After all, the team’s laundry list of free agents will present GM Chris Ballard with arguably a greater challenge than fleecing the Eagles.
In terms of the Colts’ most glaring needs, defensive end comes to mind, as Justin Houston and Dencio Autry, who ranked second and third on the team in sacks and quarterback hits this year, are both set to hit the open market.
The latest buzz suggests that Indy is interested in re-signing Houston before the start of the new league year next month as there will reportedly be several teams vying for his services if he remains without a contract until then.
Assuming that Houston, who will be entering his age-32 season in 2021, comes at a discount compared to some of the other big-name free agent edge rushers, the Colts might just have enough left over cash to pair him with another elite talent on the opposite side of the line.
With that in mind, we would absolutely love it if Indy explored Bud Dupree’s market following his season-ending injury.
Yes, we’re greedy. We want both.
Free agent Bud Dupree feels like a perfect fit for the Colts.
Dupree was playing for a new contract after being franchise-tagged last offseason, but endured an awful turn of luck when he suffered a torn ACL in Week 11. The former first-round pick was enjoying a career year before the injury, but recent history suggests that his market will suffer the consequences.
If this doesn’t have the ingredients of a potential bargain signing, then we’re not sure what does, and the Colts would be smart to capitalize on this situation. ACL injuries aren’t what they once were as far as derailing careers, so — unless Dupree suffers a setback during his recovery process — it’s not like Indy would be taking a massive gamble here.
The Colts’ pursuit of Dupree will obviously be contingent on his contract demands, but assuming he goes for significantly less than some of the other free agent pass rushers due to the timing and severity of his injury, we seriously wouldn’t see a potential pitfall in signing him.
After all, we’re talking about a player who’s registered 99 tackles, 24 of which went for a loss, 19.5 sacks, 32 QB hits, 56 pressures, six forced fumbles and five passes defended over the last two seasons (25 games).
In the simplest of terms, if the Colts end up deploying Houston, Dupree, DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart on the same defensive line — with Darius Leonard locking down the middle of the field at linebacker — we’d probably be looking at one of the best front sevens in the league.