Colts LB Jerrell Freeman Signs Tender
By Evan Reller
The Colts returned to Indianapolis to begin offseason workouts last week. Noticeably absent was starting inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, who had yet to sign his qualifying offer.
Today, Freeman signed his one-year restricted tender to remain with the Colts. Other teams had to extend an offer to him by last Friday, but no offers came in for Freeman. The Colts made the offer steep and team would have had to offer up a second-round pick for Freeman.
It appeared that Freeman was holding out to get a longer term deal from the Colts. Freeman will make $2.356 million in 2015 and with another solid year, he’ll likely get that long term deal.
Freeman could have waited until after the draft to sign his tender, but went ahead and did so. This gives the Colts another trade chip for the draft this weekend, and one that has a definite amount of value. He should be back at offseason workouts this week.
The Colts put a slight amount of pressure on Freeman to sign his tender when they picked up Nate Irving in free agency. While Irving is still recovering from a knee injury, he does have starting inside linebacker experience and could press the starters for snaps.
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This chain of events wasn’t surprising as restricted free agents are usually forced to re-sign with their team. The price of a second-rounder all basically locked up Freeman for the 2015 season.
The Colts originally signed Freeman in January of 2012 from the CFL. Freeman has appeared in 44 games for the Colts over the past three seasons. He’s amassed 256 tackles, nine sacks, eight forced fumbles, three interceptions, and 15 tipped passes. Freeman hasn’t been a lightsout linebacker, he did lead the Colts in tackles in 2012 and 2013.
While the Colts appear set at inside linebacker, there is always the possibility they could go after one in the draft. The team could easily trade away Freeman to move up a few spots and get a dynamic player like UCLA’s Eric Kendricks.
Either way, the Colts have a solid inside linebacker in Freeman for at least one more season.