The new league year begins next month, and with it comes the start of the free agency period in the NFL. The Colts have several guys who will become free agents at that point, but there may be some of them worth re-signing. We’ll be taking a look at each one of them and discussing whether it would be a good idea for the Colts to bring them back or not. We continue today with Trent Cole.
When the Colts signed veteran pass rusher Trent Cole in 2015, it was in an effort to improve their pass rush - something that was desperately lacking in playmakers. Cole had produced during his career with the Eagles, recording 85.5 sacks, and the Colts hoped that production would translate in Indianapolis. Instead, however, it became obvious that Cole’s best years were behind him.
During two seasons with the Colts, Cole played in 21 games and started nine of them, recording 48 tackles, nine tackles for loss, five sacks, eleven quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, and four passes defensed. He also missed some time due to injury, as he missed the bulk of the 2016 season with a back injury. He was placed on IR but designated to return late in the year. But even when healthy, he wasn’t productive, and he was often invisible. Last year Cole took a paycut to stay with the Colts, and now he’s a free agent. So should the Colts re-sign him?
To be completely honest, there aren’t many good reasons for the Colts to bring him back. He’s a 34-year old pass rusher who hasn’t been productive in recent years who also had a pretty serious surgery last year, one that he said could be "career-ending." It obviously wasn’t that serious, as he returned late in the year and hopes to keep playing, but it was a significant surgery nonetheless.
The only reason for the Colts to bring Cole back would be to add a veteran presence to their pass rush position, and the team certainly does need a lot of help there and could look to add a veteran this offseason. But there are likely to be better options than Cole available in free agency.
So consider this: Cole is 34 years old, coming off of a significant back surgery, hasn’t been productive in recent seasons, and doesn’t have the ties to Chris Ballard that he had with Ryan Grigson. He certainly won’t command huge money in free agency, but even still, why should the Colts bring him back? The pass rush is a huge concern and must be addressed this offseason, but bringing Trent Cole back wouldn’t really help those efforts too much. The money could be better spent elsewhere.