the colts defense this comin season or any chance of atleast 2 considering cap salary and age? I think worst case scenario they should get von miller and ngata if and when they hit the open market. Whats ur take on this if u don't mind me askin

Bowen: Our first real “free agency wish list” question has entered the mailbag. I’m sure the Colts would love to have the names you mentioned above but that’s just not realistic. Based off what the Colts do in re-signing their own free agents, plus a possible second contract for Andrew Luck, that’s going to factor into what the Colts can do in free agency. There should be room for a couple of moves, but likely not the magnitude to what we saw last season with the team acquiring 6-7 starters. Positions of need that I think could be addressed during free agency would be an interior offensive lineman and a cornerback with Greg Toler an unrestricted free agent and Darius Butler turning 30 years old in March.


Daniel N. (Montross, VA)

Are the Colts going to put Duron Carter on the roster in this years offseason? With all of that talent that he has, it's a shame that he's not out on the field. He's Chris Carters son an hall of gamer and you know he's got plenty of political. I just hate to see someone that has a lot of talent go to waste, when he could help on offense. As a huge Colts fan I hope I see him on the field very soon.

Bowen: Daniel, I’m not sure if you saw but Duron Carter is heading back to the Canadian Football League. Earlier this week, Carter signed with the Montreal Alouettes, his former team north of the border. I’m a little surprised Carter didn’t jump on with another NFL team. I thought, with rosters growing to 90 players in the offseason, another team would have given Carter a look during the offseason. Another (later) crack at the NFL might come for Carter (like Jerrell Freeman), but his professional career in the United States has once again come to a halt.


Dante R. (Philadelphia)

As a huge Colts fan I am excited for our off-season. So I have a few questions.

1. These assistant coaches are looking good and I am liking the moves. How will these new coaches work with our players since we are used to the old coaches? Are we looking at another regroup season?

2. The draft!!! I know we need an O-Line, what about our defense. Its kind of weak. I like Anthony Zettel and Karl Joseph even with that knee injury he had. Also, a young RB like Elliott or Henry is right around our draft pick. We can't let play makers slip. What do you think?

Bowen: We’ve answered enough Elliott and Henry questions in past mailbags (click at the link at the top of the mailbag for those answers), so let’s focus on your first question. I don’t think anyone would classify the outlook for 2016 as being a “regroup” season. There is definitely going to be some more learning during the offseason program and that’s what the months of April-June are all about. It’s not like the changes are going to be too drastic. The Colts offense got a brief introductory course into Rob Chudzinski’s system in the second half of last season. On defense, new coordinator Ted Monachino won’t be installing an entirely new scheme. Changes are going to occur on both sides of the ball, but I don’t believe they will be so taxing that it’s going to take multiple years to get acclimated.


Myra D. (Indianapolis)

I know you've covered this in the past, but, could you please go over the rules about players and coaches mixing in the off-season? I believe Philbin spoke to some of the players to break the ice, can players have multiple talks or receive new playbooks before voluntary OTAs? I believe they can use the facilities for off-season rehab, can they use it for regular off-season workouts including working with Colts strength and conditioning staff? Thanks

Bowen: Myra, great question. The NFLPA website explains in detail everything that a team can do during the offseason. I suggest clicking on that link. Right now, players and coaches cannot have contact in a coaching manner or working directly with one another in a workout/drill setting. Those types of activities will begin in April during the team’s nine-week offseason program. So yes, Joe Philbin can meet with his players and introduce himself, but he can’t bring 10 linemen into his room for an intricate film session and then take that onto the practice field.


Paul M. (Middletown, NY)

Hi Kevin I have a football question.I think that when a team on defense gets called a penalty on a TD or a PA kick or 2pt conversion it is assessed on the KO which usually leads to a Touch back and the ball on the 20 vd line,not much of a penalty.It might be more of a penalty if it was assessed after the KO was downed, then moved back 5,10,or 15yds . What are your thoughts.

Thank you a old and loyal fan

Bowen: Paul, you make a great point. Sometimes when the ball is placed on the 40 or 50 for a kickoff after a penalty, you see teams try to hang the kickoff to pin the opposing team. The extra hang time on the short kick allows for the kickoff team to get down there quicker and make a play before the 20-yard line. But you’re right, more often than not, the penalty assessed on a kickoff rarely impacts the play.


Aiden S. (Indiana)

How should we handle our Offensive line issues: By nfl draft, or by Free Agency. Just wanted to hear your ideas. Go Colts!

Bowen: Aiden, I think both areas being great avenues to go down to add reinforcements to the offensive line. Finding a free agent with some starting experience would give the line a guy you know can play at this level. Then finding a young prospect in the early rounds of the draft would give the Colts a building block in the trenches. I see no reason why both routes can’t be explored to improve a position that wouldn’t hurt from multiple new bodies.


Isak H. (Mexico City)

I heard the colts interviewed Braxton Miller? Does Grigson want yet another WR? I mean, we know how mock drafts work, he never gets any of the players we thought he'd grab, so in other OSU news, Taylor Decker and Ezekiel Elliott are not coming to the colts. Maybe take a chance on a D-player like Su'a Cravens?

Bowen: Let’s start with this, virtually every NFL team “interviews” every player at the Senior Bowl, and then another chunk at the NFL Combine. Trying to speculate on who meets with who will make your head spin. I recall in the past few years several players being drafted by the Colts having had none to minimal interaction with them during the draft process. USC safety Su’a Cravens is certainly an intriguing prospect. I don’t think safety is an immediate need but Mike Adams will be 35 years old this offseason.



Luis G. (Mooresville, IN)

When did the colts first draft Adam Venitarie? I need to now soon for school. Thanks

Bowen: Luis, the Colts did not draft Adam Vinatieri. The Colts signed Vinatieri as a free agent in the 2006 offseason after the Hall of Fame kicker had spent 10 seasons with the Patriots. Vinatieri actually went undrafted out of South Dakota State in 1996. Good luck with your school assignment.
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