Today we wrap up the defensive side of the football today in our look at the unrestricted free agents for the Colts this offseason by taking a look at linebacker Andy Studebaker. Contracts expire once the new league year begins on March 10 at 4:00 p.m. ET, and so before that we're examining which free agents the Colts should re-sign and which ones they should let walk by looking at each individual player.
So today, we're asking the question: should the Colts re-sign Andy Studebaker?
Stude just concluded a two-year contract with the Colts, and in his two seasons with the team he has played in 24 games (starting one) and has recorded 27 tackles, a pass defensed, and a forced fumble. Prior to joining the Colts, he spent five seasons in Kansas City with the Chiefs.
Studebaker has seen some time at linebacker for the Colts and when playing there he actually has done a solid job, and in fact he graded out as the best run defender for the Colts by Pro Football Focus this year (subscription required). He's not a starting caliber linebacker, but for a depth guy, role player, and spot starter, he's valuable and versatile. But that's not where he makes the most impact. Instead, Studebaker plays a key role on special teams as part of the Colts' fourth down army and has done a very good job there over the past two years.
There are moves that are big-name and big-impact moves, and then there are moves that are smaller and go largely unnoticed but that are important to building a team as well. Re-signing Andy Studebaker would fall into the latter category. The Colts absolutely have to upgrade the inside linebacker position this offseason, but that doesn't mean letting Studebaker walk. The team needs to address the top of the depth chart and keep Stude around for depth purposes. Not only is he a good depth linebacker option and a guy who can fill in and play when needed, he's also a very good special teams player.
This is one of those moves that likely won't command a ton of attention but nonetheless one that should happen, and I absolutely think the Colts should bring back Andy Studebaker this offseason.