After Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano addressed the media at the NFL Combine on Thursday, one of my biggest takeaways was that the Colts are going to be active in looking for a pass rusher. Both Grigson and Pagano mentioned that you can never have enough pass rushers and, reading between the lines, it's clear that they're going to be more than open to adding a player or two at that area this offseason.
One possible player that could be of interest to the Colts is Ravens pass rusher Pernell McPhee. The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson reports that McPhee "is regarded as a luxury item the Ravens probably can't afford to retain," as the team has a tight salary cap situation right now. Citing league sources, Wilson says that McPhee is expected to get between $8-10 million per year in free agency, and Wilson says that the Raiders, Falcons, Browns, and Colts would be some potential fits for the pass rusher.
Playing in all 16 games in 2014, McPhee recorded 7.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and four passes defensed. In addition, as Wilson wrote:
McPhee had 64 quarterback pressures last season and 24 quarterback hits while lining up everywhere from nose tackle to defensive end in a three-point stance. A former fifth-round draft pick from Mississippi State, McPhee's versatility and combination of size and mobility at 6-foot-3, 280 pounds makes him an attractive commodity to NFL teams.
The fact that the Colts could use pass rush help would link the team to one of the top free agents to be at the area, but furthermore the Ravens connections are a strong one. McPhee was drafted by the Ravens in 2011, when Chuck Pagano was the defensive coordinator of the team, and under Pagano McPhee recorded six sacks in his rookie season. With Pagano trying to install in Indianapolis a defense similar to the one the Ravens run, the Colts have signed notable Ravens defensive linemen Cory Redding (2012) and Arthur Jones (2014). McPhee would just be the latest in a line of Ravens defensive linemen leaving Baltimore in free agency to join their former coach, Chuck Pagano, and McPhee might even be the replacement to Cory Redding at defensive end if the veteran decides to retire.
It sounds like the Ravens won't be re-signing Pernell McPhee, and based on the fact that the Colts need pass rush help and were public about saying you can never have enough players at that area, the fact that Chuck Pagano is now in Indy and the Colts have shown a tendency to target former Ravnes defenders in free agency, and the fact that the Colts have quite a bit of cap room available, the Colts make sense as a potential landing spot for McPhee. Whether or not that actually happens, however, remains to be seen, as free agency doesn't officially begin until March 10.