Colts Face Several Needs With Free Agency Starting

Intro: After Day One of free agency, Chris Ballard held true to his word of being patient. What needs do the Colts have with free agency starting on Thursday?

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INDIANAPOLIS – That yellow caution flag Chris Ballard waved at least week's NFL Combine didn't magically turn to green when free agency started on Thursday afternoon.

Patience and prudence defined Day One of free agency for the Colts.

Early day rumors did not lead to any fireworks for the Colts when the clock struck 4:00 p.m., and the new league year officially began.

In the end, the Colts chose to re-sign only one of their 11 unrestricted free agents (Jack Doyle). They did not tender any of their three restricted free agents, so those guys are now on the open market.

The Dwayne Allen trade to the Patriots did become official on Thursday afternoon. That means more on the shoulders of Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox, while the Colts also added another key draft chip in 2017.

As the Colts begin to work their way into free agency, here's a look at the team's needs for the offseason.

  • Pass Rush Help:Currently on the roster, the Colts have just 3.0 sacks returning at the outside linebacker position. Robert Mathis is retired. Chris Carter, Trent Cole and Erik Walden were all free agents. None were re-signed. Just like it was in January, this need remains the highest on the list for the Colts. Reports are out there of the Colts in on some free agent outside linebackers as they look to add competition to a group needing improvement.
  • New Starting Safety:With Mike Adams hitting free agency, the Colts are in search for a new starting safety next to Clayton Geathers. Adams started at safety for the last three seasons. Along with Adams, corner/safety Darius Butler also was not re-signed. The Colts do have T.J. Green waiting, so perhaps the answer to Adams' vacant spot is last year's second-round pick.
  • Who's Behind Gore:In letting Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman hit the open market, the Colts are in search of some bodies behind Frank Gore. The Colts do have Josh Ferguson on the roster, but he played just 24 snaps over the final 12 weeks of the season. It's a very deep 2017 draft class at running back, so perhaps the Colts are looking to tap into that in finding a backup (or two) for the soon-to-be 34-year-old Gore.
  • Find Offensive Line Depth:Not top of mind, yet deserves watching, is what the offensive line depth will look like for the Colts in 2017. With Joe Reitz retiring and the Colts not tendering restricted free agent Jonotthan Harrison, they've lost two versatile pieces from past lines. Right now, the Colts have a top six on the line of Anthony Castonzo, Jack Mewhort, Ryan Kelly, Joe Haeg, Le'Raven Clark and Denzelle Good. Rounding out the reserves is up in the air. Reitz was a swing tackle with starting experience at four spots. Harrison was the team's former starting center, who was actually the starting left guard late last year when the line played its best. The Colts will need to go out and find some OL depth this spring.

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