In a recent interview, linebacker Bobby Okereke opened up about his future with the Indianapolis Colts and his pending free agency.
Bobby Okereke has been one of the best defenders and overall players for the Indianapolis Colts since joining the team in 2019. However, after four solid seasons, the linebacker’s time with Indianapolis is likely coming to an end. Okereke opened up about that reality and his pending free agency in a recent interview at Super Bowl 57’s radio row.
Speaking with Bill Zimmerman on the Bears Banter podcast, Okereke dove into multiple topics like the adversity of this past season with the Colts, his pending free agency, his former defensive coordinator and current head coach of the Chicago Bears, Matt Eberflus, and also his thoughts on Bears young quarterback Justin Fields. It was a very honest interview as Okereke was transparent about his future.
When asked if he was hoping to return to the Colts, Okereke answered, “I love Indianapolis, it’s been home for me. But obviously, just the way that the cap size and the market is with everything, you can’t take everybody, you can’t give everybody the contract that they want. So we’ll see how things shake out.” While that may have been tough for Okereke to admit and tough for fans to hear, it sounds like he understands the reality that everyone sees coming.
Bobby Okereke alludes to leaving Colts in free agency
The reality is that Indianapolis already has All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard on the roster as the second highest-paid linebacker in the NFL. Additionally, Indy has Zaire Franklin under contract for two more seasons, and he’s coming off a record-setting year where he established himself as a top linebacker in this league as well. With Okereke also being a top linebacker, there are simply not enough starting spots or money for the Colts to responsibly keep all three. So as a pending free agent, Okereke will be the one to leave.
In the same interview, Okereke explained what he’ll be looking for in free agency. He explained that the important factors for him are:
"Scheme, and coaches, and just position fit. Where I feel like I’m going to be most comfortable on a football field. Going to a place that really just has a winning culture. That’s what I want to be a part of. I want to be a part of a team that wins and somewhere that’s got an availability for me to come in and lead a defense."
This statement came shortly after Okereke had raved about his love for Matt Eberlus and how much he believes in him as a coach. Of course, Okereke thrived in Eberflus’ system for three years before Eberflus departed for the Bears. With Chicago’s former middle linebacker, Roquan Smith, now with the Baltimore Ravens, the Bears do have an opening at linebacker and Zimmerman made sure to let Okereke know that Bears fans have already been circling his name as a big free agency target.
Okereke certainly gave Bears fans some hope when he said that familiarity with coaches is definitely a factor, and he also spent part of the interview praising Justin Fields. Chicago will definitely be the favorite to land the talented linebacker but Okereke will surely have other suitors in free agency. The only sure thing is that his time with the Colts is coming to an end.