According to Indianapolis Fox 59’s Chris Hagan, Indianapolis Colts free agent inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman is meeting with the Chicago Bears on Friday, as contract talks with Indianapolis are “not going well“:
It’s interesting because the Bears just signed former Denver Broncos inside linebacker Danny Trevathan to a 4-year, $28 million deal, but apparently still have ample money to spend on the position.
Losing Freeman would be a significant loss to the middle of the Colts defense.
Signed by the Colts out of the CFL in 2012, the 29 year old Freeman has started 57 games during his 4-year tenure with the team–becoming their leading tackler in 2 of those 4 seasons.
Freeman started in 13 games for the Colts last season, recording 112 tackles, 3 sacks, and an interception–arguably having his best season in Horseshoe Blue:
"“The 6’0″, 240 pound inside linebacker has always been highly regarded for his pass coverage, but it was actually his run-stopping ability that was his calling card this past season.According to ProFootballFocus (subscription), Freeman was the league’s 2nd best inside linebacker against the run with a +16.2 run stopping grade–which was only behind Carolina Panthers All-Pro inside linebacker Luke Kuechly. It was a big reason as to why he was also PFF’s 2nd best inside linebacker overall, receiving a +21.4 grade.”"
In a league where linebackers are called upon more frequently to cover fast tight ends and slot wide receivers over the middle, Freeman is one of the rare inside linebackers who can with his exceptional coverage ability.
However, it was his run defense that significantly improved this past season–making him one of the most complete inside linebackers in football if he can replicate his performance.