With offseason workouts and minicamps in the rearview mirror and training camps just a few weeks away, we assess the Indianapolis Colts' offseason moves and assign a letter grade in the video above.
Best move: The Colts were a better team within hours of the start of free agency when they signed veterans Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Trent Cole and Kendall Langford on March 10. Johnson replaces Reggie Wayne as the Colts’ primary possession receiver and Gore is the running back quarterback Andrew Luck has yet to have in the NFL. Gore is a significant upgrade over the disappointing Trent Richardson. Gore has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in eight of his 10 seasons and his addition means defenses will have to make a choice on who they’ll focus on -- Luck and his skill players on the outside or Gore. Luck should have his best supporting cast on offense in his young NFL career. Cole gives Indianapolis an additional pass rusher at linebacker to go with Robert Mathis, Bjoern Werner, Jonathan Newsome and Erik Walden. Core will start if Mathis (Achilles) is not ready by Week 1.
Riskiest move: There’s no questioning receiver Phillip Dorsett's speed. He had it on display on a regular basis during offseason workouts. But the Colts used their first-round pick (No. 29) on a position that wasn’t a major priority. They had more pressing needs on the offensive and defensive line. The Colts used 11 different starting lineups on the offensive line last season and owner Jim Irsay can tell you in less than a second how many yards the New England Patriots have rushed against them in the past three meetings (657 yards). The Colts believe they have enough depth on the offensive line to offset any injuries that may occur and they feel comfortable with Josh Chapman, Montori Hughes and rookie David Parry anchoring the middle of the defensive line.
Contract distractions: We know Luck's contract situation will be taken care of. Irsay has already said they'll address the franchise quarterback's contract after next season. The same can’t be said about coach Chuck Pagano and receiver T.Y. Hilton. There hasn’t any indication that Pagano or Hilton will get a contract extension before the end of the season. Irsay said earlier this month that he hopes a great season will lead to a new contract for Pagano. Hilton, the Colts’ leading receiver the past two seasons, is in a holding pattern with his contract. A strong season by Dorsett, who some have compared to Hilton, could lower Hilton’s financial value with the Colts. The Colts have positioned themselves to make a run at the Super Bowl next season. The last thing they need is for the contract status of their head coach and best receiver to be a distraction next season.
Training camp outlook: The transition for new additions Johnson, Gore, Cole, Kendall Langford and Dwight Lowery has been a smooth one. But the Colts have some legitimate concerns with several of their key players who missed last season with injuries. Mathis, running back Vick Ballard, offensive linemen Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas all did not take part in offseason workouts and there’s no guarantee they’ll be ready for the first day of training camp. Irsay has already said Mathis won’t be participating in the first day of practice on Aug. 2. Cherilus’ health status could have the biggest impact. A healthy Cherilus at right tackle means Jack Mewhort can slide back to left guard where he started most of last season. An injured Cherlius means Mewhort will start at right tackle and the Colts will have to find a new starting left guard.