According to CBS Sports Jason La Canfora, prized Kansas City Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe will continue his ‘free agency tour’ after meeting with the Indianapolis Colts (Sunday) and Jacksonville Jaguars (Monday)–only this time with the Atlanta Falcons.
Until he meets with the Falcons, the big bodied nose tackle won’t make a final decision:
Of course, if you’re on ‘Team Poe’, it’s good news for the Colts chances, as the team is seemingly still in the hunt for the highly sought after nose tackle.
While the ball is now in the Falcons court to make their best ‘sales pitch’ (i.e. most guaranteed dollars), the Colts have a chance to sign Poe, as he reportedly said his visit in Indianapolis ‘ went well’ (via ESPN’s Josina Anderson).
The 6’3″, 346 pound nose tackle is coming off a season for the Chiefs in which he recorded 27 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble in 16 starts (as well as this nifty touchdown pass).
However, he had a fairly underwhelming season last season, as he was ranked as only Pro Football Focus‘ (subscription) 59th best ‘interior defender’–including a meager +46.7 run stopping grade.
That being said, Poe is a 1x 2nd-Team All-Pro and 2x Pro Bowler and is just a season removed from being a Top 12 run stuffer among all defensive tackles. With his immense size, strength, and surprising athleticism, he has the potential to be one of the most dominant nose tackles in all of football if he finally figures it all out.
There is prior speculation from CBS Sports Jason La Canfora that the Colts want Poe on a long-term deal, but may have not included the additional funds to entice him to sign quite yet–whereas the ‘big man’ is looking to potentially maximize his value for next offseason on a one-year ‘prove it’ deal:
Potentially hurting Poe from obtaining the top dollar he may be potentially seeking (i.e. Brandon Williams money) is that there are lingering concerns over a back injury which could scare suitors from a highly lucrative long-term deal with a lot of guaranteed dollars.
It’s worth noting that it’s currently not ‘Poe or bust’ for the Colts to upgrade at nose tackle though, as there are still two strong free agent candidates for consideration at the position in New York Giants Johnathan Hankins a̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶P̶h̶i̶l̶a̶d̶e̶l̶p̶h̶i̶a̶ ̶E̶a̶g̶l̶e̶s̶ ̶B̶e̶n̶n̶i̶e̶ ̶L̶o̶g̶a̶n̶ ̶r̶e̶s̶p̶e̶c̶t̶i̶v̶e̶l̶y̶.̶
Nevertheless, Indianapolis could clearly use an upgrade at starting nose tackle, as incumbent starter David Parry has been nothing more than serviceable (at best) and was recently arrested–which certainly clouds his Colts future.
Simply put, the team has lacked a true ‘difference-maker’ at nose tackle and someone who can consistently command a double-team to free up their inside linebackers to make tackles and plays.
Historically, nearly every great 3-4 defense has had a dominant nose tackle whether it be the New England Patriots Vince Wilfork (or Ted Washington), the Pittsburgh Steelers Casey Hampton, the San Diego Chargers Jamal Williams, etc.
While Poe hasn’t consistently played up to his enormous potential, any team that signs him to a mega-deal would be betting that he can finally put it all together and become a truly dominant nose tackle–anchoring the middle of their defense for the foreseeable future.