Since Ryan Grigson, Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck came onto the scene as the Indianapolis Colts’ new regime, returns have been borderline miraculous. After finishing the 2011 season with a lowly 2-14 mark, the Colts bounced back with two 11-5 campaigns and two playoff berths. By all outward appearances, the Colts are not only at the top of their division, but they’re continuing to rise.
That said, this is the NFL, where nothing is exactly as it seems. Everyone has an opinion about everything, and it’s always helpful to get a professional’s opinion of any given circumstance. Matt Williamson, a former Browns scout, gave Mike Wells of ESPN.com a few interesting thoughts regarding the Colts as they move forward.
“I know [general manager] Ryan Grigson is highly regarded and he’s turned this team around and all those great things, but I have not been impressed at all with what he’s done in free agency,” Williamson said. “They had all that money last year, but I don’t know if they spent it wisely. They still have tons of needs. He took over a roster that was dreadful but they didn’t get any real answers other than [offensive tackle] Gosder Cherilus.”
Williamson also pointed out that the Colts may be in the uncomfortable position of needing to re-sign running back Donald Brown after Trent Richardson failed to do anything impressive following a blockbuster trade with the Browns. Defensively, Williamson believes the Colts are in big trouble with no gaping holes but also no points of complete depth either.
So, where does all of this leave Indianapolis?
First off, it would be easy to dismiss Williamson’s views on the Colts’ roster moving forward. After all, it’s one person’s view on a team that has done a complete 180 in short order. Still, there’s no denying the Colts missed, by and large, in free agency last year, and Grigson tossed away the team’s first round pick on a backup running back via the Richardson trade.
In addition, the Colts’ current roster is becoming more expensive due to their high level of play, and without an infusion of talent from a solid draft class or free agency, it’s hard to imagine the Colts getting any better in the short-term future. Sure, some of their young players, especially Luck, will continue to develop, but that won’t be enough to offset the loss of talent on defense, especially if Antoine Bethea walks in free agency.
Here’s the good news. The Colts have very little immediate competition from the AFC South to worry about. The Texans are a roster full of untapped potential that didn’t show up for all of 2013, the Titans are entering a rebuilding period with a new regime, and although the Jaguars seemingly have some stability with their current team leaders, they’re still at least another season away from competing for a divisional title even if they’re able to nail down a solid quarterback.
The Colts may struggle to improve their team this offseason, but they’re still a team that’s being set up well for the future. After a great first season, Grigson and company stumbled a bit last season, but if they can find some quality players that don’t demand a huge price tag via the draft and free agency, the Colts will be right back on track.