KRAVITZ: A look at Colts free agents – who should stay and who should go

Indianapolis Colts' Adam Vinatieri (4) celebrates after booting a winning 51-yard field goal during overtime of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
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Bob Kravitz

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - WTHR.com's Bob Kravitz looks at 10 Colts players heading into free agency this off-season:

  • Adam Vinatieri – All things being equal, Vinatieri very much wants to return to Indianapolis and finish his amazing career here. Even at age 44, there’s been no sign that Vinatieri’s skills have diminished, and he was well on his way to making 90 percent or more of his field goals before the Colts ran into a blizzard in Buffalo. To me, bringing him back is an absolute no brainer; you don’t know how important an accurate kicker is until you don’t have one. Vinatieri took more of an incentive-laden contract the last time around; don’t look for him to be quite so charitable this time around. Vinatieri is chasing Morten Andersen's points record, and he should get to do it here in Indianapolis.
  • Donte Moncrief – The guy looks great getting off the bus, but put him on the football field, and he’s not nearly as impressive. He’s got the size, the speed, and he’s just 24-years-old, but… There are lots of “buts.’’ He’s been given a number of years to prove himself as a bookend to T.Y. Hilton, and he’s not yet had that breakthrough season and may never have that breakthrough. If I was running the show, I’d let Moncrief walk and dive into the free agency pool, where there will be several good wide-receiving candidates.
  • Rashaan Melvin – After a couple of years of bouncing around the league, the light went on for Melvin this year, and he did a terrific job against some of the best receivers in the league. Week after week, he was among Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated corners. He’s a guy the Colts need to retain, as long as the money is reasonable – and with Drew Rosenhaus as his new agent, you know Melvin views this (and properly so) as his big chance to cash in on a life-changing contract. Before his season-ending injury, he was the Colts No. 1 cornerback, and it would be smart to keep him there as a leader of the unit.
  • Pierre Desir – Got to admit, this guy’s story is so compelling (I wrote about it here), I find myself rooting for him and his young family to find a home in Indianapolis. Not sure if he comes back as a starter or a reserve behind Quincy Wilson or whoever else the Colts bring along, but it seems to me, he’s a very good piece to the defensive puzzle and likely won’t break the bank. Desir also strikes me as a person who is good for the Colts locker room culture.
  • Kamar Aiken – See ya.
  • Frank Gore – One of my favorite Colts since I began following the team in 2000 and yet, he’s currently 34 and it just makes sense for Indy to get younger in the offensive backfield. Marlon Mack will be back as will Robert Turbin, and it’s fair to assume the Colts will grab a running back either in the draft or in free agency. General Manager Chris Ballard has taken an old team and made it younger, and I suspect he will continue to move in that direction. Having said that, Gore will be missed.
  • Jack Mewhort – Again, everything depends on what the Colts plan to do in the offseason. Mewhort isn’t a Pro Bowl guard, but he isn’t a bust, either; he’s, well, workmanlike. This is a tough call, honestly. A lot will depend on the Colts’ plans at that position and how much Mewhort will demand in a contract. A 50-50 proposition, in my view.
  • Darius Butler – Another personal favorite, both as a player and a person. He’s everything the Colts could want in terms of a player who represents the best of the franchise, but he’s 32 years old and he’s a backup safety on a team that will be returning Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker. Butler has been the ultimate good soldier, moving from nickel corner to safety without complaint or hesitation, but I have my doubts as to whether he will return. Like anything, a lot will depend on the contract numbers. Maybe for a one-year deal, you make the move to keep him. Maybe.
  • Jon Bostic – The inside linebacker was much better late in the season than he was early in the season, but if the Colts can upgrade this offseason, I say you let him walk. The Colts were routinely scorched by passes over the middle of the field, and by tight ends and backs in particular. Pretty stout in the run game, but struggles in space. The Colts can do better, or so you would think.
  • Barkevious Mingo – He played reasonably well in place of injured outside linebacker John Simon late in the season, and doesn’t figure to cost very much, but it ultimately comes down to cash. He’s a solid backup, a special-teamer and appears to be a very good locker room guy. For the right price, he’s a keeper. If he’s too expensive, no thanks.

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