The Colts did not do much conventionally to add depth to their backfield this offseason, leaving them with no obvious change-of-pace option behind 33-year-old Frank Gore. But the team did place a high priority on signing UDFA Josh Ferguson, a player a source told Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star the Colts eyed as high as the fourth round.
Indianapolis took defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway and linebacker Antonio Morrison with their two fourth-round selections and continued to address issues on both sides of their line in the fifth and seventh rounds. The Colts, though, immediately turned their attention to the versatile Illinois running back by telling Ferguson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to “name his price” when it came time to add UDFAs.
Ferguson ended up signing for $35K guaranteed with a $10K signing bonus. Holder adds that the versatile ball-carrier’s compensation package was one of the league’s most lucrative proposals offered to a 2016 undrafted player. He’ll still earn the league minimum at $450K if he makes the team, but given that Indianapolis doesn’t house many deterrents to that occurring, the former crafty Big Ten pass-catcher could well see the latter amount instead of a practice squad salary.
As Roster Resource details, the Colts’ contingent behind Gore consists of Robert Turbin, Jordan Todman, Trey Williams and Tyler Varga, so the shifty Ferguson — who totaled 4,093 yards from scrimmage from 2011-15, including making 168 career receptions for 1,507 yards and eight touchdowns — will have an easier route to a roster spot than most UDFA running backs will this summer.
Here’s the latest on the Colts’ top rivals.
- In projecting the Jaguars‘ 53-man roster, Jacksonville.com’s Ryan O’Halloran projects Sen’Derrick Marks to lose his starting job and instead tabs Roy Miller to play alongside Malik Jackson at defensive tackle, with Jared Odrick and Dante Fowler Jr. lining up with the first-string ends. Jackson hasn’t played defensive tackle since 2013 with the Broncos, but the highly coveted performer served as a disruptive presence for the AFC champions that year. He’s played three positions in the past three years, shifting to 4-3 end in 2014 and 3-4 end last season. Marks tore his ACL to close the 2014 season and saw knee and triceps injuries limit him to four games in 2015, so the former ascending talent’s star has fallen to some degree.
- With another big year, Allen Robinson should see a deal that pays north of $25MM in guaranteed money, O’Halloran writes. Considering the Jags paid their second-best Allen pass-catcher $20MM guaranteed when Allen Hurns signed for four years and $40MM earlier this month, $25MM would be an easy floor should Robinson produce a similar season in 2016. Not yet 23, he’s nearly two years younger than Hurns and is coming off a 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown season.
- Tashaun Gipson didn’t exactly deviate from the norm when he said he was excited to leave the Browns and join the Jaguars because he wanted to play for a winning team. Players often are quick to praise the teams that just agreed to pay them, regardless of their recent accomplishments. But the fifth-year safety explained on a Sirius XM Radio appearance (Facebook link) that while the Jags haven’t been a winning team in many years, their collection of talent has placed the team in a position to win. “A lot of people didn’t understand that. It doesn’t mean that, ‘Hey, I’m coming to the Jaguars, we just came off a Super Bowl.’ But I know what it looks like when you’re changing an organization and you turn this thing around and you’ve got all those pieces in the right part,” Gipson said. “And I think that, when you look at this organization, yeah they were 5-11 last year, but a lot of the things that needed to be addressed were addressed in free agency and the draft, as everybody knows.” Jacksonville hasn’t pieced together a winning season since 2007, when David Garrard quarterbacked them to an 11-5 record and a divisional playoff game.
- The Titans will look to use their No. 1 position in the waiver hierarchy to add offensive line depth, Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com writes. While Tennessee does have some depth on its interior line given that the loser of the Brian Schwenke–Jeremiah Poutasi left guard competition will be a quality backup, not much else in terms of seasoning exists.
- Despite going into only his second year with the Texans, Cecil Shorts accepted a pay cut on Saturday.