- Ryan Wooden All 22
The Indianapolis Colts released cornerback Vontae Davis on Thursday, but it likely won’t be until 2018 when he gets the chance to continue his career.
However, when he does, he should have a variety of options on the table provided that he’s healthy.
Davis is expected to undergo surgery on his groin at some point soon. He’d been playing through the injury but got a second opinion and it was announced that he’d require surgery on Wednesday.
Unfortunately, Davis and the Colts haven’t seen eye-to-eye on how to handle the injury. They decided to leave him at home when they traveled to Houston to take on the Texans last weekend and Davis took that to be a sign of disrespect.
That inevitably led to his release. And while he’ll still have to technically pass through waivers, given his injury status and the over $4 million he’s owed for the remainder of the 2017 season, it’s expected that he’ll become a free agent later this week.
If everything goes well with his impending groin surgery, that should put him in a position to get a jump on the rest of the free agency market sometime in February. There’s he should attract interest from a number of teams, including these contenders.
The Dallas Cowboys went young in their secondary by necessity in 2017 and it’s, not surprisingly, still a work in progress. However, if they continue to be a liability through the second half and into the postseason, it’d certainly make sense that they would consider bringing on some experience.
Given their cap constraints, they won’t want to spend excessively, which could put Davis in play despite the clear risk that comes with signing a big-name 30-year-old coming off a surgery. And, even though Davis was a problem for the Colts at times, we know Jerry Jones loves second chances.
This is almost solely contingent on whether or not the New England Patriots decide to bring back Malcolm Butler. If they do, they won’t have a huge need at the position and they’ll have already sewn up a lot of money into their secondary.
However, if they don’t, Davis makes some sense. Belichick has certainly preferred youth in the secondary of late, but Rodney Harrison and Tyrone Poole both helped rejuvenate the Patriots secondary after joining the team as free agents in their thirties back in 2003, so it’s not unheard of.
It might not be the Green Bay Packers’ most pressing need, considering their lack of a pass rush, but the secondary has struggled since letting Casey Heyward and Micah Hyde walk in free agency the past two seasons. Provided that he’s healthy, Davis can give them a couple seasons worth of quality play to tide them over while they wait for either the young talent they have to develop or for new young talent to arrive.
Clearly, getting healthy is the top priority because a clean bill of health should assure him a healthy payday, albeit nothing near what he was being paid by the Colts. Once he’s there, he should have an assortment of options.
A lot can change between now and then, so there’s nothing that guarantees these specific options will be available to him. So, in general, his focus should be on the offer that gives him the best chance of playing immediately with the least amount of risk.
In other words, he should lean towards the deal that’s least dependent on “not likely to be earned” incentives because that’s how he can guarantee that he isn’t put out to pasture in the event that it takes him some time to get back up to speed.
Players seem to love betting on themselves with those types of deals, and it’s understandable, but a career becomes fleeting post-30 and he’s got to be smart about his next decision. It could make the difference between him playing for four or five more years or being out of the league in the next couple seasons.
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