The Indianapolis Colts have a lot of questions to address this offseason and need to get to work. Philip Rivers announced his retirement and the Colts are in the market for a quarterback, and after making a return to the playoffs in their first and only year with Rivers, the organization looks to keep their spot alive in the AFC picture.
They finished 11-5 and made the playoffs before losing to the Buffalo Bills 27-24 in the Wild Card round. The addition of Rivers in the offseason was always a question of how long he would be there, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he decided to hang it up. Jacoby Brissett is hitting the open market, and rookie Jacob Eason might not be ready to be the full-time starter on a team with playoff aspirations.
Still, the Colts are a playoff team in 2021 and should be rather active as they try to acquire a quarterback, with Carson Wentz being one of the names floating around in trade talks, especially after Nick Sirianni left the Colts to be the head man with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The good news is that the Colts have the second-most cap space in the league, and the options are wide open for this franchise. They have some moves to make, and long-time receiver TY Hilton might be on his way out, and questions remain with what to do with this receiver group whether or not Hilton stays.
The Colts desperately need a quarterback, and whether they get Wentz or someone else, or if they get a signal-caller in the draft, they have moves to make in this offseason to stay competitive next season.
They might not make a lot of cuts, but there are some options to free up a little more cap space.
Colts cut candidate: TE Jack Doyle
This might come as a surprise, but let’s examine it a bit. Doyle is set to have a cap hit of $5.7 million, which is the sixth-highest on the team. However, the tight end room is a bit crowded with both Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox and of course the rumored interest in guys like Jonnu Smith and Jared Cook.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 18, 2020
Doyle isn’t bad at all, although in 2020 he had just 251 yards and 23 catches with three scores. He’s not the player he once was and at nearly $6 million for 2021, the Colts could use that money to bring in another quality tight end if they wanted to.
His best season came in 2017 when he had 80 grabs for 680 yards and four touchdowns for the Colts, but since then he hasn’t come close to those numbers, a fact which is not lost on anyone involved, including Doyle himself.
The Colts probably won’t bring back Burton after a disappointing year, and if they move on from Doyle they could make a run at some of the free-agent tight ends on the market like Smith, or even Hunter Henry if he doesn’t re-sign in Los Angeles.
The Colts offense is trending in the direction of youth with Jonathan Taylor, Micheal Pittman, and whoever is throwing passes next season in Indianapolis. The influx of youth to this team might make Doyle expendable.
Even more so, the offense in Indy will more than likely feature the running backs, with Taylor, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins consisting of arguably the best running back group in the NFL.
The biggest cap hits above him are Deforest Buckner, Ryan Kelly, Grover Stewart, Quenton Nelson, and Mark Glowinski, and it’s highly unlikely any of those guys are cut heading into next season, especially considering the fact that three of those guys makeup more than half the offensive line and Buckner was sensational after coming over from the San Francisco 49ers.
It’s always helpful that they have a ton of cap space to work with, and freeing up even a little more room by cutting somebody like Doyle could allow them to make a run at a free-agent quarterback or big-ticket tight end or wide receiver, especially if Hilton goes to play elsewhere.
Nonetheless, the Colts don’t need to make any cuts heading into this offseason with tons of cap space. However, if they want to throw big-time money at one of the free agents, they might end up cutting Doyle and taking their chances elsewhere.
It will be a busy offseason for the Colts, and priority number one needs to be addressing the quarterback situation, but don’t be surprised if the Colts make a cut or two to free up even more money to give themselves more flexibility in reshaping their roster.