INDIANAPOLIS – There’s little question to whether or not Bobby Okereke has earned a starting-level, multi-year second contract in the NFL.
He has earned it.
But the Colts giving him such a contract comes with many questions.
Okereke has been a reliable and productive linebacker in his 4 NFL seasons. He’s missed just 2 games in 4 years, starting 49 games. He had 131 tackles in 2021 and 151 this past season, taking on more of a leading tackler role with Shaquille Leonard sidelined.
Gus Bradley liked what Okereke gave the Colts this past season.
This question isn’t about whether or not Okereke has been a solid piece for the Colts.
It’s that the Colts already have multi-year investments in the likes of Leonard (signed through 2026) and Zaire Franklin (signed through 2024).
Leonard’s situation is complicated, as he tries to return from a second back surgery in the past year. His contract, plus medical status, makes it nearly impossible to trade him.
While it would be wise for the Colts to have some insurance for Leonard, does it make more financial sense for the Colts to try that with free agent E.J. Speed versus Okereke?
As the linebacker position becomes more and more focused on having just 2 of them on the field at a time, it’s harder to see serious investments into that position.
One could argue the Colts have already done that, before Okereke hits free agency.
Something to keep in mind on the Okereke front, Chris Ballard has proven to be a tremendous drafter of linebackers, no matter the round.
That is something to acknowledge when you weigh the pros/cons of this move.
Of all the Colts free agents in 2023, Okereke qualifies as the one with the strongest resume, yet playing a position where Indianapolis can’t be as greedy in handing out deserved money.
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