Indianapolis Colts Free Agents

Indianapolis Colts 2021 Free Agency Primer

  • 2021 Free Agency
  • 2021 nfl free agency
  • AFC
  • AFC South
  • Anthony Walker Jr.
  • Colts
  • Denico Autry
  • Indianapolis
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Jacoby Brissett
  • Justin Houston
  • Malik Hooker
  • Marlon Mack
  • Mo Alie-Cox
  • NFL
  • nfl free agency
  • NFL Offseason
  • TJ Carrie
  • Trey Burton
  • TY Hilton
  • Xavier Rhodes
  • Zach Pascal
By Joshua Perez March 10, 2021 0 Comment
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Entering the 2021 NFL offseason, the Indianapolis Colts need to address several pending free agents. Here is a list of the most vital players for the Colts to bring back.

The Indianapolis Colts have many free agents, and some of them need to be signed for next season. The Colts snagged a playoff berth in 2020, but this offseason represents a make-or-break opportunity for the Colts after a quick exit.

High-profile free agents such as T.Y. Hilton, Xavier Rhodes, Marlon Mack, and many more are on deck. Here is a breakdown of which players should be let go — and which ones should be brought back.

Players the Colts should let walk in free agency:

Xavier Rhodes

Play well, get paid. The ultimate Chris Ballard motto has stayed true from Day 1. Xavier Rhodes enjoyed a tremendous season with defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and the Colts. That said, I wouldn’t re-sign him.

While Rhodes’ numbers popped and he showed he can still play at a high level, the Colts lost some coaches. One of them was cornerback coach Jonathan Gannon, whom the Eagles hired as their defensive coordinator. Rhodes’ stats with vs. without Gannon are night and day, making me worry about re-signing the corner. However, if the Colts don’t sign Rhodes, they either need to draft another corner early in the draft or sign another corner to replace him.

This is one player I could see Ballard overpaying to keep on the roster.

Justin Houston

Houston has been productive since joining the Colts in 2019, but he is 32 years old. Houston serves as a vocal leader on the field but this year’s pass-rush free-agent class is loaded with talent. This provides the perfect opportunity for Eberflus’ defense to get younger and faster on the defensive line.

I wouldn’t be against bringing Houston back for continuity, but even if re-signed, Ballard needs to bring in another pass rusher.

Malik Hooker

Bye-bye, Malik Hooker.

No disrespect to Hooker, but I think he’s looking for a new home or a fresh start. It’s best for both parties just to split. While Hooker showed flashes with the Colts, the injury bug bit him time and again, stunting his growth. While I love Hooker as a player, I can’t look past what the Colts have now. Julian Blackmon and Khari Willis make a great duo, and I look for them to be a cornerstone on this defense for years to come.

Players the Colts should bring back:

TJ Carrie:

As Daniel Bryan would say, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Carrie played lights out in 2020 and has earned a new contract. Throughout the season, Carrie stepped up big time for the Colts and served as an excellent role player/backup for his team. When Kenny Moore suffered an injury in Week 12 against the Titans, Carrie immediately stepped up and became an impact player.

Pay the man.

Trey Burton

Trey Burton had a disappointing season, to say the least, but re-signing him and giving him the chance to reunite with Carson Wentz provides an intriguing option to the Colts. Burton obviously will be known for his role in the “Philly Special,” but he’s a talented player.

If the Colts want him, they have a chance to sign him cheaper than they signed him last offseason. Burton knows the system and now has chemistry with both head coach Frank Reich and Wentz. I say bring him back. He’s an upgrade over an aging Jack Doyle and a cheaper option than other free-agent tight ends such as Hunter Henry or Jonnu Smith.

Denico Autry

This is a no-brainer for me. Denico Autry has been a great find and add for Ballard. While Ballard has made minor moves in free agency, Autry represents one of his best signings.

Autry is 31 years old now, and because of the age, the Colts may look to get younger. But a 7.5-sack total in 2020 says he isn’t slowing down just yet. Autry isn’t Darius Leonard or DeForest Buckner in that he gets all the recognition, but he’s a formidable player and clearly can still contribute to this team.

Mo Alie-Cox

The Big Mac Mo Alie-Cox burst onto the scene in 2020 and emerged as a stud and a fan favorite. After catching 31 passes for 394 yards and two touchdowns, the Colts could bring Alie-Cox back on a three-year, mid-tier deal. I believe Doyle is a cut candidate, but keep in mind Reich loves utilizing tight ends in the offense. Even if Burton is re-signed, it makes sense to bring back Alie-Cox as well.

Zach Pascal

Pascal is an easy signing for Ballard. The Colts can’t let go of Pascal in free agency. Pascal’s a restricted free agent, which tells me Ballard likes him as much as I do. While he’s not the best receiver statistically, he does everything right. He’s a tremendous run blocker for the position and an underrated route-runner to boot. Ballard and company shouldn’t let him out the door.

Players on the bubble:

T.Y. Hilton

T.Y. Hilton was the guy during the Andrew-Luck-Era Colts. We saw last season, once he hit his stride, that Hilton still can produce on the field, too. I think the Colts want him back, and I think he wants to be back as well. The market in free agency will ultimately determine if that happens.

I don’t see Ballard getting into a bidding war for Hilton under any circumstances. No disrespect to the Ghost, but he’s not what he’s used to be. He can still be effective for the Colts or another team in the league — but he just isn’t worth overpaying for at this stage in his career.

Jacoby Brissett

If Jacoby Brissett accepts a backup role, then yes. Bring him back. But in my mind, Brissett is a starter in this league. What he was able to accomplish prior to his injury was remarkable. Look, I am a Brissett guy. If you go to Twitter and search #jacobymania you’ll find me. It’s no secret this team and staff love Brissett, not only for his on-field achievements but for his off-field achievements as well. The market will ultimately decide if he is re-signed.

Marlon Mack

If the price is right, I don’t see why Marlon Mack won’t be wearing a Colts uniform next year. Mack was a 1,000-yard rusher before his injury in 2020. That said, the injury to his Achilles is huge because that’s typically one that’s hard to come back from. A backfield of Jonathan Taylor, Mack, and Nyheim Hines is dangerous on paper; how it would produce in reality though? I’m unsure.

One thing for sure is the Colts aren’t a selfish team and don’t really care about the numbers. All they seem to care about is going 1-0 each week. A short-term, cheap deal makes the most sense for Mack coming off his injury. If a team bid high for him, I don’t see Ballard outbidding them.

Anthony Walker, Jr.

I say re-sign Anthony Walker, Jr. I think Leonard is as good as he is because of Walker, and you simply cannot underestimate that impact.

If Ballard can work his magic and bring him back for the low, it makes sense to keep him. While Walker isn’t the best player on the team, I believe he makes the players around him better. It’s no secret Bobby Okereke has been a stud since finding the field. Now, he looks for an expanded role in 2021, and Walker has something to do with that in my eyes. Walker has been a leader on this Colts defense since entering the starting role.

Walker does have many flaws, from missed tackles to not being the best at stopping the run. As such, the Colts shouldn’t sign Walker to a top-linebacker contract, but he makes sense to bring back for cheap.


As you can see, Ballard won’t receive much rest in the 2021 offseason. Multiple players on this roster need new contracts, and Ballard also will need to be aggressive in free agency. Some players I didn’t mention who should be brought back are All-Pro George Odum and Ashton Dulin, two impactful special-teams players who fill important roles for the Colts. They deserve new deals as well.

In all, this offseason will show if the Colts are ready to be taken seriously as Super Bowl contenders.

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I write about the NFL, and focus on the Indianapolis Colts for the Brawl Network. I am from San Antonio, Texas and have been a Colts fan all. y life. I am currently a student at UTSA where I am majoring in communications.


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