INDIANAPOLIS –Coming into the 2016 season, the Colts didn't appear to have too many big names entering contract years.
That changed though with several 2017 free agents playing very solidly this past season.
The Colts have nine unrestricted free agents who can officially hit the open market on March 9, the start of the new league year.
2017 Unrestricted Free Agents (age next season)
- S-Mike Adams (36): Retirement is on the back burner for Mike Adams. He made that clear late in the season when asked about wanting to play a 14th NFL season. The Colts have several options at safety for 2017. Does that include Adams coming back as an every-snap starter? While the playmaking from Adams went down a bit in 2016, his veteran leadership cannot be overstated. Adams has been a gem of a find since joining the Colts in 2014.
- S/CB-Darius Butler (31): After four productive seasons in Indianapolis, Darius Butler turned himself into a pretty attractive free agent this past year. Position flex is what Butler has added to his free agent resume. Butler played some safety in Training Camp and saw extended action back there during the regular season. The Colts love the comfort the instinctual Butler gives them as a safety. Will it come down to either Adams or Butler returning in 2017?
- OLB-Chris Carter (28): Carter is one of several Colts' outside linebackers hitting the open market in 2017. Playing for four teams since being drafted in 2011, Carter didn't get much of a defensive exposure this year in Indy. Carter, who was signed by the Colts in October, played just five defensive snaps for Ted Monachino.
- OLB-Trent Cole (35): Do the Colts want to bring back a 35-year-old edge rusher? That's going to be the question with Cole, who said he wants to keep on playing. Cole went on injured reserve after Week Three due to a back injury. He somewhat miraculously returned at the start of December and recorded two sacks over the final five weeks. The Colts just aren't going to have room to bring back all these outside linebackers, so we will see how they prioritize them come March.
- TE-Jack Doyle (27): Doyle was terrific in his expanding role this past year. The 2016 season hadn't reached its halfway point before Doyle had already surpassed career-highs in every category. He finished the year as the team's second leading receiver. The Colts have already stated they definitely want to bring Doyle back, trying to keep intact the deepest position group on the team. Remember, Doyle hasn't missed a game due to injury in his four NFL seasons.
- OG-Hugh Thornton (26): The final remaining piece from the 2013 NFL Draft spent the entire 2016 season on injured reserve. Injuries and inconsistent play (when healthy) have been the main stories from Thornton's four seasons with the Colts. In 2016, the Colts found quite a few offensive line bodies that they can now turn to in the interior and off the edges. Thornton is the lone offensive line free agent in 2017.
- RB-Jordan Todman (27): When Quan Bray was lost for the year in October, the Colts hardly missed a step in their kick return unit. It was Todman who provided a critical spark in the team's win over Green Bay. Is Todman expendable though, if the Colts think Bray can come back as a returner and the running back reserves behind Frank Gore come from Robert Turbin, Josh Ferguson plus a potential draft pick?
- RB-Robert Turbin (28): Like many on this list, Turbin has expressed a desire to return to the Colts. Turbin was nothing short of outstanding for the Colts in 2016. With Frank Gore still under contract, but reaching the age of 34, Turbin's presence is still needed. In 2016, Turbin's roles included short yardage, third down and two minute.
- OLB-Erik Walden (32): What a time for Walden to have a career year. After never recording more than 6 sacks in a season, Walden got to the quarterback 11 times in 2016. If the Colts are going to address pass rusher in free agency and the draft, signing one of their own (Walden) would make sense especially with what he's given this team over the past four years.
2017 Restricted Free Agents
ILB-Josh McNary2017 Exclusive Rights Free Agents