Colts fans don’t need to worry about Justin Houston visiting Ravens

Free agent DE Justin Houston (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Free agent DE Justin Houston (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts’ reluctancy to splurge in free agency has resulted in them still having a glaring need at left tackle and defensive end.

While all signs are pointing to them addressing the former in the first round of the 2021 Draft, they probably won’t be able to get a starting-caliber edge rusher beyond the first 32 picks … unless, of course, general manager Chris Ballard has zeroed in on a certain overlooked prospect.

Assuming that isn’t the case, the Colts will need to take to free agency to solve their pass rushing conundrum.

Reports throughout the offseason have hinted at a reunion with Justin Houston, who will apparently start visiting potential suitors next week.

One of the first teams Houston is scheduled to meet with is the Ravens. When Colts fans first heard that news, they probably grimaced at the thought of him joining an AFC rival, which is totally understandable when you consider Baltimore’s overall talent on both sides of the ball.

However, ESPN reporter Jamison Hensley is of the understanding that the Ravens won’t sign any unrestricted free agent until after this month’s draft so it won’t count against their compensatory pick earnings next year. In other words, fans in Indy can take a deep breath.

Colts fans shouldn’t be concerned that Justin Houston is visiting the Ravens.

While that’s a huge relief, it doesn’t confirm that Houston won’t sign with Baltimore. It just bides the Colts more time to get a deal done with the four-time Pro Bowler, and the latest update on negotiations indicated here’s been zero ground gained on that front.

The Ravens, if you remember, also tried to pry TY Hilton away from the Colts. However, their efforts were for naught as they were left at the altar at the last second despite offering him a multi-year contract worth more in guaranteed money.

With that in mind, we’d like to think that Houston would choose the Colts over Baltimore if it came down to a similar situation. The Ravens have less available cap space remaining than Indy, meaning Ballard and Co. should be able to fend them off at the negotiation table.

Everybody knows how much the Colts rate the likes of Tyquan Lewis and Kemoko Turay, but it remains to be seen if either player is ready to assume a full-time role on a championship-caliber defense. That, in our eyes, makes retaining Houston an absolute must this offseason.

The 32-year-old star wasn’t overly consistent last season, but he still tallied 25 tackles, eight sacks (which ranked second on the team), 12 QB hits, 25 pressures, as well as two fumble recoveries and safeties apiece.

Houston is reportedly keen on signing before the draft, which kicks off on April 29, so the Colts really have no excuse not to get a deal done within that timeframe. If they don’t, they’ll run the risk of losing him to a Ravens team many expect to take another step forward next season.