We haven't heard much regarding the Colts' free agents, as reports have been hard to come by and Ryan Grigson curiously was not asked about the negotiations at the NFL Combine last week. With that said, however, Jerrell Freeman - one of the players set to become a free agent - appeared on SiriusXM NFL Radio today and talked about his contract situation.
Colts FA LB: @JerrellFreeman: I played on the rookie deal for 3 years, then one year on the tender. I guess it time to do what's good for me— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) March 1, 2016
.@JerrellFreeman: I sat down today & it hit me that I might be playing in a different city. I still love Indy & would be open to going back.— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) March 1, 2016
Colts FA LB: @JerrellFreeman: I've had some of my best games of my career vs. the Titans. Orakpo has been trying to recruit me over there.— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) March 1, 2016
In case you're looking to listen to it, you can find a portion of it on the SiriusXM NFL Radio soundcloud, but Freeman's comments are interesting.
"I think that was kind of my thought process as far as just signing back with the club and getting back to work," Freeman said, when asked if he'd rather just re-sign with his team and get past free agency. "But you've got to do what's best for you. The team did what was best for them and their cap issues and all that stuff. I've been playing for league minimum for three years and then ended up signing the tender which was, I guess, best for the team, so I went ahead and signed it. So I'm in free agency now, so I guess I have to do what's best for me."
As far as if he thinks about the possibility of playing elsewhere next year? "Yeah, you definitely think about that," Freeman said. "I sat down today and was like, ‘man, I might be playing in a different city.' Like I said before, I would love to stay in Indy, being comfortable there [with] the whole city, the fans, the players, I know they have a great coaching staff coming in, but I think that's all a part of it. I mean, my lockermate Matt Hasselbeck, he's not going to be there next year. So that turnover, I think that's all a part of the NFL. But you kind of just have to flow with it, man."
It will be very interesting to see what happens with Freeman, as he's now looking for a fair contract value and looking to get paid. He spent the first three years of his NFL career on a three year, $1.46 million deal (averaging just under $500,000 per year). Last year, he wanted a bigger deal but the Colts placed the RFA tender on him and refused to give him a larger deal, forcing him to play under the one-year, $2.356 million contract. Over the past four years, then, the Colts have paid Freeman just $3.816 million total to record 478 tackles, 12 sacks, 16 passes defensed, four interceptions (two touchdowns), eight forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries while starting 57 games. Any way you look at it, Freeman has been an absolute bargain for Indianapolis.
Now, the linebacker is looking to get a bigger contract that more adequately fits his value, and you can't fault him for that. He will be 30 years old next month, so this is likely his best shot to get a nice payday in the NFL. It would be nice if that was with the Colts and it seems like he's open to returning, but it's unclear whether the Colts will or have offered the type of contract Freeman will want.