The Indianapolis Colts have a few players whose performance will be important next season as they enter a make-or-break contract year.
Lately, Chris Ballard and the Indianapolis Colts have been bigger about signing players to a one-year deal to give aging veterans or younger unproven talents a chance. Players like Xavier Rhodes should come to mind. Even after two one-year contracts with Rhodes, Indy chose to not bring him back for the third year, and the 31-year-old corner remains a free agent heading into 2022.
On the flip-side, younger players like Mark Glowinski and Chris Reed were unsigned by the Colts and they found new deals on other teams. It shows you it truly doesn’t matter who you are or even how well you play. If Ballard can find equal or better talent for cheaper, that’s the route Indy will go.
This doesn’t mean that Indianapolis is a cheap organization (completely) and refuses to pay their players what they are worth. Ballard did trade for DeForest Buckner and then immediately extended him to a long-term deal. He is also in the works of extending Quenton Nelson to likely the largest deal ever for a guard.
If you are deserving of a contract, and prove it, you will get paid. In a contract year, which players are going to ball out and get paid or be packing their bags for a new city in 2023?
4. Bobby Okereke outworks expectations
In the past, the Colts have found replacements through the draft to replace linebackers the following year. Even though star linebacker Darius Leonard and Anthony Walker were good friends on and off the field, that didn’t stop Indy from replacing Walker.
In fact, the Colts essentially replaced Walker with Bobby Okereke, who is now in his final season under contract.
This past offseason, Indianapolis picked up both JoJo Domann and Sterling Weatherford as undrafted free agents. Not saying that they are likely going to be the replacement at linebacker, but it never hurts to see what you might have.
With Bobby feeling the pressure heading into this season, playing on one of the best defenses in the league, it’s time to put up or shut up. This season, we should expect to see big things come from the linebacker that lands him a new deal in the offseason. Bobby will be able to not only meet expectations but exceed them and land himself in a linebacker duo that is ranked at the top of the NFL for many years to come.