Colts Linked to Possible Reunion with Former Second-Round Pick

The Indianapolis Colts have a gaping hole at cornerback. It also just so happens that one of the team’s former top draft picks at the position is available.

The Colts traded cornerback Rock Ya-Sin to the Las Vegas Raiders last offseason. Ya-Sin, though, didn’t land a long-term contract with the Raiders and is testing free agency this month.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine called the Colts one of the best three fits for Ya-Sin in NFL free agency.

“The Colts should also be looking into bringing back Ya-Sin,” Ballentine wrote. “When they traded him away, they were essentially dealing a player at a position of strength to get some much-needed pass-rush help.

“Now, they are in need of corners again after trading away Stephon Gilmore.”

Ya-Sin has posted 183 combined tackles, 27 pass defenses and 2 interceptions in 52 NFL games. He recorded 138 combined tackles with 20 pass defenses in 41 contests over three years with the Colts.

Indianapolis’ Need at Cornerback

Colts general manager Chris Ballard dealt Ya-Sin for edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue and then signed Stephon Gilmore in free agency last year. The two moves allowed Indianapolis to trade from a position of strength to add a pass rusher and then to sign a former Defensive Player of the Year winner to cornerback.

Those shrewd moves, though, were essentially for only one season, as the Colts have allowed Ngakoue to leave in free agency and traded Gilmore to the Dallas Cowboys.

Furthermore, Indianapolis saw fellow cornerback Brandon Facyson also depart in free agency for the Raiders.

Suddenly, cornerback is no longer a position of strength for the Colts; it’s perhaps the biggest hole on the roster.

The Colts only have three cornerbacks who played at all during the 2022 season currently on their roster, and one of those cornerbacks, Dallis Flowers, was an undrafted rookie who mostly played special teams.

Indianapolis’ top two cornerbacks remaining, Isaiah Rodgers and Kenny Moore, are also not signed beyond 2023.

The Colts need short and long-term help at cornerback. Surely, it’s a spot the team will address in the draft.

But with quarterback likely the pick for the Colts in the first round at No. 4, adding a veteran such as Ya-Sin could be key to the team’s cornerback depth problems for 2023.

Ya-Sin started 29 games for the Colts from 2019-21. He started a career-high 13 games as a rookie in 2019. He also posted a career-high 62 combined tackles that season, but he recorded a career-best 8 pass defenses in 2021.

Concerns Around Rock Ya-Sin’s Health?

Ya-Sin only played 11 games last year because he missed most of December with a back injury. Ballentine speculated that could hurt his chances of getting a long-term deal in free agency.

“The problem is he’s coming off a back injury that ended his season early,” Ballentine wrote. “Whatever team signs him is likely going to want a one- or two-year deal with an out after the first year in case he doesn’t come back the same player.”

While the injury may be concerning for Ballard, Ya-Sin’s situation could actually help him land back in Indianapolis. The longer he lasts in free agency, the lower his asking price may get.

Ballard loves getting bargains in free agency, which Ya-Sin could become if he remains on the market.

A short-term deal is likely better for the Colts anyway. Ya-Sin could work as a bridge starter until the franchise receives the chance to prioritize cornerback early in the draft.

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