The Indianapolis Colts ended their offseason program on June 15. Here’s a look at how they fared:
Offseason goals/grade: Getting younger, more athletic and more physical on defense was what Chris Ballard was striving for when he took over for general manager Ryan Grigson over the winter. Ballard cleaned house on the Colts' aging, slow defense by releasing or not re-signing unproductive players such as Art Jones, Trent Cole and Patrick Robinson. The Colts signed or drafted 13 defensive players during the offseason and they could end up having as many as seven new starters on that unit next season. They aren’t expected to suddenly become one of the top defenses in the NFL, but a jump from being 30th in the league last season to being in the middle of pack, to go with what is expected to be one of the better offenses in the league, should be good enough to get the Colts back to the playoffs. Grade: B+
Move I liked: Ballard didn’t go out and break the bank when it came to signing free agents. He took on more of a frugal approach with the exception of defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins. The Colts signed Hankins to a three-year, $30 million contract in the middle of April. Hankins, the Colts hope, will be the anchor on the defensive line that they’ve been missing as teams have run up the middle against them (25th in yards allowed in 2016) and they've lacked quarterback pressure in that area in years past. Hankins was part of a New York Giants defensive line that tied for the third-fewest yards allowed per game (88.6) last season.
Move I didn’t like: The Colts ended last season with pass-rush questions and you can say they’ll head into training camp with the same questions after they bypassed signing the top players at the position on the free-agent market or during the draft. Former New England Patriot Jabaal Sheard will get the first shot at replacing 36-year-old Robert Mathis, who retired at the end of last season. The Colts will likely get their pass rush by committee instead of relying on just one or two players. Third-round pick Tarell Basham has the potential to at least be a third-down rush specialist as a rookie.
Biggest question still to be answered in training camp: Andrew Luck, Andrew Luck and Andrew Luck. The franchise quarterback did not take part in any of the team’s offseason workouts -- as expected -- following right shoulder surgery in January. What also caused some warning flags is that Luck, who originally injured his shoulder in Week 3 of the 2015 season, had yet to start throwing at the conclusion of the team’s offseason workouts on June 15. Neither Luck or coach Chuck Pagano could say for sure that the quarterback will be cleared to participate when the team reports to training camp in late July. Concerns about Luck’s availability for their Week 1 game at the Los Angeles Rams, a game owner Jim Irsay said Luck would be ready to play, will increase the longer he remains out.
Salary-cap space: $18,772,534 (source: Overthecap.com)
Undrafted rookie free agents signed: OL Deyshawn Bond, RB Dalton Crossan, TE Darrell Daniels, WR Trey Griffey, LS Thomas Hennessy, WR ug Howard, TE Colin Jeter, WR Jerome Lane, CB Chris Lyles, OL Christopher Muller, WR Bruce “JoJo” Natson, CB Reginald Porter, RB Brandon Radcliff, P Rigoberto Sanchez, LB Garrett Sickels, DL Jhaustin Thomas, OL Jerry Ugokwe, QB Phillip Walker
Unrestricted free agents signed: P Jeff Locke, LB John Simon, LB Jabaal Sheard, LB Barkevious Mingo, DL Margus Hunt, OL Brian Schwenke, DL Al Woods, LB Sean Spence, TE Brandon Williams, WR Kamar Aiken, LS Joe Fortunato, LB Jon Bostic, DL Johnathan Hankins, RB Christine Michael,
Restricted free agents signed: None
Players acquired via trade: None