The Indianapolis Colts are entering this offseason with plenty of roster issues. However, another one could appear if the team cannot find a way to re-sign tight end Jack Doyle.
Tuesday, Doyle reportedly informed the Colts of his decision to test the free agent market. This news was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter who also said the franchise spent the “past week” trying to re-sign him.
After spending the first three years of his NFL career as the Colts’ No. 3 tight end and their “Jack-of-all-trades” player, Doyle had a breakout 2016 campaign.
He entered the season as the team’s No. 2 tight end. However, he proved to be much more than that. He opened the season with a two-touchdown performance and quickly became one of quarterback Andrew Luck‘s most reliable targets.
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Doyle finished the season with 59 receptions for 584 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns. He finished second on the team in catches, targets (75) and yards.
Obviously, Doyle is trying to cash in on his one season of brilliance. It is likely general manager Chris Ballard offered Doyle a fair contract. However, Doyle could have viewed as a low offer and decided to see what he could get in the free agent market.
He also was not a heavily recruited high school player or a heavily sought after commodity once he left Western Kentucky. As a result, free agency is very appealing to Doyle. Everyone wants to feel wanted, and Doyle is no exception.
Whatever his reason for wanting to test the market is, the Colts should be concerned. They could lose a crucial piece of their offense. Under offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, the team utilized two-tight end sets very often.
With Doyle and Dwayne Allen, the Colts had a solid duo that could either be receivers or blockers on every down. Their versatility as pass catchers and blockers allows them to lineup anywhere in Indianapolis’ formations.
With that in mind, losing Doyle would be a crushing loss for the Colts. They do not have a backup plan to replace him. No. 3 tight Erik Swoope is a free agent and might not be the best option as a replacement.
Meanwhile, the tight end market is light with oft-injured players Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook as the top guys. With those options, the Colts should consider slightly overpaying Doyle if it means keeping him in Indy.
There are no reports that Doyle does not want to re-sign with the Colts. However, it is still concerning he did not re-sign with the team. Teams can start contacting Doyle for his services on March 7.