Colts: Latest free agency signing feels pointless
Other than left tackle, the Indianapolis Colts are pretty much locked and loaded for next season from a positional perspective.
This might come as a surprise to some fans, but the linebacker position is something that both intrigues and concerns us following the departure of three-year starter Anthony Walker, who inked a one-year deal with Cleveland earlier this offseason.
The Colts never looked motivated to re-sign Walker, but it was admittedly a little astonishing they didn’t add a viable replacement in free agency or the draft. After all, it won’t be easy to replicate his production, as he was a lock to register almost 100 tackles per season.
Well, it appears the Colts still aren’t prepared to find a like-for-like replacement, as they confusingly decided to add to their logjam of backup linebackers. Per insider Stephen Holder of The Athletic, Indy signed Malik Jefferson, who will compete for a roster spot this offseason.
The Colts signed another backup linebacker in Malik Jefferson.
Doesn’t this just feel like a redundant move for the Colts? We obviously mean no disrespect to Jefferson, who’s struggled to find his footing after entering the league as a third-round pick in 2018, but signing him does little to move the needle in our eyes.
For starters, Jefferson has yet to make a start in his NFL career. In 34 appearances, he’s actually logged more special teams snaps (567) than defensive snaps (15), so perhaps the Colts view him as someone who can contribute to their already-potent special teams unit.
However, the 24-year-old will still be competing for a linebacker spot, and he’ll have his work cut out for him in that regard, as Indianapolis currently has Zaire Franklin, EJ Speed, Matthew Adams and Jordan Glasgow — also all special teams players! — lined up behind starters Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke.
In all honesty, none of those four options inspire much confidence, as most of them have been used minimally on defense.
It remains to be seen who’s going to take Walker’s spot in the middle linebacker position — Leonard and Okereke played on the left and right sides of him last season — but Jefferson clearly isn’t qualified for such a promotion.
With the Colts opting against drafting a linebacker last weekend, and a fundamental lack of intriguing options left on the free agent market, it’s looking like they’ll either switch up their defensive scheme or give somebody on the roster a massive vote of confidence coming out of training camp by starting them alongside Leonard and Okereke.