Colts sign WR Devin Funchess to a one-year deal that limits liability; if Funchess busts, no harm done

Devin Funchess can be good or he can be bad. Either way – he’s a one-year stop gap.

The Colts will sign wide receiver Devin Funchess to a one-year, $13 million deal when free agency opens tomorrow.

The shorter the term of the deal, the more manageable the downside, so even if Funchess is a bust, the Colts will only experience a small ding as a consequence.

The upside is dependent upon Funchess reverting to his 2017 form when he caught 63 passes for 840 yards and eight touchdowns.  He’s kind of an anti-T.Y. Hilton in that he is tall (6’4″), slow (4.7 in the 40 at the combine), and the owner of occasionally balky hands.

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Funchess does his best work in the red zone, which will give the Colts another matchup nightmare in tight areas.

This signing shows the wisdom Colts GM Chris Ballard brings to bear in making big boy decisions – even when he has the deepest pockets in the NFL – as he does this offseason with a reported $105 million of cap money to spend.

Ballard is a process guy, and the Colts process does not involve investing big money long term in an asset as difficult to predict as an NFL free agent.

The problem with spending big money over a long term on a free agent is that the player’s previous employer made the decision not to invest in him at that level for some reason.  Why would the new team believe it knows more about a guy than the old team?

Colts fans know how the other end of this stick works.  Former GM Ryan Grigson spent big bucks over a long term on guys like Gosder Cherilus, Art Jones, LaRon Landry, Donald Thomas, and others.  Most busted, and the franchise cratered.

Mistakes in free agency will happen, but managing liability is the key to continuing consistent success.

Losing assets because of poor financial planning is NFL managerial malpractice, and Ballard is resolved to never painting the Colts into that corner of shame.

Specific to Funchess, he was a drop machine his first two seasons, and was unreliable in year four.  But in his third season, Funchess was really good – catching 67 balls on 117 targets with only three drops.

A one-year prove-it deal with a quarterback like Andrew Luck might be the tonic Funchess needs to return to his 2017 form as a very productive number two wide receiver.

If not, he’s $13M poorly spent during a season when the Colts aren’t spending to the cap anyway.

Ballard’s a smart guy.

2 thoughts on “Colts sign WR Devin Funchess to a one-year deal that limits liability; if Funchess busts, no harm done

  1. Brent W McNiece

    I love the kid just as I liked Ebron coming out of college. I would rather ‘prove it’ at 9 or 10, but someone else would have given him what I call ‘stupid money.’

    Some people forget we will get Cain back from injury too. We still have the draft where the Colts have made some good choices as we know.

    I am not following as closely as I have in the past, but I’m with my man Kent Sterling on Funchess. Luck throws such a ‘pretty’ ball. I am shocked that receivers are not standing in line wanting to play for the Colts. B Mc.

    ****How many picks do we have? Do you have the numbers? Thanks everyone for taking the time to read my comments.

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      We have nine picks – two in the second and two in the fourth. The second round pick (#34) came from the Jets as part of the deal flipping the 6th overall pick last year for the 3rd. The fourth rounder is a compensatory pick at #136.


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