At some point the Indianapolis Colts knew this had to come.
After two seasons of success with a new head coach, a franchise quarterback and a new crew of management, the Colts face a small crossroads in the franchise’s development.
What to do with the current crop of free agents?
There are 17 potential free agents – unrestricted players – management must deal with. While some will enjoy modest success on the open market, there are some who will become castoffs and not get a sniff from another team.
The majority of the success of this team has been the ability to take young players, add free agents and street players and have them meld into a recipe of success. Having Andrew Luck to throw the ball around helps, but most of it is working with workman-like players.
The Colts have until the 11th of March to decide what to do with its current roster, but if you ask me, these are the players the team must concentrate on keeping to take the franchise to the next level.
Pat Angerer, Linebacker
He has been one of the more consistent players on the team. He is a tackling machine and has adapted well to Colts' defensive scheme. Besides Robert Mathis, he is the most important player out there on the defense.
Antoine Bethea, Safety
The numbers don’t lie. Bethea is a player who significantly helped this team in 2013. Now, the defensive back should be brought back to help a young group of players to mold more into a solid unit and play even harder in 2014.
Donald Brown, Running Back
He had a very solid second half of the season, so much so Ahmad Bradshaw is expendable and Trent Richardson is pedestrian. Brown is a former first round pick from Connecticut and finally has the chance to show he is more than a replacement back.
Vontae Davis, Cornerback
The team traded for him. They need to keep him. Like Bethea, he could be a leader in this secondary and important in growth of this team. The AFC South doesn’t have overwhelming receivers, which makes it a little easier for the defense.
Aubrayo Franklin, Nose Tackle
He is very important to this defense. A starter who plugs the middle, takes up space and stops the run. Franklin would command some interest on the free agent market, but the Colts need to lock him up for a long term deal.
Pat McAfee, Punter
He averaged 46 yards a punt last season and is one of the more consistent punters in the league. The NFL is all about field position. McAfee helps in that department.
Cassius Vaughn, Cornerback
He has three interceptions last season. Vaughn is a definite need for this team. The Colts have three major secondary players who could be free agents. The team needs to try to keep all three.
Adam Vinatieri, Kicker
The oldest player in the league is also one of the most consistent. Vinatieri needs to stay in Indianapolis. The Colts know this as well. Look for a deal to get done as soon as possible.