We could be looking at one of the biggest free agency periods in recent memory if some of the notable names actually hit the open market. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Derrick Henry are just a few of the big names set to hit unrestricted free agency when the new league year opens on March 18th. One or more stands a good chance of signing a contract with their current team before then, but there is a chance one or more is taking calls when the tampering period opens on March 16th.
2019 in review
Ebron’s one of the most interesting free agents to project. After being a massive bust in Detroit, he had a career-year in 2018 with the Colts. Playing alongside Andrew Luck, Ebron posted career-highs in receptions (66), targets (110), yards (750) and touchdowns (13) by a mile. But Ebron only played 11 games in 2019 due to injury, and his numbers took a huge hit with Jacoby Brissett running the offense — a 31-375-3 line. Wherever he lands, 2020 could be a make-or-break season for the former top-10 pick.
Ebron’s expected to command interest as the third TE on the market, behind Austin Hooper and Hunter Henry. While both of those names could be testing the market, they are also still strong candidates to return to their current teams — potentially under the franchise tag. The Bears jump out as a strong potential landing spot for Ebron. Trey Burton set up as a trendy fantasy play/pick entering 2019, and fell flat on his face — catching just 14 passes for 84 yards in eight games. Part of the problem could be Mitch Trubisky, but even so, Burton posted a 54-569-6 line in 2018. Maybe Ebron and Trubisky can help each other grow a bit in 2020.
The trickledown effect will be there for Ebron, becoming a popular name once Hooper and Henry are off the board. Maybe one of those guys goes to Chicago, and Ebron ends up elsewhere. The Patriots are the obvious name in almost any TE conversation, getting very little production there after Gronk’s retirement. The Cardinals, Dolphins and Jaguars are all in the TE market.
Do the Colts want to keep him?
The Colts should absolutely want to keep Ebron given his resurgence in Indy, but it matters who the QB is. One potential scenario I like for Ebron remaining a Colt is the potential for him to play with Philip Rivers. When offered on DK Sportsbook, Rivers was +150 to sign with the Colts. Do I think that’s the best move for Indy? Nope. But Rivers helped Hunter Henry have some terrific seasons, and could do the same for Ebron.
Ebron is kind of a fantasy wildcard. He was arguably the biggest bright spot at TE in 2018, but has generally let fantasy owners down in his career. His personal fantasy value will have a ton to do with where he lands. Is he playing with Tom Brady in New England? Or does he become a Jaguar? The biggest implication I can think of is that if he leaves Indy, Jack Doyle would see a significant boost to his value for the 2020 season. Doyle could be an elite fantasy TE if he was featured in a No. 1 role.
A lot will depend on the domino effect of Hooper and Henry’s landing spots. But the top teams in the TE market are clear. The Patriots, Jags, Bears and Cardinals are looking for a difference-maker at the position. Returning to the Colts is also a very real possibility.