INDIANAPOLIS — Senior Bowl, Pro Bowl, Scouting Combine — all notable offseason events on the horizon in the coming weeks for the Indianapolis Colts.
But perhaps nothing moves the needle more than the start of the new league year — which brings with it, of course, the start of free agency. It all officially gets underway at 4 p.m. March 18.
The Colts once again are among the league leaders in available cap space entering the offseason, which always creates the possibility of the team making a major splash or two in free agency. But general manager Chris Ballard said Jan. 2, in his annual end-of-season press conference, that his overall approach to constructing the roster — which includes placing a high emphasis on building through the draft — isn't changing.
"You all know my philosophy on free agency: you cannot buy a championship. You cannot buy a locker room," Ballard said. "We will continue to go down the same road we've been going down.
"But when we got a chance to acquire players, we will," Ballard continued. "Our general philosophy is always going to be to build through the draft. That's how we're going to do it."
Beyond potential outside free agents, however, the Colts also will have to determine which of their own pending free agents they'd like to pursue re-signing for the 2020 season and beyond.
So just who are the Colts' free agents heading into 2020? Here's a comprehensive list:
Unrestricted Free Agents (11): A player whose contract has expired and has four or more tenured years in the league. He may sign with any other team with no restrictions.
» Josh Andrews, center: Andrews played 61 offensive and five special teams snaps in 2019; his most action came Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, when he logged 49 offensive snaps filling in at center for an injured Ryan Kelly. Andrews has played in parts of nine games with the Colts over the past two seasons.
» Le'Raven Clark, guard/tackle: Clark was active for three games in 2019, but did not see any game action. The 2016 third-round pick out of Texas Tech has competed in 35 total games with 12 starts in his four-year NFL career with the Colts, including a career-high 15 games played and five starts in 2017.
» Eric Ebron, tight end: Ebron played in 11 games with two starts for the Colts in 2019, logging 31 receptions for 375 yards and three touchdowns before being placed on injured reserve Nov. 25 with reported ankle injuries. Ebron earned his first-career Pro Bowl selection in 2018, his first season with the Colts, when he logged 66 receptions for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns, as well as a rushing score.
» Devin Funchess, wide receiver: Funchess would play in just one game with the Colts in 2019, logging three receptions for 32 yards in Indy's season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers before suffering a season-ending clavicle injury. He would eventually return to practice later in the season, but would revert to injured reserve. In five seasons with the Carolina Panthers and the Colts, Funchess has 164 career receptions for 2,265 yards and 21 touchdowns.
» Clayton Geathers, safety: A defensive captain, Geathers in 2019 would play in 15 games with 10 starts, finishing with 48 total tackles (one for a loss) with his first-career interception to go along with one pass defensed and six special teams tackles. In his five seasons with the Colts, Geathers has collected 228 total tackles (four for a loss) with three quarterback hits, one interception, 10 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 16 special teams stops.
» Joe Haeg, tackle/guard: Haeg logged 73 offensive and 70 special teams snaps for the Colts in 2019, primarily playing a role as a "big" tight end in some formations, and then also filling in at left guard for an injured Quenton Nelson for 31 snaps Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers. In four seasons in Indy, Haeg, a fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has appeared in 55 total games with 35 starts.
» Dontrelle Inman, wide receiver: Inman made his return to the Colts' roster in Week 15, and in three games to finish out the season would log four receptions for 49 yards. The veteran wide receiver played nine games with the Colts in 2018 before departing in free agency last offseason. In 46 career games with 27 starts, Inman has logged 133 receptions for 1,758 yards and 10 touchdowns; he has 32 receptions for 353 yards and three touchdowns in his 12 total games played in Indianapolis.
» Chester Rogers, wide receiver: Rogers played in 12 games with six starts to open up the 2019 season with the Colts before going on injured reserve with a season-ending knee injury. He logged 16 receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns, one rushing attempt for 18 yards, and also was among the league's leading punt returners, as he averaged 9.8 yards on 21 attempts. In his four seasons with the Colts, Rogers had logged 111 receptions for 1,221 yards and five touchdowns; he has also returned 60 punts for 551 yards (9.2-yard average).
» Jabaal Sheard, defensive end: Sheard, who missed most of training camp and the first few weeks of the 2019 season with a knee injury, would play in 13 games with 12 starts in 2019, logging 25 total tackles (five for a loss) with 4.5 sacks, nine quarterback hits and two passes defensed. A nine-year NFL veteran, Sheard has totaled 387 total tackles (70 for a loss) with 51.5 sacks, 92 quarterback hits, 27 passes defensed, 13 forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 134 career games played; he has played 45 games in Indy, and has 127 total tackles (28 for a loss) with 15.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and nine passes defensed over three seasons.
» Adam Vinatieri, kicker: Vinatieri would play in 12 games in 2019, his 14th season with the Colts and 24th NFL season in all; he connected on 17-of-25 field goal attempts (68 percent) and 22-of-28 extra-point tries (78.6 percent) before being placed on injured reserve on Dec. 9. The NFL's all-time leader in points scored (2,673) and made field goals (599), Vinatieri has connected on 336-of-394 field goals (85.3 percent) and 507-of-524 extra points (96.8 percent) during his career in Indianapolis.
» Jonathan Williams, running back: Williams played in nine games with one start for the Colts in 2019, finishing with 49 rushing attempts for 235 yards (5.4 average) with one touchdown; he also had five receptions for 59 yards. Williams had back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances in Weeks 11 and 12, mostly filling in for an injured Marlon Mack. Williams has played in 23 total games with one start in his career, and has 79 rushing attempts for 329 yards (4.2 avg.) with two touchdowns.
Restricted Free Agents (3): A player whose contract has expired and has fewer than four tenured years in the league. He may sign an "Offer Sheet" with any other team, but his original team has seven days to match any offer he receives. If the original team does not match the offer, compensation will be awarded in the form of draft picks from the signing team. The round and quantity of picks are determined by the "Qualifying Offer" made by the player's original team. If a RFA is tendered a minimum qualifying offer the compensation is the equivalent of the round in which that player was originally selected. If that player was originally a rookie free agent, no compensation is awarded.
» Briean Boddy-Calhoun, cornerback: Signed Dec. 18, Boddy-Calhoun would play in two games with one start for the Colts in 2019, finishing with 11 total tackles (one for a loss) with 1.0 sack and one quarterback hit. A four-year veteran, Boddy-Calhoun has played in 46 total games with 22 starts with the Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans and Colts, and has 141 total tackles (four for a loss) with 3.0 sacks, six quarterback hits, three interceptions, 19 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and 10 special teams stops.
» Trevon Coley, defensive tackle: Signed to the Colts' active roster from the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad on Oct. 1, Coley would play in seven games in Indy in 2019, finishing with six total tackles. In three seasons with the Cleveland Browns and Colts, Coley has played in 38 total games with 29 starts, and has 86 total tackles (11 for a loss) with 2.5 sacks, five quarterback hits, two passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.
» Marcus Johnson, wide receiver: Elevated to the Colts' active roster from the practice squad on Nov. 9, Johnson would play in eight games with six starts in Indy in 2019 and finishing with 17 receptions for 277 yards and two touchdowns. The third-year NFL veteran has played in 23 games with six starts in all, and has 28 career receptions for 424 yards and three touchdowns.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents (2): Players whose contracts have expired and have two or fewer tenured years in the league. The Colts must make a contract offer by the league-imposed deadline, or the players become unrestricted free agents.
» Daurice Fountain, wide receiver: After spending most of his rookie season on the Colts' practice squad, Fountain was vying for a spot on the 2019 53-man roster when he went down with a season-ending ankle injury late in training camp. The 2018 fifth-round pick appeared in one regular-season game and two postseason contests last year, but is yet to log any stats.
» Rolan Milligan, safety: Milligan played in 11 games with one start in 2019, his first full NFL season, and finished with 10 total tackles, one quarterback hit and five special teams stops before going on injured reserve with a season-ending foot injury on Dec. 18.
Re-signed Free Agents (1):
» Anthony Castonzo, tackle: Castonzo's ninth season was perhaps his best; he played all 1,077 offensive snaps for the Colts in 2019, and was among the top-graded players at his position in the NFL, both in run and pass blocking, according to Pro Football Focus. Also a Pro Bowl alternate for the first time in his career, Castonzo told reporters after the season that he was going to take some time to decide his future, and that he wasn't yet ruling out the possibility of retirement. But he stayed in touch with the Colts and general manager Chris Ballard, and on March 15 agreed to terms to return to Indy for a 10th season in 2020.