Colts lack difference-makers when it comes to free agents to re-sign

INDIANAPOLIS – Having in-house free agents that they didn't want to lose was a norm for the most part in recent years for the Indianapolis Colts.

Cornerback Vontae Davis in 2014. Safety Mike Adams in 2015. Dwayne Allen or Coby Fleener in 2016. 2017?

The pressure to re-sign their nine unrestricted free agents isn't as high in years past. The biggest reason is because the Colts don't have any players that will set them back if they don't re-sign them. Here's a priority list of the Colts' free agents:

1. TE Jack Doyle

2016 key stats: 59 receptions, 584 yards, 5 TDs (all career highs)

Pro in re-signing: Doyle not only made Fleener an afterthought, he was also arguably the Colts' best tight end last season. Doyle's blocking skills have never been questioned, but he showed he's more than just a blue-collar player when he finished the season second on the team in receptions and receiving yards.

Con in re-signing: None.

2. LB Erik Walden

2016 key stats: 42 tackles, 11 sacks (career high)

Pro in re-signing: Walden is coming off a career season and the Colts are in a transition period at linebacker so they could use his experience at that position.

Con in re-signing: Walden will be 32 years old next season and it wouldn't be surprising if the Colts are forced to overpay to re-sign him because another team may swoop in and offer him a more lucrative deal.

3. CB Darius Butler

2016 key stats: 33 tackles, 3 INTs,

Pro in re-signing: Butler's never been flashy, but he's a solid cornerback who has routinely been the team's best slot defender. Butler showed his versatility last season when he spent some time at safety. He could become a full time safety if the Colts don't re-sign veteran Mike Adams because there's uncertainty on if T.J. Green is ready to be the permanent starter.

Con in re-signing: About the only thing that could make the Colts hesitate in re-signing Butler is that he turns 31 years old next month.

4. S Mike Adams

2016 key stats: 79 tackles (team high), 2 INTs

Pro in re-signing: Adams is a veteran who is an extension of the coaches on the field. He also has the respect his teammates and the staff, especially Chuck Pagano.

Con in re-signing: Adams turns 36 years old next month and the plan is for the Colts to get younger on defense this offseason.

5. RB Robert Turbin

2016 key stats: Career-high eight touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving)

Pro in re-signing: He's only 27 years and he had career season in touchdowns. He's also insurance in case the Colts don't select a running back in the draft. Starter Frank Gore, who rushed for 1,025 yards last season, will be 34 years old next season and the idea is to lighten his workload.

Con in re-signing: None because Turbin is a solid backup and knows the system.

6. RB Jordan Todman

2016 key stats: 16 kickoff returns for 478 yards and 1 TD

Pro in re-signing: He emerged as the Colts kickoff return specialist after Quan Bray went down for the season with an ankle injury. Todman averaged 29.8 yards a return on kickoffs.

Con in re-signing: Bray is under contract for next season and Todman's best bet for playing time would be as a return specialist.

7. OL Hugh Thornton

2016 key stats: Missed entire season with an ankle injury

Pro in re-signing: He has experience starting, having started 32 of the 37 games that he's appeared in during his four-year career.

Con in re-signing: Thornton has missed 27 games in his career due to injuries and he also often frustrated many in the organization because they felt like he hasn't always played up to his potential.

8. LB Trent Cole

2016 key stats: 16 tackles, 2 sacks

Pro in re-signing: None

Con in re-signing: Not only will Cole be 35 years old early next season, he's simply not the same player that he was while with the Philadelphia Eagles. He's recorded five sacks in 21 games with the Colts.

9. LB Chris Carter

2016 key stats: six tackles

Pro in re-signing: None

Con in re-signing: Carter didn't show much in his nine games to warrant him being much of a free agent priority.