Bobby Okereke, an emerging linebacker of the Indianapolis Colts, is entering his fourth season with the team and possibly his last.
Last season, Bobby Okereke took over as the full-time starter at middle linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts. It was somewhat of a breakout season for the young linebacker that is now entering his fourth season in the NFL. He led the Colts in tackles and created a phenomenal linebacker duo with Shaquille Leonard.
Playing in all 17 games, Okereke recorded 132 tackles, one sack, and two interceptions. Now, he’s going into next season looking to continue his development as the Will linebacker in Gus Bradley’s system. Unfortunately, there’s a chance that next season could be Okereke’s last year in Indianapolis.
Bobby Okereke is entering the fourth and final season of his rookie contract and it’s extremely unlikely that he will agree to an extension with the Colts before the season starts. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Indy’s only contract focus right now is extending Quenton Nelson.
Fowler wrote, “Other contract matters can wait. That means Kenny Moore II, a standout corner who has two years left on a four-year, $33 million deal, might not cash in until 2023. The same goes for linebacker Bobby Okereke, an underrated player.” That means Okereke is entering a true contract year and may hit free agency next offseason.
Bobby Okereke entering a true contract year with Colts
The thing that makes Indianapolis such a good team is that it has several talented players that are all young. The challenge with that is the team has to eventually pay those players, and when they’re good, that can be expensive. As a result, the team either spends a lot of money or loses talented players.
The Colts have already paid guys like Shaquille Leonard, DeForest Buckner, Ryan Kelly, and Braden Smith, and soon, Indy will have to focus on the contracts of Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr., Kenny Moore, and Okereke. As special as it is for Indy to have all these guys, it may be really tough to keep them all around.
With Okereke entering the 2022 season and planning to play out his contract, he has a real opportunity to create incredible value for himself. He established himself as an impact player last year and made his name known in Indianapolis, but he can take things to another level this season and become a prominent name across the league.
If Okereke does that, the Colts will either have to pay him what he’s worth or they’ll risk losing him in free agency to some linebacker-needy team. For now, that is next offseason’s problem but it is something to follow as this season begins.