On Monday, Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman signed his restricted free agent tender to officially return to the Colts. On Wednesday, Freeman met with the media for the first time since signing his contract and returning to work at the Colts' offseason program, and he of course was asked about his new deal - which is a one-year, $2.35 million deal.
He wouldn't get into specifics on his contract or what in particular he wanted, but he did say that, "this is where I want to be. I started here, and this is definitely where I want to finish. I'm hoping to do that."
Freeman's delay in signing the restricted free agent tender might initially seem like a contradiction to that statement, but in reality it makes sense. A report from the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder suggested that he wanted a new contract, but he ultimately didn't get any offers from other teams (which the Colts would have either been able to match or get a second round pick as compensation) and so he signed the tender with the Colts.
For a soon-to-be 29-year old linebacker who has been one of the Colts' better defenders in his first three years with the team (since being signed out of the Canadian Football League in 2012), it's understandable that he would be seeking a deal with more stability. In the past three seasons, he has started 44 games for the Colts and has recorded 366 tackles, nine sacks, 14 passes defensed, three picks, eight forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries, leading the team in tackles in both 2012 and 2013 and finishing second to only D'Qwell Jackson in 2014.
He's back for at least another year with the Colts, however, and he'll almost surely retain one of the starting inside linebacker spots for the team. And while he wouldn't get into his contract status (he'll be a free agent next season, he did say that he'd like to stay in Indianapolis. "I would love to be here for the rest of my career," Freeman said. "This is a great city, great team, great organization so why wouldn't I?"