Colts Free Agency 2023: Arrivals, departures, and rumors from legal tampering period

Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard speaks to the
Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard speaks to the / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Colts, Bobby Okereke
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke (58) warms up Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, before a game / Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY

Colts departures - Tampering period

• Bobby Okereke, LB, New York Giants, four-year, $40 million

This was one of the moves that everyone saw coming. With Shaq Leonard and Zaire Franklin under contract in Indianapolis, there was no way Indy would be able to sign linebacker Bobby Okereke. After four seasons in Indianapolis, Okereke established himself as one of the better linebackers in the league, so surely several teams would be willing to sign him.

The Chicago Bears were expected to be Okereke’s landing spot because of his connection with Matt Eberflus and Chicago’s defensive coaching staff, but the Bears instead signed TJ Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds. So, Okereke agreed to join the New York Giants.

• Stephon Gilmore traded to the Dallas Cowboys

On Tuesday, the Colts traded veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round compensatory pick. This move helped Indianapolis clear cap space and also allowed Gilmore to join a Cowboys team that is expected to be more competitive than Indy next season.

This puts Indianapolis’ secondary in a very tough spot. Through the draft and free agency, the Colts must rebuild depth at the corner position.

• Colts released veteran quarterback Matt Ryan

This move was inevitable. After just one season, that involved Matt Ryan being benched twice, Indianapolis released Matt Ryan with one season remaining on his contract. Ryan will now enter free agency as he tries to find his next destination and the Colts will clear $17 million in cap space after cutting him.