Haloti Ngata Could Reportedly Hit Free Agency to Colts Delight


In addition to CBS Sports NFL Insider’s Jason La Canfora‘s report that the Indianapolis Colts are expected to be “very involved” on Baltimore Ravens pass rusher Pernell McPhee, another Baltimore Ravens defensive teammate could soon be joining him as a highly sought after free agent. Longtime Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata may in fact hit the open market and could potentially pique the interest of the Colts. According to La Canfora:

"“Barring some significant progress I would not be surprised if Haloti Ngata has played his last game as a Raven,” La Canfora writes. “He’s been with the team his entire career and is a iconic player in Baltimore, but I wouldn’t underestimate his willingness to play elsewhere in 2015 if need be and reports about the sides being close and the Ravens making a “strong” offer aren’t jibing with me. There is still time to work something out, and we’ll see, but some things would have to change.”"

It’s possibly big news for the Colts because any significant Baltimore Ravens defensive player, turned free agent is a threat to jump ship to the Indianapolis Colts as recent offseasons have clearly shown, especially along the defensive line. The Colts have already signed former Ravens defensive line stalwarts in Cory Redding and Arthur Jones during recent offseasons to reunite with former Ravens Defensive Coordinator, now Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano.

Oct 13, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens tackle Haloti Ngata (92) against the Green Bay Packers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier, we considered whether the “Colts Could Nab Ngata?”, and it’s beginning to look more and more like this could become a distinct possibility. Ngata is due a $16 million dollar cap hit for 2015, and the Ravens could save $8.5 million by releasing him. If neither side can mutually agree on a restructuring of his contract, it looks as though Ngata will in fact hit this year’s free agent market as one of the main prizes.

It couldn’t come at a better time for the Colts either, who are armed with truckloads of cap space and desperately need true difference-makers along their defensive line. The team recently released key rotational defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois for cap reasons and with starter Cory Redding mulling retirement, there’s already an opening at starting defensive end.  Not to mention, the defense could also withstand to upgrade over Josh Chapman at nose tackle, who’s ideally a rotational defensive lineman on a great defense.

Fortunately for the Colts, Ngata has experience at both defensive end and nose tackle and has been one of the league’s most dominating defensive lineman during his 9-year NFL career. Since being drafted in the 1st round of the 2006 NFL Draft out of the University of Oregon, he’s been a 5x All-Pro, 5x Pro Bowler, and Super Bowl XLVII Champion, all as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

The 31-year old remains highly productive too, coming off a season in which he recorded 31 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions in 12 starts before being suspended for 4 games because of PED’s (Adderall). Even the advanced grades provided by ProFootballFocus (subscription) reinforce the notion of Ngata’s still strong play last season:

"“As testament, according to ProFootballFocus, Ngata was the 9th best overall 3-4 defensive end with a +18.4 overall grade. His +8.9 grade against the run effectively placed him as the 11th best 3-4 defensive end in this regard."

If Ngata indeed hits the open market, it seems quite likely that the Colts will be expected to be very involved, just like they are with his fellow teammate in Pernell McPhee. In fact, as mentioned, La Canfora has written previously that he theoretically would expect this to be the case as well:

"“Oh, and I’m watching that Ngata situation closely — with coach Chuck Pagano having coached him in Baltimore and my run defense still poor.”"

For the Colts, what was already shaping up to be an eventful offseason with ample cap space, looks like it may be getting even more eventful in the upcoming days. Given Chuck Pagano’s familiarity with Ngata, he seems like an ideal free agent target for the Colts if it reaches that point.

The defense lacks true difference-makers along its defensive line, and signing Ngata would go a long way in improving it. Still, it’s expected that Ngata could command anywhere between $10-13 million dollars annually, which is still a lucrative figure for a 31 year old: