See Grading Colts Roster Moves from 2024 Offseason

The Indianapolis Colts have made several deals for their team ahead of the 2024 NFL draft.

The Indianapolis Colts finished the 2023 season with a better-than-expected 9-8 record under first-year head coach Shane Steichen. With several key players needing new contracts ahead of 2024, the Colts have made the right moves to retain the building blocks that will help build the franchise around quarterback Anthony Richardson. The team has also dipped outside the in-house re-signings to add talent in needy areas of the roster.

With this as the subject, it’s time to dive into the grades for each move and a brief rundown on what it could mean for the upcoming year and the near future of the franchise.

Oct 22, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) celebrates his rushing touchdown in the second half against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Pass-catcher Michael Pittman Jr. and the Colts agreed on a new contract after getting the franchise tag ahead of the March 5th deadline. However, it didn’t take long for Indianapolis to retain arguably their best offensive weapon. The deal is three years long and worth $71.5 million, with $46 million guaranteed.

Pittman has earned the money by improving since entering the league in 2020. He’s also done this with constant quarterback and coach stations. With stability building around Pittman under Steichen and Richardson, it can only make him better. He’s got a chance to improve from an impressive 2023, where he caught 109 passes for 1,152 yards and four scores.

Dec 16, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Trey Sermon (27) runs the ball while Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith (56) defends in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Joe Flacco

Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Grover Stewart reacts to a play in a 2019 road loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Colts visit Heinz Field on Sunday.

Robert Scheer/USA TODAY Sports

Nov 13, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Raekwon Davis (98) takes the field prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Raekwon Davis isn’t a household name but will prove to be very valuable to the Colts defensive front. As mentioned with Stewart, the Colts had awful showings with their defensive tackle depth. Even when Stewart was playing and needed a play or two off, the plan to attack the Indy defense was clear to run through the A gap where Stewart was. Now that Davis is the recipient of a two-year, $14 million deal after spending time with the Miami Dolphins, he’ll bring a good level of NFL experience to help Stewart and Buckner.

In 2023, Davis rounded up 28 tackles and six quarterback hits; and was reliable in run defense. There could be the off-chance Indy grabs another depth defender, but Davis will factor in by helping the Colts defense not skip a beat in stopping the run.

Dec 5, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Genard Avery (59) takes the field before a game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more questionable moves was giving Genard Avery a new contract for 2023. While he didn’t get a chance to play in his first season with Indianapolis due to a knee injury, he isn’t a strong enough player to need a re-signing. However, the Colts see something there, as they gave Avery a new one-year deal.

In 2022, Avery played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and grabbed five tackles (one for loss) and 1.0 sacks. Before that, Avery had time around Steichen with the Eagles. In 2021, he had arguably his best career season with 43 tackles, 1.0 sacks, and 12 games started. We’ll see if Avery will have an impact as a backup piece in the pass-rushing room.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) throws the ball over Indianapolis Colts defensive end Tyquan Lewis (94), during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Dec 10, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Indianapolis Colts safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. (48) runs an interception back for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin (44) celebrates a stop Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, during a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Colts defensive captain Zaire Franklin played another stellar season for Bradley’s stop troops. After breaking out in 2022 with a franchise-record 167 tackles, Franklin outperformed that campaign in 2023. Franklin grabbed another record of 179 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two fumbles forced, and six passes defended. The back-to-back seasons that Franklin had convinced Indy to extend the former seventh-rounder.

While there is still a year left on his previous deal, Franklin will make $31,260,000 over three years after the extension starting in 2025. Franklin is worth the money and is a clear leader on a young defense. Retaining his services was one of the many moves that Indy had to make to keep their core players intact.

Oct 22, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II (23) celebrates after sacking Cleveland Browns quarterback PJ Walker (10) during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Mandatory Credit: Bob Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 22, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez (8) punts the ball during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Mandatory Credit: Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez missed the entire 2022 season with a torn Achilles injury. However, he bounced back in 2023 by playing all 17 games and looked better than ever in year one of Steichen and special teams coordinator Brian Mason. Sanchez booted 68 punts for 3,281 yards (48.3 per punt) and 0 landing for touchbacks. He also placed 30.9% of his kicks inside the 20-yard line (21 total).

This campaign and return from Sanchez earned him a three-year, $7.5 million contract. While this isn’t an exciting position to retain, watching punter Matt Haack replace Sanchez in 2022 will make any fan happy about the contract. Haack averaged under 40 net yards per punt (39.6) and wasn’t a consistent punter when called upon.

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