INDIANAPOLIS – If Samson Ebukam can be as detailed as a pass rusher as he is in describing why he chose the Colts in free agency then Indianapolis fans are going to be very happy.
And the main objective was the financial component for Ebukam signing with the Colts.
When you are a 27-year-old pass rusher hitting free agency, that has to be viewed as potentially the last real opportunity to find a major pay day.
That’s what Ebukam was looking for. And the Colts gave him that with a 3-year deal reportedly worth as much as $27 million.
“The money was definitely a factor because I was trying to take care of my family,” an honest Ebukam says. “I’m not going to give you the whole story, but we really went through a lot. I felt like I can definitely use this money just to take care of them a lot more just so people can live a little bit more stress-free life.
“Then I know the Colts are deeply rooted in the NFL. So, they have a strong history of winning. That’s the second motivation. Three, they play the same scheme that I just played with at the 49ers. There may be a tweak here and there, but they basically play the same thing so it would be easiest for me to adapt to.”
A Nigerian native, Ebukam came to the United State in his elementary years, but the path to playing professional football was not considered realistic until his college days at Eastern Washington.
But the high-motor Ebukam started to show more and more pass rush ability, which led him to being a 4th round pick of the Rams in 2017.
Ebukam played four seasons with the Rams before signing a 2-year contract for $12 million with San Francisco in 2021.
This third NFL contract comes after a season in which Ebukam started 15 games for the 49ers. For his career, Ebukam has 23.5 career sacks and 52 quarterback hits. He’s missed just 2 games in his career.
Some of the Colts thinking with this move, and letting Yannick Ngakoue walk, is Gus Bradley is getting more of a three-down presence at the defensive end spot opposite Kwity Paye, and perhaps a more consistent rusher.
“I think that I’ve definitely gotten better with my moves as far as speed to power and how I can get like get off the rock a lot faster to threaten more of the edge,” Ebukam says. “I think I can definitely add on with some more of the speed moves here in the future. That’s what I’m kind of trying to focus on this offseason.”
In 6 NFL seasons, Ebukam has never had more than 5.0 sacks in a season.
The Colts believe though he’ll have a larger rushing role in Indy than he’s been used to, and still can be used as an effective/helpful rusher at multiple spots across the defensive line.
While Ebukam will certainly miss all the attention Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa drew away from him in San Fran, he’s going to be with a player he’s heard a lot about.
DeForest Buckner left San Francisco a year before Ebukam arrived.
But Ebukam has heard quite a bit about the guy he’s going to be lining up with in Indy.
“I’ve heard all about Buck (DeForest Buckner) from (Arik Armstead) and what type of person he is and how he’s a genuine human being that definitely wants the best for his teammates as much as he wants to win,” Ebukam says. “It’s pretty exciting just to be here and I’ve met him before one time in Las Vegas and it took only like 10 minutes for me to really figure out how genuine he was as a human being. I was like, ‘Okay, this is definitely someone you want as your teammate.’ And now that I’m here, I’m about to see what it’s about.
“He’s definitely welcomed me with open arms. He already texted me and was like, ‘If you need anything just let me know.’ It’s pretty awesome.”
The Colts have been searching for a multi-year answer at defensive end for years now.
In moving on from Ngakoue, have they found a Denico Autry-type impact in Ebukam?
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