Ah, the offseason. A time for reflection, healing, and, most of all, opportunities. Welcome, one and all, to the 2023 offseason for the NFL’s version of a QB retirement home; the Indianapolis Colts.
This article series that we have begun here at Club Fantasy is about how to fix offenses for fantasy football. The Colts were the second-worst in the NFL last year. That’s embarrassing enough that the team decided to fire their coach and hire someone who never coached a second of NFL football.
The best way to fix these problems is to stop this QB carousel. Unfortunately, at this point, it is becoming more of a joke than an effective strategy. The Colts are bringing guys in who are over the hill or frankly not good enough to start other places and sticking them in an offense with all of these young weapons, and it’s just goofy.
An offseason after a bad year is like a breakup. But, after a breakup, there is a big step you must take to survive…
Fixing the Indianapolis Colts in 2023
LET GO OF THE PAST
Moving on from Ryan and Gilmore are necessary cap space moves. They don’t fit your timeline anymore, anyway. Releasing both of them frees up roughly $28M. Gilmore might be able to be re-signed for a cheaper deal to give the secondary some help, but his current hit is too much.
Now, we’ve moved on from some older players, but something is missing…OH!
LET’S GET A COACH
Hmmm, there doesn’t seem to be anyone in the driver’s seat of this large, billion-dollar bus. We need to hire a coach. Unfortunately, Jeff Saturday isn’t that guy, and there are much better options with real NFL experience out there.
My choice? Eric Bieniemy. An offensive guru who is under the tutelage of Andy Reid, the greatest offensive mind in NFL history. His open-concept offense will really light up a fanbase that needs a win and some excitement.
Scheme-wise, this could open running lanes for Jonathan Taylor and get space for your QB to grow into something special. Speaking of which…
DRAFT A QB
For the love of God, please draft a QB. Now, you have two options. DID YOU HEAR ME, INDY?! TWO, DOS, DEUX, 2!!!! There are people out there who will say Anthony Richardson, stop that right now. It is time to build an offense around a young QB and one who has some polish to their game. Drafting CJ Stroud or Bryce Young will be the key to unlocking the future of this team.
Speaking of the future, it needs a face…
GET THE 1st PICK
To get the top pick, you have to move some talent. There’s no way Chicago won’t want Michael Pittman in the deal. Before you yell about WR depth, trust me, we’ll get there. Chicago needs a wide receiver badly, and they have the most coveted pick in the draft. So you have a wide receiver and no QB. Sometimes things just make sense.
Buckner and his $20M cap hit moves in this deal to help open up the cap space for Indy to go and sign some other guys, which I am getting to, I promise.
So, basically, the trade would look something like this:
Colts trade: #4 pick, Michael Pittman Jr, Deforest Buckner, 2024 1st
Bears trade: #1 pick
Feels like a lot, and it is, but Indy needs to lock down that QB spot. Unfortunately, this is the way to do it. If Indy doesn’t move up for their guy, someone else will.
Cap space isn’t an issue now, so things get fun…
USE YOUR CAP SPACE AGGRESSIVELY!!
Look at the free agent market, it’s not terribly exciting, but there are some gems out there. Then, of course, there is also the trade market.
A young QB’s best friend is a reliable pass catcher in the middle of the field. Add into that an ability to run after the catch, and you have something really sexy going on. So who is this mystery man? Why it’s none other than Tampa Bay superstar WR Chris Godwin.
With Tom Brady almost certainly leaving town, either to retire or try and win somewhere else, the Buccaneers are probably in the market for a rebuild. Sending off a 2nd-round pick for Godwin feels like a move that could be really smart for one of the best route runners in the NFL.
He is a guy who can catch the ball behind the line ( he led the NFL in screen passes caught this year) and do something with it. He can also get downfield in a flash or take a simple slant for a significant gain. Basically, there is no area of the field where Godwin isn’t elite.
The next move is to go grab a tight end that can actually make plays. This is where a guy like Mike Gesicki becomes really appealing. He is a big body that can stretch the field. Unfortunately, he found himself the odd man out in the pass-catching rotation in Miami. However, bringing him in to help open things up for Jonathan Taylor would be a great move.
What about the other receiver, though?
MAKE A DECISION ON ALEC PIERCE
The Colts need to make a decision on Pierce. Is he a guy who can be a #2 opposite a big-time receiver, or is he more of a complimentary #3?
Pierce has the speed and size, but his route running seems to be a work in progress. So, what’ll it be, Indy? Are you rolling with your pick, or are you using your large cap number to go sign another guy? Maybe someone like, oh, I don’t know, JuJu Smith-Schuster? Who had a resurgent year in Kansas City playing with Patrick Mahomes and learning from Andy Reid.
I say stick with Pierce and let him try to explode in a downfield role. But to throw downfield, you need time. So this brings me to my next point…
PROTECT YOUR QB!
The Colts were the second-worst pass protection team in the NFL last season. They need to fix this. You cannot, and I repeat this again because teams seem to forget this; you CAN NOT let your young QB get his ass kicked over and over again.
Doing that is a really good way to shell-shock your guy and render him a shell of himself. Spend your cap on a guy like Mike McGlinchey from the 49ers. The Colts are not going to spend every dime they have on offense, but they should spend a majority of it on that side of the ball because, let’s be real, shit got ugly.
‘TIL NEXT TIME
So that wraps up this article! The offseason is just starting, and we here at Club Fantasy have some really fun stuff cooking for the upcoming year!
Remember, it’s never goodbye. It’s just ’til next time! Until then, be good, be good to each other, and remember that fantasy football is a game about a game. So don’t take it so seriously! Have fun, everyone!
We might not be able to fix every team this offseason, but you can click here to see who else we fixed!