First things first this season is no longer a “tank for draft pick” season, this is an “increase trade stock season/show you should be on this team” season. Players like Jacoby Brissett and maybe Anthony Castonzo will have to play to improve trade value by playing great and winning at most one more game, I’ll tell you why later. As for players that need to show that they belong on the Colts come next year, Donte Moncrief, Joe Haeg, Jon Bostic, Antonio Morrison, and Vontae Davis. Yes that is a lot of players, but with Ballard at the helm who straight up cut his fourth round pick last year you never know who is safe. Also to prove the point recall back to the trade deadline, Ballard was rumored to be shopping T.Y. Hilton.
Now, back to Brissett, he needs to preform like he did against the Texans in week 9. Brissett was able to pass for 308 yards and two touchdowns having a 20/30 completion/attempt ratio totaling up a 122.6 passer rating. Keeping this up would bring Brissett’s trade value up to a pick in the first round between 10 and 15. Anthony Castonzo is most likely on his way out this year or next year. If Castonzo can play well enough to bring up trade value but not well enough for Ballard to keep him then the Colts would be able to acquire a solid player or draft pick.
Players like Moncrief and Vontae Davis need to prove that they deserve a contract by playing the best seven games of their careers. Moncrief only had one reception for seven yards against the Texans, and if he wants a contract come this offseason, he will need to be able to make more plays happen than just one. As for Vontae Davis, he will need to actually make the trip to their games as he did not make the trip to Houston this past week. Besides actually going to the games he will need to up his play. Davis has allowed to many big yard games and touchdowns in games the Colts could have and should have won.
As for Joe Haeg, Jon Bostic, and Antonio Morrison, they need to show that they can step up for these last seven games of the season and preform at the high level Ballard will need they to play at next season. So far this season Joe Haeg hasn’t done bad at the right tackle spot, but he could do better. Jon Bostic and Antonio Morrison haven’t performed like how Ballard wants and if they change that now, they might have a spot on the team come next year. As of right now the only players I see having a spot on the team next year out of the five I listed are Joe Haeg, Castanzo, and Donte Moncrief. Moncrief only if he’s willing to resign for cheap.
As for why I said they Colts can win one more game at most, the fourth or fifth overall pick. With that pick I see the Colts taking either Minkah Fitzpatrick out of Alabama or Connor Williams out of Texas. These are both players that would fill positions of need. I’m more favorable towards Fitzpatrick as the Colts could select Quentin Nelson out of Notre Dame with the pick they would get from Brissett. There is no longer a need for tanking, but no need to win, the Colts are not making the playoffs this year and it’s understandable, so getting the fourth or fifth overall pick would benefit the Colts a lot.
Also a little side note about the rumors regarding the Colts scouting quarterbacks for this draft, when the Colts trade away Brissett, then end up cutting Tolzien because of his cap hit, the Colts would only have Andrew Luck on the roster as a QB, so I could see the Colts drafting one late in the draft, then signing one in free agency to be the back up. Don’t get worried about Luck, he will play again, putting him on IR and scouting quarterbacks is to get him heathy, and to get him a good back up for when the Colts are hopefully up 50-3 in the fourth quarter of games. Yeah I know, but a man can dream right?