The Indianapolis Colts brought back veteran safety Clayton Geathers one a one-year deal this week to provide some depth in the defensive backfield, but for a while it seemed he might have been moving on.
As the process developed, Geathers took two reported free agent visits with the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Colts were allowing the 26-year-old to test the market before making their final offer.
When it was all said and done, though, Geathers knew he wanted to return to Indy, a place he considers his home.
“Being in Indy for all four years – it was different. It was some good visits,” Geathers told reporters earlier this week. “I’m not going to really get into details, but everything went well and I just made my decision to be home – be back in Indy. We’ve got a great thing going.”
A leader in the locker room and captain on the field, Geathers has made a big impact during his time in Indy. However, injuries have kept him from reaching his full potential, which could be high in the Colts’ two-high defense.
The talent Geathers has is unquestionable. He’s an enforcer near the line of scrimmage helping against the run while also working well as a deep half safety next to 2017 first-round pick Malik Hooker.
Still, proving he can stay healthy is his main objective for the 2019 season.
“Personally, just want to stay on the field,” Geathers said. “Be healthy and prove all the doubters wrong.”
The Colts defense made strides during the second half of the 2019 season, and Geathers was a big part of that. The entire unit is looking to make improvements for the upcoming campaign, and the former fourth-round pick will be at the forefront of the charge in Indy.
Continuing what they started defensively is what ultimately brought Geathers back.
“Just to be honest, this building, the staff, the training room, my teammates, what Indy has to offer and just after last year,” Geathers said. “We were good. We had a good run. We’ve got unfinished business so I wanted to be a part of that.”
The Indianapolis Colts have been thin at the safety position this offseason, but it seems they will be bringing in some depth as they are finalizing a deal to re-sign veteran Clayton Geathers.
An unrestricted free agent this offseason, Geathers was allowed to test the market, which he did with the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, it seems he’s returning to the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
The news was first reported by Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star and confirmed by Stephen Holder of The Athletic
There was always a high chance the Colts were going to bring Geathers back. Given their inactivity in the safety market and the massive need they have on the roster, the re-signing might be somewhat risky but necessary as well.
Geathers has been a solid producer for the Colts since he was drafted in 2015 and while his talents work nicely in the two-high scheme they run often, his injuries have kept him from reaching his potential.
In 12 games (12 starts) during the 2018 season, Geathers recorded 89 tackles (61 solo), three passes defended and one tackle for loss.
It should be noted nothing is official until the team announces it, but it seems Geathers is returning on a new deal.
Clayton Geathers is a big, physical, filled-out strong safety (6’2″, 218 lbs) who looks like Donte Whitner in his prime. He was a four-year starter at Central Florida and really became the leader of the defense there. He ran and tested overall much better than expected, showing speed, strength and explosive qualities. Geathers lives near the line of scrimmage and was an active, aggressive tackler in his career, posting 96 tackles in his senior season. He closes on the ball with speed and can run down backs behind the line of scrimmage. He’s a fierce hitter with the power to make a statement on impact.
Geathers is a limited coverage safety who must be played in the box. He’ll struggle with any coverage beyond 10 yards and is too often chasing receivers and tight ends instead of mirroring them. He was an active tackler, but he also missed plenty of tackles and left production on the field. Geathers looks for that huge hit instead of breaking down in space and making a clean, wrap-up tackle. In coverage, he has potential but has to learn to trust his eyes and not get sucked in by play action and misdirection. He can help on special teams early and has potential to develop into a starter if he can improve his awareness and tackling.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After going a couple of places, Clayton Geathers isn’t going anywhere. “This is home,’’ he said Wednesday. “Everybody welcomed me back. I wanted to be somewhere I was valued. “This is a good place.
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INDIANAPOLIS – Of the remaining free agents for the Colts in 2019, Clayton Geathers is probably the most likely to return.
The Colts want him back.
Chris Ballard reiterated that last week, just before meeting with Geathers’ agent about a possible second contract for the physical safety.
“Do we want Clayton back? Yes, we want Clayton back,” Ballard said last week. “We will have some good talks with his agent this week.”
Ballard credited Geathers’ agent, Joe Flanagan, for the job he’s done in representing the 2015 fourth-round pick of the Colts.
We will see if their conversation last week leads to a deal before free agency begins on March 13th.
The Colts have gone out of their way to praise the type of player and leader that Geathers has been.
“I love everything Clayton Geathers stands for,” Ballard said at the end of the 2018 season. “I watched a guy every week fight his tail off to get ready to play.”
Health has been the biggest question regarding Geathers’ early NFL career. Since his 2015 rookie season, the 26-year-old safety has missed 22 games, while playing in just 26 contests.
When asked about Geathers and the safety situation this offseason, Ballard agreed with the assessment that the Colts could very well handle things like they did with Jack Mewhort and the offensive line last year.
Mewhort, like Geathers, fought injuries but was a player the staff really liked. In turn, Ballard and the Colts gave Mewhort a 1-year ‘prove it’ deal as a re-signee in 2018.
The Colts didn’t expect Mewhort to solve all their offensive line questions in the offseason. But they wanted to give a hard-working player, who was a former high-round draft pick, another chance to stay healthy, without mortgaging significant cap space.
A similar sort of deal for Geathers, while also bolstering the safety depth this offseason, is something Ballard said could happen this offseason.
When asked about Geathers and having insurance at safety, Ballard pointed out to how beneficial a healthy Malik Hooker this offseason will be for his development, while also signaling out Matthias Farley and George Odum as key depth pieces at moving forward.
With more than a week to go until free agency starts, Geathers looks to be arguably the strongest re-sign candidate for Ballard and the Colts.