If there’s one free agent the Indianapolis Colts should still target this offseason, it’s free safety Tre Boston.
Boston visited the Colts in May 2018, per NFL.com national insider Ian Rapoport.
There could be some movement in a stagnant safety market: Free agent Tre Boston is visiting the #Colts, source said.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 14, 2018
When defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus came into town during the 2018 offseason, he preached a Tampa 2 defense. The Colts defense shifted from man coverage to a zone-heavy scheme.
Eberflus wants his safeties to stop big plays. They responded beautifully in the 2018 NFL season. According to StampedeBlue.com’s Elliot Singh Denton, “The Colts defense limited opponents to 61 chunk plays on the season, good for fourth-best in the league.”
Free safety Malik Hooker is the player patrolling the deep zone. He didn’t have to do too much in 2018, as Indianapolis’ opponents “only attempted 44 deep passes on the season, the fewest for any team in the NFL,” says Denton. As a result, Hooker didn’t produce eye-popping stats: 44 tackles, four passes defended, and two interceptions.
The Colts’ defense improved with Eberflus at the helm. Should they sign Tre Boston, he should help them immensely on that side of the ball.
The Carolina Panthers made Boston the 128th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. His best season came in 2017, when he suited up for the Los Angeles Chargers. That year, he recorded 79 tackles, five interceptions, and eight passes defended.
In 2018, Boston had 79 tackles, three interceptions, and nine passes defensed in 14 appearances for the Arizona Cardinals.
Denton explains why Boston would be a good fit with the Indianapolis Colts.
Boston strikes me as an under-the-radar version of Landon Collins who may not get the attention due to playing on a bad team.
He would bring exactly what the Colts need: a rounded defensive back who can impact the game in numerous ways.
An “under-the-radar version of Landon Collins?” That is a great complement, to say the least. This makes us wonder why Boston is still a free agent.
Boston has other upsides. He would “work well in the two-high system Indy runs, especially when working in a deep half zone,” per ColtsWire’s Kevin Hickey.
Tre Boston posted a career-high 10 combined INTs + PBUs last season! His 7 pass breakups ranked T-2nd among safeties. pic.twitter.com/w82Xjkh51f
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 11, 2019
Boston would also provide the Colts with depth at safety. The injury bug has bitten the Colts’ safeties the past few seasons. Clayton Geathers played in a combined 14 games in 2016 and 2017 due to a neck injury. On the other hand, Matthias Farley’s shoulder, groin, and wrist injuries limited him to just five appearances in 2018.
On that note, Boston would excel in the Colts’ defensive schemes, especially when they resort to their three-safety packages.
Boston is also affordable. He signed with the Cardinals on a one-year, $1.5 million deal last season. As of June 12, the Colts still have $55.1 million in cap space – the most in the NFL. Colts general manager Chris Ballard should act right away and offer Boston a contract.
Finally, Boston is durable. He’s missed just eight games in his five-year NFL career. That’s a breath of fresh air for a Colts secondary which has battled injuries the past few years.
Honestly, there are no serious downsides to signing Boston. He’s coming off two good seasons with the Chargers and Cardinals. He should build on that momentum if he suits up for the Colts.
If he does, he should make an immediate impact. Indianapolis finished 11th in the NFL in team total defense in the 2018 NFL season (5,431 yards allowed). Boston should help the Colts become an even bigger force on defense in 2019. He would make quarterbacks think twice about throwing in his direction.
Long story short, Boston is the kind of defensive back that should thrive in Eberflus’ system. He’s a versatile safety who can take out the opposition’s big plays. He’s also versatile, affordable, and durable. The pros far outweigh the cons. What is Ballard waiting for?
Here’s the big takeaway: Boston can make an impact with the Colts the same way an in-his-prime Antoine Bethea did years ago. All indications say Boston is a safety who can help Indianapolis make a serious super Bowl run in January.