Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: Was This Free Agency Plan Expected From The Colts?

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about the start of free agency for the Colts, bringing back Dwayne Allen and how the AFC South is approaching this time of year.

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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.

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).

Vonley P. (Raven, VA)

Are the Colts going to resign Coby Flenner and Ahmad Bradshaw?

Bowen: Coby Flener is heading to New Orleans and Ahmad Bradshaw remains a free agent. Considering Bradshaw has ended up the last three seasons on injured reserve, I can't envision any team taking a chance on him this soon in free agency.

Mikey L. (Peru, IN)

I think that the colts should trade up into the top 10 in the draft if Joey Bosa is there at number 7 and draft him. Then trade back into the first round and select Decker at like 26 if he's there. So you get two for one. And you get to Protect Andrew luck and you give someone in Bosa that you can pair with Mathis .go colts

Bowen: Mikey, I'm not sure if you are playing with Madden or what but such moves are going to cost you A TON. Moving up 11 picks into Round One is quite the jump to begin with. Then climbing all the way back into Round One would be significant, too. The Colts (and no team for that matter) don't have the resources to do that.

Josh K. (Nova Scotia, Canada)

Hello again, great job with the mailbag and thanks for answering our questions. My question this week is with the recent release of Louis Vasquez, would he be a decent fit for what we are looking for? I believe he plays guard but can play some tackle if needed. He had his struggles in Denver so maybe there's a chance to get him on the cheap?

Thanks again!

Bowen: I'm curious to see what the market looks like for Vasquez. He's not that old (28), but like you said struggled last season with the Broncos. The guy was an All-Pro in 2013 so his sudden drop off was a bit surprising. If he is willing to take a pay cut, I think you have to at least explore Vasquez's film and see if he's a fit into the Colts' scheme going forward.

Leonardo B. (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Hi, Kevin. Jaguars, Texans and Titans have landed some great names so far. Are they closing the gap to Colts? Do you think that AFC South can be one of the tougher divisions next year? Regards.

Bowen: I do think the AFC South will be vastly improved. We are starting to see the Jaguars and Titans both put together very nice offensive cores that they can once again supplant with top 10 picks in each round. Houston seems to have their quarterback and running back of the immediate future, to go along with a great defense. This is how the NFL is supposed to work. Teams struggle. They are "rewarded" with high draft picks. You hit on the quarterback (Marcus Mariota and Blake Bortles) and that allows you to spend in free agency with that premium position still on a rookie contract. Now, the Titans and Jags have to turn what's on paper into winning seasons.

Jason I. (San Luis Obispo, CA)

Hi Kevin,

I have really enjoyed reading your mailbag each week. I live in CA, but still a Colts fan all the way!

There has been a lot of talk lately from Grigson and Pagano about addressing O-line and Defense needs. It sounds like they are making that a top priority. While that makes me happy, we have heard that "song and dance" before the past few seasons. My question to you is what are the chances/odds of the Colts ACTUALLY acting on those priorities? We have seen the need for better O-line and Defense needs the past few seasons and it became even more glaring last season!

I know free agency has just started, and still early, but right now the moves made by our fellow AFC South teams are pretty big. I am worried that if the Colts don't address those priorities, the Colts dominance of the AFC South will fade...which started last season! I hope to see some moves made by Colts during free agency besides cutting players.

Bowen: James, I appreciate you reading along each week. We've never heard this direct of an approach from Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson in going over offseason needs. The two were very specific at the Combine in which areas had to be improved. You heard interior offensive line/pass rush on several occasions throughout their sit downs with the media. As far as the rest of the AFC South, we've been waiting for the Titans and Jags, specifically, to make a jump. Once you get the quarterback in place (and they have them on rookie deals), that allows for you to go out and spend like they've spent in free agency. No real surprise that those teams are making these sort of moves. Their cap space was/is much larger than the Colts.

Raymond (Minnesota)

Running backs. So many of the experts talks about not too many NFL coaches that are in need of a RB will do so in first round. I see it differently get what you need now like Manning had to work with a Great QB, WR and RB still work today. We drafted Marshall Faulk 2nd overall in 1994 and a few years later Edgerrin James once Faulk deermine by Bill P that Faulk had played out his contact and he started to make demands and holding out So Bill traded Marshall to rams for two picks 2 & 5 and we picked up James that season in the 1999 draft in the 1st round. Now the kid out of Ohio is the top rated RB, NFL Comparison Edgerrin James.. Hello this to me is a no brainer. Get the back of your choice and build the monster. What do you think. We can address the O line and D line in later picks, free agency, free agents and the draft but you not going to find a back like this in later rounds when we come a calling the Colts needs a real shot in the arm at this position.

Bowen: If Ezekiel Elliott ends up going as high as the recent reports indicate (potentially top 5-10), that's going to cost the Colts a substantial amount of draft capitol to move up that high. You make a nice point, DJ. Yes, teams that take running backs in the top 10 are typically rewarded. However, that position has also shown in recent years to warrant some pretty impactful talent in the latter rounds. Last year, we saw Arizona's David Johnson (third-round) and Seattle's Thomas Rawls (undrafted) have tremendous rookie campaigns. Running back talent can be found throughout the draft. I still think the Colts have more pressing needs early in the draft, allowing you to be more patient in selecting a running back.

Connor S. (Arizona)

Hi Kevin my question is about addressing our need at Cornerback. I know that we will most likely pick up someone in the Draft but what are the chances of signing former Colt Jerraud Powers since his time here in Arizona appears to be over? Thanks for reading

Bowen: I don't think the Colts would be in the running for a return from Powers. The Colts had Powers on their team in 2012, the first year of the new regime. They obviously felt after the one year that Powers' skill set wasn't as suited to the type of defense the new staff was looking to run. With the scheme (from a corners' standpoint) not changing too much with Ted Monachino, I don't think Powers would be a fit in Indianapolis.

John O. (Walton, IN)

I have read your mailbag questions since the season started. My question is a rather simple. I would like to know a little about the futures program. Do they work out, are they evaluated is there contact with the coaching staff? I never see any questions about this and I'm just curious. Thank you for your time. A long time Colts fan, from the late 50's.

Bowen: John, I believe you are referring to the practice squad. If not, please correct me. The 10-man practice squad is pretty much just how it sounds. They participate in practice and really do everything with the team (preparation/meetings wise) until game day. Some teams elect to travel a few practice squad players to away games. Teams can sign players off another team's practice squad, but if they do so that player has to be on the active roster for the next three weeks (keeps teams from just signing practice squad players for intel on a future opponent).

Alex H. (Stockton, CA)

Hi Kevin. Big fan. I'm a believer in the idea of a team going after one offensive and one defensive player each free agency. As long as you're helping a position at need. The colts need offensive line and pass rushers. You already know this. Personally with Luck getting hurt last season I would put that just one spot higher then pass rushers. So do you think the colts could make a run at Courtney Upshaw OLB from BAL and Brandon Brooks OG from HOU. It's reaching a bit. We got back Allen and Vinatieri. Restructured Cole.

If the colts were to do that they could address with the first pick a young defensive player, and an offensive player in the second round. Who do you think the colts would go for? 1st pick Leonard Floyd 2nd pick Nick Martin.

Just saying. The division seems to be getting more difficult. Titans just traded for Murray. Jags are going to be big spenders. Hopefully Texans stop making the same mistake every year. Any way that was piece.

Go colts

Bowen: If the Colts go with a defensive selection in Round One, you would have to think the team looks long and hard at interior offensive line Round Two. I wouldn't be opposed to another defensive selection in Round Two, but that spot in the draft is when we usually see interior linemen come off the board more frequently. You mentioned Martin, I'd throw in Alabama's Ryan Kelly and Stanford's Joshua Garnett has two other options in the offensive trenches.

Dustin P. (Virginia)

Hey Kevin

I'm back again!! I read the mailbox every week! I have a few more questions!

  1. The colts recently planned for Free agent te Scott Chandler to come in for a visit. And with free agency starting tomorrow, I was wondering if you would know something on that situation. With Allen and Doyle locked up, I personally think Chandler, and Allen could be a good te duo! And let's not forget that Doyle is there to do all of the dirty work!
  1. Last week I asked about the trading down for Ryan Kelly in round one. I thought of something else that would be nice to happen I think. What if we cut Dquell Jackson to save about 5 million in cap and go sign Center Stephen Winikwski and pick up Lb Reggie Ragland in the first round? From what I seen Ragland is a great run stopper, can cover, and has some pass rush abilities. While giving up Freeman and Jackson would get rid of our two lbs I think Signing one in fa and drafting Ragland could be just as good or not better!
  1. With Werner and Newsome gone we lost some olb Depth. We need pass rush depth now that we only have walden Mathis and Cole. Let's not talk about their age right now.Is there a high possibility that we go after Courtney Upshaw and say an odd ball like Aldon Smith he was a beast when he wasn't getting in trouble! I read a few days ago that smith can play now and is ready to play and not do anything to jeopardize his career any more. Could we sign Upshaw and Smith to Bolster a weak olb depth and maybe draft a late round olb?

Thank you for the time

Go Colts!!!!

Bowen: Dustin, not holding back this week. There were reports this week of Scott Chandler visiting the Colts. I could certainly see another tight end coming in here. Depending how much Rob Chudzinski is planning to use the tight ends going forward, the Colts have plenty of reps leaving with Coby Fleener. I can't see Jackson being cut. I thought he played well last year and the Colts can't afford too much turnover at the inside linebacker spot. As far as pass rushers in free agency, the Colts haven't made a move. With the age of the current edge guys on the roster, I look more towards the draft to address that need. Aldon Smith's baggage speaks for itself and Upshaw isn't a real natural pass rusher.

Luke R. (Rochester, NY)

Approaching the free agency this year, already big names like Bruce Irvin, Demarco Murray, JPP, Kiko Alonso, and Doug Martin among others have either switched teams or stayed with one. Other than resigning Vinatieri, Dwayne Allen, and Trent Cole, Indy hasn't done much in the offseason in terms of team assembling. As you know, you have to be quick in terms of player signing in the free agency, and it doesn't look like the Colts are moving yet. With the current free agents, who do you think the Colts will try to grab first?

Bowen: How the start of free agency played out for the Colts is really exactly how Ryan Grigson laid it out at the Combine. The Colts just didn't have the sort of cap space that other teams did. Grigson talked about being "patient" and the Colts did exactly that.

Chris G. (Cincinnati)

Do you think the Colts will pick E Elliott (RB) or Henry (RB - if he fits their scheme) in the 1st round then pick C, OG, OG (in 3rd/4th/5th) round?

Bowen: Chris, I don't envision either of these hypotheticals playing out. I've written many times in past mailbags about the Colts drafting a running back. I believe there is far more pressing needs to try and take care of in Round One. I'm a "wait guy" on the running back position. A three-pick run on interior offensive linemen would be a bit surprising to me, too. Although I could easily see multiple offensive linemen taken come draft time.

Manny V. (Fresno, CA)

Hi Kevin, with limited cap space this offseason do you see the Colts making offers to any big name free agents or simply signing players intended for backup/reserve roles? Also, I've been reading the mailboxes recently and an issue that's brought up a lot is the secondary. Would it be safe to go after Prince Amukamara in free agency? He's a big guy at 6 foot and 200 lbs. and he's shown in his career with the Giants that he can play.

Bowen: We really haven't seen the Colts rumored to be in the running for any cornerbacks this free agency (or really any player for that matter). The Colts are keeping things very close to the vest. I know the Colts are high on some of the younger cornerbacks they have on the roster, but I don't think that eliminates them at all in looking for a corner in free agency or the draft. I'm sure you saw this yesterday, but Amukamara signed with the Jaguars, the big spenders of 2016.

Myra D. (Indiana)

With all the tight end discussions, why has there been no mention of Mo Alie-Cox? It's interesting to have "project" players developing but so far our projects haven't worked out so good. CFL to NFL not so bad, but, athletic guys trying to learn to play football for the first time at the NFL level, not so much. Seems like we had a too many of them taking up our practice squad spots. So, hoping one is really panning out.

Bowen: The problem with trying to project Swoope, the former college basketball, is he's still an unknown. He made his NFL debut in Week 17 of last season (with Dwayne Allen on IR), however he didn't play on offense. With the current tight end-look right now on the roster, Swoope should get some chances to see more and more first/second team reps during the offseason program/training camp. I wouldn't fret over these sorts of players taking up practice squad spots. With 10 guys, you have the ability to take some chances on projects like Daniel Adongo/Erik Swoope.

DJ W. (California)

Hey Kevin first time I've participated in this but I enjoy reading these anyways with the signing of Dwayne Allen and his 20 million dollar contract do you think the Colts will be looking to still resign Colby Fleener or will they be parting ways thanks

Bowen: As I'm sure you saw on Wednesday night, the Saints signed Coby Fleener to a five-year deal. With the Colts' tight cap space, it was never realistic for them to bring back both tight ends, especially when you consider the contracts each was seeking (and deserved).

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