NEWS FLASH: Colts set to build contender around Anthony Richardson

2024 offseason primer: Colts set to build contender around Anthony Richardson

Even after losing star rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson in Week 4, the Indianapolis Colts (9-8 in 2023) still made things interesting in head coach Shane Steichen’s first year with the team.

Steichen, known as one of the league’s sharp, young offensive minds, somehow got a 3,305-yard season and nine wins out of backup QB Gardner Minshew, who nearly led the Colts to the playoffs for just the third time since 2015.

Offensively, the Colts made progress in Steichen’s first year. Though Jonathan Taylor was limited to just 10 games, he and Zack Moss carried the load for Indy’s run game, combining for 1,535 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns, and Michael Pittman Jr. enjoyed a breakout 109-catch, 1,152-yard season.

Defensively, there’s still work to be done. The Colts ranked 24th in total defense and 29th in scoring defense, and many of their key free agents are on that side of the ball.

FREE AGENTS | Offense: QB Gardner Minshew; RB Zack Moss; WRs Michael Pittman Jr., Isaiah McKenzie, Juwann Winfree; OGs Jack Anderson and Danny Pinter

Defense: DEs Tyquan Lewis and Genard Avery; DTs Grover Stewart and Taven Bryan; LBs Cameron McGrone and Segun Olubi; CBs Kenny Moore and Tony Brown; Safeties Henry Black, Trevor Denbow and Julian Blackmon

Special teams: Punter Rigoberto Sanchez

Outlook: The Colts have a handful of needs to address this offseason, but the good news is they have plenty of money to burn. Internally, there are several players worth retaining, starting with Pittman Jr. He’s the team’s second-best offensive player and a borderline top-15 WR in the NFL, and he’s a must-keep if they want to set Richardson up for success. Minshew and Moss both likely earned themselves a chance to compete for a starting job somewhere else next year, but if either is interested in returning, it’s a no-brainer to keep them in the fold.

Stewart is a big-bodied interior defensive lineman (6-foot-4, 314 pounds), and that alone is worth bringing him back. He’s a good run stuffer in the middle of the line, but he’s more of a No. 2 DT than a starter. Moore was arguably the team’s top CB and Blackman its top safety. Unless it plans on making a huge splash in free agency, Indy should re-sign both to help stabilize its secondary.

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