Indianapolis Colts' defensive free agents: Re-sign Zaire Franklin, Xavier Rhodes, Tyquan Lewis?

Should the Indianapolis Colts re-sign linebacker Zaire Franklin (44), who is also their special teams captain, as a free agent during the offseason? Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire

INDIANAPOLIS – The key to the Indianapolis Colts' defense in 2021 was their ability to force turnovers. The unit finished second in the NFL in that category with 33.

The area where they consistently struggled was getting to the quarterback. Their 33 sacks was tied for eighth fewest. Making matters worse, the Colts could potentially lose 11.5 of those during free agency this offseason.

Here’s a look at the pending defensive – and special teams – free agents for the Colts:

LB Zaire Franklin

2021 stats: 40 tackles, 1 INT

Re-sign/let walk: Re-sign

Franklin became the third starting linebacker alongside Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke after the departure of Anthony Walker in 2021. Franklin was solid, but where he excelled was on special teams. He was that unit’s captain, and he also had a blocked punt against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

CB Xavier Rhodes

2021 stats: 39 tackles, 1 INT

Re-sign/let walk: Let walk

Rhodes’ play dropped off this season after being the team’s top cornerback on 2020. Not only did his play suffer to the point where he was no better than the team’s fourth-best cornerback, the veteran also missed four games because of injuries.

CB T.J. Carrie

2021 stats: 23 tackles

Re-sign/let walk: Let walk

Much like Rhodes, Carrie had a dip in production this season. Carrie, whom the Colts also played at safety at times, struggled in coverage, and he missed six games because of injuries, as well.

S George Odum

2021 stats: 55 tackles, 1 INT

Re-sign/let walk: Re-sign

Not only is Odum one of the Colts’ best special team players, he also showed his value on defense. He started seven games at free safety after Julian Blackmon was lost for the season with a torn Achilles.

S Andrew Sendejo

2021 stats: 40 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery

Re-sign/let walk: Let walk

Sendejo went from being an in-season signing to actually starting 10 games at safety because of the constant injuries at the position by Odum, Blackmon and Khari Willis.

K Michael Badgley

2021 stats: 18 of 21 FG, 39 of 39 extra points

Re-sign/let walk: Re-sign

Badgley, whom the Colts to signed to replace the injured Rodrigo Blankenship in October, did everything necessary to have the team think hard about re-signing him. So there can be a kicking competition with Blankenship in training camp.

DL Tyquan Lewis

2021 stats: 14 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT

Re-sign/let walk: Let walk

This isn’t based off of talent, because Lewis deserves to be re-signed based on that. This is based off dependability. That’s something Lewis hasn't shown. He missed 24 games during the first four years of his career, including suffering a patella tendon injury against the Tennessee Titans on Halloween.

DL Antwaun Woods

2021 stats: 5 tackles

Re-sign/let walk: Let walk

He played a total of 74 snaps in seven games.

DL Taylor Stallworth

2021 stats: 16 tackles, 3 sacks

Re-sign/let walk: Re-sign

Stallworth proved to be a dependable backup interior lineman. He played in 16 of 17 games, and his three sacks were good enough for fifth on the team. General manager Chris Ballard likes to have plenty of depth on the defensive line.

LB Matthew Adams

2021 stats: 10 tackles

Re-sign/let walk: Let walk

Adams was more viable on special teams than on defense.

DL Kemoko Turay

2021 stats: 9 tackles, 5.5 sacks

Re-sign/let walk: Let walk

Turay had a career-high 5.5 sacks while missing four games. Speaking of missing games, that was a constant problem for him. He has missed 25 games because of injury over the past three seasons. Imagine how many more sacks Turay would have had he stayed healthy.

DL Isaac Rochell

2021 stats: 17 tackles

Re-sign/let walk: Let walk

Rochell had three quarterback hits in 12 games.

DE Al-Quadin Muhammad

2021 stats: 48 tackles, 6 sacks

Re-sign/let walk: Re-sign

Muhammad was the Colts’ best pass-rusher not named DeForest Buckner. Muhammad also had 13 quarterback hits while starting all 17 games this season. What makes Muhammad valuable is that he can play on the interior or at defensive end.