INDIANAPOLIS –This time last year it would have been difficult to predict the three most important free agent re-signings for the Colts.
But when the 2017 offseason rolled around, the priorities to bring back were Darius Butler, Jack Doyle and Robert Turbin---all players who were not atop their respective positional depth charts last year.
Looking ahead to 2018, there are some big names potentially heading for the open market.
Who are a few key Colts entering the final years of their respective contracts?
- S-Darius Butler (Age: 31): It was a one-year deal that Butler inked with the Colts this spring. On paper, the Colts probably have their future at safety in Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers. That won't help Butler's cause in coming back to the Colts. What will help it? Butler again showing the versatility that he had last year, being a much-needed veteran defensive presence and providing the playmaking this defense is scrambling for in 2017.
- CB-Vontae Davis (Age: 29): Davis is likely headed for one more big pay in his NFL life. Reaching the age of 30 might scare some teams away from Davis' next contract. Like Ted Monachino said earlier this offseason, there's plenty of incentive for Davis to play at a high level in 2017. If the Colts and Davis do go their separate ways in 2018, cornerback continues to be a major need on Chris Ballard's next off-season checklist.
- RB-Frank Gore (Age: 34): This is the final season of the three-year contract Gore signed back in 2015. A running back Gore's age in the NFL is virtually extinct. But if Gore continues to do what he's done in recent years, he's going to find suitors. The Colts do have Robert Turbin on a two-year deal and drafted Marlon Mack in the fourth round. With the 2018 Draft supposedly deep with running back talent, the Colts could certainly look there for more future options.
- OG-Jack Mewhort (Age: 26): A 2014 second-round pick, Mewhort is approaching the end of his rookie contract. If Mewhort has a healthy campaign, the Colts would be well served to keep him as an offensive piece. With the other starting offensive linemen all locked up through at least 2020, Mewhort is the lone question mark in building future continuity.
- WR-Donte Moncrief (Age: 24): Moncrief is two years younger than Mewhort, his fellow 2014 draft mate. It's not often you see a player enter his second NFL contract at the age of 24. That makes Moncrief pretty attractive to re-sign. The Colts have not shied away from their excitement in Moncrief entering a contract year. A healthy year for Moncrief should lead to a nice pay day in Indianapolis.
- K-Adam Vinatieri (Age: 45): All indications have Vinatieri wanting to play at least two more seasons. If Vinny plays through 2018, he should pass Morten Andersen for the NFL lead in career points and field goals made. Vinny has kicked at an extremely high level since reaching the age of 40. Unless that changes in 2017, the Colts should be in line to re-up the future Hall of Fame kicker.
Other 2018 free agents to watch this season: WR-Kamar Aiken (Age: 28), ILB-Jon Bostic (Age: 26), CB-Rashaan Melvin (Age: 28) and QB-Scott Tolzien (Age: 30).
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