5 Realistic Trade Scenarios for Indianapolis Colts to Pursue This Offseason
As the Indianapolis Colts continue to rebuild into a Super Bowl contender once again, this offseason is an excellent chance for them to bring in key pieces, and there are a number of realistic trade scenarios that would be beneficial for this team.
After falling to the New England Patriots in the AFC divisional round, the Colts have wasted no time bringing in new faces. From unknown CFL and AFL prospects like 6'9'' offensive tackle Jack Breckner to hiring former Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski to serve as special assistant to the head coach, the Colts are casting a wide net to continue to improve as an organization.
General manager Ryan Grigson isn't afraid to make plenty of moves during the offseason, and a trade or two could be a real possibility over the next couple of months. With that being said, let's take a look at a few possible trade scenarios that would help the Colts before the regular season begins.
1. Colts Trade for 1st-Round Pick
After trading for running back Trent Richardson, the Colts are without a first-round pick this year. While it's not entirely likely they do this, I still think there's a chance that Grigson decides to be aggressive and trade up to try to grab a late first-round selection to fill one of the holes on defense.
For an 11-5 team that won a playoff game, the Colts have more needs than you would expect. Adding a first-round prospect could potentially fill one of those holes quickly.
If the Colts decided to grab a first-round selection, they could go a number of ways. They could address the pass rush by taking a player like Kony Ealy from Missouri or Dee Ford out of Auburn, although the Colts may still want to be patient with Bjoern Werner before taking another pass-rusher.
Secondary is also a possibility, even if they bring back Vontae Davis due to the lack of depth at the position. Prospects like TCU's Jason Verrett or Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard would be welcome additions to the defense.
Possibly trading a 2015 first-round pick along with a mid-round selection this year could give the Colts an opportunity to add a talented prospect now rather than later. The only question is whether or not Grigson wants to be this aggressive in a crucial offseason.
2. Colts Trade Down in 2014 NFL Draft
As of right now, the Colts only have six total selections in the NFL draft this year, including just two during the first four rounds. With so few picks, the Colts may be open to trading down a few spots in either the second or third round in order to add another pick or two.
The good news for the Colts is that if they trade down at one of these spots, this year's draft is so deep that they could still likely address key needs with some solid prospects. One of the bigger names that Colts fans have talked about is Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson, and he might still be available early in the third round if the Colts trade down from their second-round pick.
Trading down at some point to add some draft picks seems a bit more likely than moving up for a first-round pick, but both decisions have their pros and cons.
3. Trade Away Vick Ballard
This might not be a trade I would necessarily agree with, but I do recognize the logic behind it and the potential for it to happen.
The current running back situation in Indianapolis is a complicated one. Colts fans are not very fond of Richardson, but the team will likely stay committed to the man they gave up a first-round pick for. Meanwhile, the Colts have a decision as to whether or not to bring back either Ahmad Bradshaw or Donald Brown, who are both free agents.
Meanwhile, the Colts will also have Vick Ballard coming back from a torn ACL. Despite the injury, Ballard's stock is quite high after a promising rookie season despite running behind a struggling offensive line. Given the fact that he's still on a rookie deal for the next two seasons, teams would have no problem bringing in his contract.
The Colts have the cap space to either take on the bigger contract of a veteran players or bring in a few extra draft picks. This trade might not be likely—and I personally hope it doesn't happen—but the potential to bring in some key pieces or draft picks could tempt the Colts to give up Ballard and help simplify the running back situation.
4. Trade for Justin Blackmon
Sooner or later, the Colts are going to have to bring in help at wide receiver. T.Y. Hilton will likely be a great receiver for a long time, but Reggie Wayne has a year or two left and the young players in Da'Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen aren't guaranteed to become long-term impact players at the position.
An intriguing name to trade for would be Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon. He's shown a ton of talent and potential in his first two years in the NFL, but the problem for him has been continuously violating the league's substance abuse policy, as he's one strike away from potentially being banished from the league.
This isn't the first time the idea of the Colts trading for Blackmon has been discussed. According to Pro Football Talk, the Colts were reportedly in the mix for Blackmon before the trade deadline last season.
After playing in just four games in 2013, Blackmon could likely be traded for a bargain considering just how talented he is. Head coach Chuck Pagano is the ideal mentor for a player with Blackmon's history, but it's still no guarantee.
This would be a risky move, but if Blackmon could stay clean and stay committed to the team, he would be a major asset that could give Andrew Luck another weapon.
5. Trade for Offensive Guard
If the Colts want to make a major splash with an established NFL player rather than a prospect, it would make sense for them to be aggressive and try to add another piece to the offensive line to continue to protect Luck.
In terms of the starting O-line, the Colts are in good shape at offensive tackle with Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus, but the interior of the offensive line is still in question. Fortunately, Donald Thomas will be coming back after tearing his quad early in 2013, but the Colts still need more help inside, as Luck was still tossed around often this past season.
The Colts could get pretty aggressive trying to shop for an offensive guard, either by trading away draft picks or players at positions where they are in pretty good shape. Players that would be intriguing targets including Marshal Yanda of the Baltimore Ravens, Brandon Fusco from the Minnesota Vikings and David DeCastro from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
At the end of the day, the Colts may want to add help on the offensive line through the draft, but given the other holes on this team, perhaps trading for an offensive guard would be the better move.