Dec 24, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew (10) in action during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: QB Gardner Minshew agrees to one-year deal with Colts

The Indianapolis Colts and quarterback Gardner Minshew agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

The deal reportedly has incentives that could allow Minshew to make up to $5.5 million.

Minshew was a backup on the Philadelphia Eagles the past two seasons under offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, who is the new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

The reported deal comes one day after the Colts released veteran quarterback Matt Ryan, who didn’t live up to his past level of performance in his one season with the Colts.

Indianapolis is expected to select a quarterback in the first round of the 2023 draft. The Colts have the No. 4 overall pick.

Minshew’s familiarity with Steichen’s offense gives him a shot to open the season as the starter should a rookie need more time to develop.

Minshew went 1-3 as a starter in Philadelphia over the past two seasons while passing for 1,102 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions in nine appearances.

Overall, he has passed for 6,632 yards, 44 touchdowns and 15 interceptions over 32 appearances (24 starts) in four NFL seasons. He spent his first two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and went 7-13 as a starter.

–Field Level Media

Jan. 8, 2023; Indianapolis, IN; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (2) walks on the field Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, before a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Mandatory Credit: Robert Scheer-USA TODAY NETWORK

Reports: Colts release former NFL MVP Matt Ryan

The Indianapolis Colts ended the Matt Ryan experiment after one season, releasing the veteran quarterback on Tuesday, several reports said.

The Colts acquired the 2016 league MVP last spring in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons, but Ryan was unable to help the team’s longstanding issue at the quarterback position.

The Colts’ move to release Ryan frees up $17.2 million in cap space, while the team will maintain $18 million in dead salary for 2023.

Ryan, who turns 38 in May, injured a shoulder in Week 7 and then-coach Frank Reich announced the Colts would bench Ryan in favor of backup Sam Ehlinger for the rest of the season. Ryan got another chance after Reich was later fired and replaced by interim coach Jeff Saturday, but Ryan lost the starting job to Nick Foles in December.

In 12 starts for Indianapolis, Ryan threw for 3,057 yards, 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His 9.9 yards per completion marked a career low.

The Colts finished with a 4-12-1 record and will pick fourth overall in next month’s draft, making them a candidate to draft one of the top available quarterbacks.

If Ryan chooses to retire this offseason, he will conclude his NFL career having thrown for 62,792 yards and 381 touchdowns over 234 career games (all starts). He ranks seventh all-time in passing yardage, ninth in touchdowns and fifth in passing attempts (8,464).

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Indianapolis Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore (5) returns an interception as linebacker E.J. Speed (45) looks to make a block in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Cowboys acquire CB Stephon Gilmore from Colts

The Dallas Cowboys traded a 2023 fifth-round compensatory pick to the Indianapolis Colts to acquire veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore, ESPN and NFL Network reported Tuesday.

Gilmore, 32, is a five-time Pro Bowler and just four years removed from being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019.

Gilmore will also play on his fourth team in four years. After spending 2017-20 with the New England Patriots, Gilmore held out in 2021 and was traded to the Carolina Panthers in October.

He spent 2022 with the Colts after signing a two-year contract worth up to $23 million last April. He started 16 games for Indianapolis and grabbed two interceptions to go with 66 tackles and 11 pass breakups.

In 11 years with the Buffalo Bills (2012-16), Patriots, Panthers and Colts, Gilmore has recorded 493 tackles, 127 pass breakups and 29 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke (58) warms up Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, before a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Giants agree to terms with LB Bobby Okereke

The New York Giants will sign former Indianapolis Colt Bobby Okereke, regarded as one of the top inside linebackers available in free agency, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

The Giants and Okereke agreed to terms for a four-year, $40 million contract, with $22 million guaranteed, according to the reports. Monday was the first day of the NFL’s free agent negotiating period.

Okereke, 26, played four seasons in Indianapolis and is coming off his best campaign, as he a career-high 151 tackles, including 99 solo. He made 17 of those tackles (his single-game best) with 13 solo in a 38-10 loss to the Giants in Week 17.

The Colts drafted him in the third round out of Stanford in 2019. After starting eight games in both his rookie and second seasons, the 6-foot-1, 235-pounder became a full-time starter in 2021, when he had 132 tackles (89 solo).

For his career, Okereke has 420 tackles (293 solo), 15 tackles for loss, four quarterback hits, two sacks, four forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries in 64 games (49 starts).

–Field Level Media

Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Colts GM downplays desire to deal for No. 1 pick

Carousel is not a winning plan at quarterback, that much the Indianapolis Colts have proven since Andrew Luck retired before the 2019 season.

But general manager Chris Ballard denied the Colts’ need to move up from the No. 4 overall pick to find a long-term solution at the position, especially if it means a deal for the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft.

“Everybody has already stamped that you have to move up to No. 1 to get the guy. I don’t know I believe that,” said Ballard, whose trades for Carson Wentz (2021) and Matt Ryan (2022) flopped, sparking a coaching change last season and mandate from owner Jim Irsay to get it right this time.

“There’s got to be a guy worthy of it.”

Since Ballard became general manager in 2017, single-season stopgaps at quarterback haven’t held up with the exception of Philip Rivers, who followed Jacoby Brissett (2019).

Ballard has used 53 total draft picks and selected just two quarterbacks — Texas’ Sam Ehlinger was the 218th pick in the 2021 draft and Jacob Eason was selected 122nd overall in the 2020 draft after spending time at Georgia and Washington — and has a tendency to seek value in free agency and stockpile extra selections in the draft.

At coach Shane Steichen’s introductory press conference, Irsay sounded more than enamored with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. Young won the Heisman Trophy in 2021, but at 6-foot, 194 pounds, his height and weight are question marks.

“Do we stay put? Do we trade up? There’s really many things we can do,” Irsay said. “The Alabama guy doesn’t look bad, I’ll tell ya.”

Ballard said winning quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes. The Bears draft first and appear intent on dealing the pick to a team desperate for a fix at quarterback. The Houston Texans have the second pick and head coach DeMeco Ryans said Thursday the franchise “must add” a quarterback. Arizona has Kyler Murray at quarterback and the Cardinals pick third overall, meaning only one of the teams in the current top three needs a passer.

In addition to Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson are viewed as likely first-round picks.

Ballard asked rhetorically, “Who’s to say that we won’t get a good quarterback at 4?”

He was then questioned about what it would take to entice him to make the offer to the Bears to make the jump to No. 1.

“That we were just convicted. That this is no freaking doubt the guy,” Ballard said.

Ballard hired Steichen, offensive coordinator of the Eagles, as head coach in February. Steichen helped mold Jalen Hurts from second-round pick to MVP candidate in Philadelphia. Ballard said their success is a study in finding the right fit.

“The accuracy is one of the biggest things,” Steichen said. “I think when it’s third-and-8 and you’ve got to have it, you’ve got to be able to stand in the pocket and deliver a strike with a guy barreling down your chest. That says a lot about a guy’s toughness. I look for that on tape. The vetting process of it, the physical process, guys come in different shapes and sizes. We’ve seen Hall of Famers that are 6-foot, we’ve seen Hall of Famers that are 6-5. Again, it’s that “it” factor.”

–Field Level Media

Former Baltimore Colts star DT Fred Miller dies at 82

Former Baltimore Colts star defensive tackle Fred Miller died on Sunday at age 82.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed the death of Miller, who spent his entire NFL career with the franchise when it was located in Baltimore.

“Rest in peace, FRED MILLER, #76, 10-year starting DT of the Baltimore Colts. A three-time Pro Bowl selection,” Irsay said on Twitter.

Miller played 133 games (124 starts) with the Colts from 1963-72 and was a key figure on the team’s defense. He played in two Super Bowls and had five tackles in Baltimore’s 16-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V.

Miller’s Pro Bowl selections were in 1967, 1968 and 1969. He was second-team All-Pro in 1967 and 1968. Unofficially, he was credited with 52 career sacks.

Miller was a seventh-round pick in the 1962 draft after a standout career at LSU. He started on both the offensive and defensive lines during his three college seasons and was a first-team All-American. He was inducted into the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1964.

–Field Level Media

Indianapolis Colts Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley talks to players Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, before a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Report: Colts retain Gus Bradley as DC

Gus Bradley is returning to the Indianapolis Colts as defensive coordinator under new head coach Shane Steichen, ESPN reported Monday.

The move to retain Bradley had been expected.

Bradley, 56, is entering his second season as the defensive coordinator in Indianapolis. He held the same role with the Seattle Seahawks (2009-12) before spending four seasons as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also has served as the DC for the Los Angeles Chargers (2017-20) and Las Vegas Raiders (2021).

In 2022, the Colts’ defense was 15th in the NFL in total yardage, giving up 334.0 yards per game. Indianapolis gave up an average of 25.1 points per game, however, tied for third worst in the league.

The Colts finished last season at 4-12-1 under Frank Reich and interim coach Jeff Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Cleveland Browns special teams coach Mike Priefer on the sidelines in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Browns fire special teams coordinator Mike Priefer

The Cleveland Browns parted ways with special teams coordinator Mike Priefer after four seasons on Tuesday.

Multiple reports said the Browns have requested interviews with special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone of the Indianapolis Colts and special teams assistant Anthony Blevins of the New York Giants.

Priefer, 56, is a Cleveland native who was hired by coach Freddie Kitchens in 2019 and then retained by Kevin Stefanski.

After Stefanski tested positive for COVID-19, Priefer was the acting head coach for the Browns’ 48-37 wild-card win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 10, 2021.

“I appreciate everything Prief has done for this team in his three seasons as my special teams coordinator, but I have decided to move in another direction in the best interest of our organization,” Stefanski said. “I know this city will forever be grateful for the job he did as acting head coach in our AFC Wildcard win and for all his contributions while leading the Browns’ special teams’ units for the last four seasons. We wish Prief the best with his next opportunity.”

Priefer has also been the special teams coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings (2011-18), Denver Broncos (2009-10) and Kansas City Chiefs (2006-08).

Ventrone, 40, was a special teams standout for the Browns from 2009-12 during an eight-year career that included stops with the New England Patriots (2007-08) and San Francisco 49ers (2013-14).

Ventrone was an assistant special teams coach with the Patriots from 2015-17 before becoming the coordinator in Indianapolis in 2018.

Blevins, 46, has been with the Giants since 2018. He also worked on the special teams staff for the Arizona Cardinals from 2013-17.

–Field Level Media

Shane Steichen smiles as he listens to questions at a press conference Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023 announcing that he is the new Indianapolis Colts Head Coach. Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay and General Manager Chris Ballard introduced the new coach in the Gridiron Hall of the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

Shane Steichen Is The New Indianapolis Colts Head Coach

Report: Colts to hire Jim Bob Cooter as OC

The Indianapolis Colts are expected to hire Jim Bob Cooter as their offensive coordinator, multiple outlets reported Monday.

It would mark the first coordinator hire of new head coach Shane Steichen, who will be the offensive play caller for the Colts.

It would also mark Cooter’s second stint in Indy.

Also, the Colts are also hiring University of Cincinnati offensive coordinator Tom Manning as their tight ends coach, according to reports.

Cooter, 38, just completed his first season in Jacksonville as passing game coordinator under Doug Pederson. Cooter knows Steichen from Philadelphia, where Cooter was an offensive consultant in 2021 with the Eagles while Steichen was offensive coordinator.

Cooter got his coaching start in Indianapolis, where he was an offensive assistant under Jim Caldwell from 2009-11. After stops in Kansas City and Denver, Cooter followed Caldwell to Detroit, where he was the Lions’ quarterbacks coach in 2014-15 before being promoted to OC for the 2016-18 seasons. He was running backs coach under Adam Gase in New York from 2019-20 before working with Steichen in Philadelphia.

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Nyheim Hines (20) breaks through the New England Patriots special team to score a touchdown  on the opening kickoff at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Colts get fifth-round pick in Nyheim Hines trade

The Indianapolis Colts reportedly will receive Buffalo’s fifth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to complete the Nov. 1 trade of running back Nyheim Hines to the Bills.

At the time of the deal, it was announced that the Bills were sending running back Zack Moss and a conditional sixth-round pick to the Colts.

The undisclosed conditions required for that pick to increase to a fifth-rounder were met, The Athletic reported on Thursday.

Hines, 26, played mostly on special teams for Buffalo. He rushed six times for minus-3 yards and caught five passes for 53 yards and one touchdown in nine regular-season games for the Bills. He also averaged 29.2 yards per kickoff return and 9.6 yards per punt return after the trade.

In a memorable Week 18 performance against New England — Buffalo’s first action since Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field — Hines returned the opening kickoff and a third-quarter kickoff for touchdowns in a 35-23 win.

A fourth-round pick by the Colts in 2018, Hines has accumulated 4,823 all-purpose yards with 22 touchdowns in 81 games (17 starts) for Indianapolis and Buffalo.

–Field Level Media