3 impending Colts free agents Chris Ballard can’t afford to lose
2. Justin Houston
Justin Houston has been nothing short of awesome for the Colts.
When Ballard signed Justin Houston to a two-year deal before the start of 2019, it’s safe to say he didn’t expect such efficient play from the veteran, especially since he was released by the Chiefs due to injury woes. Houston missed 20 games from 2015-2018 and it appeared he could be in store for a major decline.
Welp, not at all. He’s played 26 games in Indy, during which he has produced 26 QB hits, 58 tackles (18 for a loss), 15.5 sacks, four fumble recoveries and two safeties. He hasn’t missed any action. He’ll be entering his age-32 season in 2021, but why not give him another two-year deal? He’s clearly flourished in Eberflus’ system and his job has only gotten easier with the addition of DeForest Buckner and the continued ascension of Darius Leonard.
His presence alone is enough to justify a longer stay in Indy. He’s been a handful for opposing teams’ left tackles, which has opened up more opportunities for guys like Denico Autry, Tyquan Lewis … and one other guy we’re about to discuss. Assuming he can simply set the edge for another few years, that’s enough to create a valuable disruption.
There’s no doubt Houston’s veteran voice has helped this young defense as well. That’s got a price tag on it and it’s one Ballard should pay for.