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When free agency arrives in mid-March, the Indianapolis Colts will be looking to address some of their needs ahead of the 2021 NFL draft. Among the positions that could be addressed in free agency is at tight end.
The Colts still have Jack Doyle under contract and Mo Alie-Cox should be expected to be re-signed given that he’s a restricted free agent while Trey Burton is set to hit the market. Needing a more explosive pass catcher in the group, there are some intriguing options in free agency.
Talking about solely unrestricted free agents, here are five tight ends the Colts should consider signing:
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Age: 26 Previous Team: Los Angeles Chargers Assuming he doesn't re-sign with the Chargers before the new league year arrives, Henry will be the big fish at the tight end position. Whether the Colts are going to want to pay up for the oft-injured tight end isn't clear but he's shown to be a strong pass-catcher when healthy. Henry has yet to play a full season since he entered the league in 2016. In 14 games during the 2020 season, Henry caught 60 passes for 613 yards and four touchdowns. He would be a nice fit for the offense given how much Frank Reich likes to use the position, but it's going to come down to money, and if we had to make a prediction, it's unlikely the Colts will pay up for him.
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Age: 25 Previous Team: Tennesse Titans Smith is a very intriguing option for the Colts. He's an explosive athlete who can win with speed and size and would be the perfect field stretcher for Reich's offense down the seam. Smith exploded at the start of the 2020 season but cooled off during the second half. Even so, Smith would be a strong asset in a receiving role for the Colts. They would be able to scheme in a way to get him some valuable touches where he can use his speed and explosiveness.
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Age: 26 Previous Team: Los Angeles Rams Like the aforementioned Smith, Everett is a field stretcher who would thrive in a pass-catching role in Reich's offense. Though he has been inconsistent during his tenure with the Rams, he has the athleticism and speed to be a dangerous weapon in the Colts offense. He won't offer much as a blocker but can be a nice option in the passing game. Another thing with Everett is that he will likely come cheap. He had modest production with the Rams, and the Colts could get away with signing him to a cheap one or two-year deal. It would be a nice low-risk, high-reward option if he hits the market.
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Age: 25 Previous Team: Arizona Cardinals Catching a theme here? Most of these options aren't the best blockers but can make a difference in the passing game. Arnold has shown over the last two seasons that while he has been inconsistent, he has what it takes to be a viable receiving option. He averaged 14.1 yards per reception with the Cardinals under Kliff Kingsbury and could have a similar impact with the Colts. He wouldn't be a three-down starting tight end, but Arnold would be an intriguing asset over the middle.
Age: 28 Previous Team: New York Jets If the Colts wanted to go really cheap—I mean really cheap—they could reunite with Travis, who had a short stint with the team at the end of 2017 and was with the team in 2018 before he tore his ACL during the preseason finale. He was on the offseason roster with the Colts in 2019 but was waived during roster cuts. The Colts know Travis is a viable pass-catching weapon and could be a nice depth piece. If they wanted to select a developmental pass-catcher in the draft, they could bring in Travis to compete for that receiving role.