The Colts' late-season collapse in 2021 may ultimately be looked at as a turning point for the franchise. After losses to Las Vegas and Jacksonville eliminated them from playoff contention, the Colts have spent the 2022 offseason adding significant pieces to their roster with the hope of avoiding another letdown.
On Friday, Indianapolis made headlines on an otherwise sleepy offseason day with the signing of cornerback Stephon Gilmore. A former Pro Bowler for the Bills, Patriots and Panthers, the 31-year-old Gilmore won Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 after leading the league with six picks and 20 passes defensed. A Pro Bowler each of the last four years, Gilmore earned consecutive All-Pro nods in New England while helping the Patriots hold the Rams to just three points in Super Bowl LIII. He continued to play at a Pro Bowl level after returning from a quad injury that sidelined him for the first half of the 2021 season, his only season in Carolina.
Gilmore's addition to the Colts' roster is significant. According to CBS Spots data scientist Stephen Oh, the Colts' odds at winning the AFC South division rose from 59.4% to 65.5% with Gilmore's acquisition. Indianapolis' playoff odds rose from 74.9% to 80.6%, while their odds at capturing the AFC climbed from 8.7% to 10.9%. The Colts' chances at hoisting the Lombardi Trophy rose from 4% to 5.2%.
Along with Gilmore, the Colts' offseason has included the signings of fellow defensive backs Rodney McLeod, Brandon Facyson, Armani Watts, and linebacker Brandon King. Indianapolis also traded for former league MVP Matt Ryan and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. They also re-signed tight end Mo Alie-Cox, linebacker Zaire Franklin, defensive end Tyquan Lewis, and offensive tackle Matt Pryor.
Indianapolis has revamped its secondary a year after finishing 19th in the NFL in passing yards allowed and 31st in touchdown passes permitted. Despite its struggles on the back end, the Colts' defense still managed to finish ninth in the NFL in total points allowed. Along with allowing fewer passing yards, the addition of Gilmore should help the Colts' defense improve on third-down and red-zone efficiency after finishing 19th and 25th in the league in those areas in 2021.
A 9-8 outfit in 2021, the Colts return some of the league's top players in linebacker Darius Leonard, cornerback Kenny Moore, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, offensive lineman Quenton Nelson, receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and running back Jonathan Taylor. Taylor, the NFL's reigning rushing champion, finished second behind Rams wideout Cooper Kupp in Offensive Player of the Year voting.