Former Indianapolis Colts pass rusher swiped up by rival Titans

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 03: John Simon #55 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 03: John Simon #55 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts have been looking for edge rushers that can give their defensive line some extra teeth for years now, and replacing Justin Houston with Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo in the draft has only raised even more questions.

Of the many options out there in free agency, John Simon looked like a cheap player that the Colts could’ve brought in.

Simon is a former Colt who recorded 43 tackles and three sacks during what became the final season of Chuck Pagano’s tenure. He was one of the few standouts on that unit, and he was able to take his success in Indianapolis and earn himself a nice new contract in New England because of it.

Simon hit the free agent market again this summer, and given Indianapolis’ lack of talent at defensive end, it seemed a return could’ve been in the cards. Sadly, that didn’t pan out. In fact, he signed with their chief division rival.

Simon agreed to a deal with the Tennessee Titans, joining a group that already has players like Harold Landry and marquee free agent signing Bud Dupree. Simon wouldn’t have changed the complexion of Indy’s defense, but he’s a nice weapon Tennessee now has at their disposal.

John Simon could’ve been a quality pass rusher for the Colts.

Simon has spent the last few seasons with the Patriots as an edge-setter that Bill Belichick counted on as a key figure in the team’s run defense. While eight sacks and 114 tackles in three seasons might not sound like elite production, Simon played an integral role in making New England’s defense as tough as it was to penetrate.

The Colts’ edge rush rotation features a ton of uncertainty right now. Will Paye and Odeyingbo perform up to their billing when healthy? What role will Isaac Rochell take on? Will Ben Banogu, Kemoko Turay, or Tyquan Lewis make any sort of impact during what could be their final seasons in blue and white?

At least with Simon, Indy would be adding a familiar face with years of consistent production under his belt. Instead, not only did they choose to spend their money elsewhere, but they allowed the Titans, of all teams, to sign him.

With Houston remaining a chaotic mess and Jacksonville a few years away from being a contender due to their rebuild, Indianapolis and Tennessee will likely be locking horns for several division title races in the next few years.

Knowing that Simon was coached by Vrabel in college at Ohio State and in the NFL with the Texans, the Colts could’ve figured that an ideal veteran depth target like him might go back to a friendly face. That familiarity won out, as the Titans got stronger at the expense of Chris Ballard and the Colts.