INDIANAPOLIS — In 2015, in just his second year in the league, Donte Moncrief really began to blossom, as evidenced by his 64 receptions, 733 yards and six touchdowns.
The Indianapolis Colts, many believed, were going to feature one of the best 1-2 punches at wide receiver in the NFL, as the team's top target — the slick, speedy T.Y. Hilton — was already a perennial Pro Bowler, while Moncrief provided the size at 6-foot-2 to make big plays all over the field.
But Moncrief would fall victim to the injury bug the next two seasons, and after appearing in all 16 games his first two years in the league, he'd appear in just nine and 12 games, respectively, in 2016 and 2017. He battled through those issues to catch an impressive seven touchdowns in 2016, but his most recent season included career lows in receptions (26) and touchdowns (two).
And now, after such a promising start to his career, Moncrief enters the offseason a free-agent-to-be for the first time when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. March 14.
The Colts could very well try to work out a deal with Moncrief before free agency even begins, of course. While he's displayed enormous potential on the field, Moncrief has been an absolute star off of it, as he's spent many of his off days the past four years out in the local community.
But if the team decides to let Moncrief test free agency, there's no doubt he'll attract some suitors.
The Colts could be one of many teams looking to bolster their wide receiver corps this offseason, either through the draft or free agency. While Hilton remains at the top of the depth chart in Indy, the team has just one major contributor, Chester Rogers, set to return for sure in 2018, as both Moncrief and Kamar Aiken are set to become free agents, while Quan Bray was waived from Injured Reserve on Dec. 26.
The team also has signed six young wide receivers — Dres Anderson, Seantavius Jones, Justice Liggins, Kolby Listenbee, DeAndre Smelter and James Wright — to Reserve/Future deals to give them a shot on the offseason roster.
2018 Colts Free Agent Watch:* *
- Wide receiver Kamar Aiken
- Inside linebacker Jon Bostic
- Safety Darius Butler
- Cornerback Pierre Desir
- Running back Frank Gore
- Cornerback Rashaan Melvin
- Guard Jack Mewhort
- Running back Christine Michael
- Outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo
- Wide receiver Donte Moncrief
- Center Mike Person
- Quarterback Scott Tolzien
- Kicker Adam Vinatieri
- Tight end Brandon Williams
10 Moncrief, Donte WR 6-2 216lbs 24yrs 4yrs Mississippi