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 restricted free agent Josh McNary.
We’ve already examined two of the Colts’ three restricted free agents this offseason in Jonotthan Harrison and Zach Kerr, and both of those guys seem like really solid depth options to bring back on an RFA tender. But what about Josh McNary?
McNary was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent out of the Army in 2013, and he was a guy that intrigued many from the get-go. He has spent most of the past four seasons with the Colts and has played in 49 games, starting eight, and has recorded 79 tackles, two tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits, and a forced fumble. He’s also made eight special teams tackles, and in 2016 alone he made four special teams tackles and added five more assists.
He started three games at inside linebacker last year for the Colts while playing in all 16 contests. After Sio Moore was cut following the week four loss to the Jaguars, McNary took over as the starting inside linebacker - but that didn’t last long, as Edwin Jackson eventually took over. After that, McNary’s role with the team was largely relegated to special teams, where he played a lot and had some success.
But should the Colts bring him back? It’s no secret that their inside linebacker position is very thin right now, as before the new league year begins the current starters look to be Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison - with very little depth behind them. It’s likely the Colts will look at their options in free agency and the draft at inside linebacker, but they’d still need some depth - if for nothing more than training camp purposes to fill out the 90 man roster.
To be honest, McNary hasn’t been anything special as a defender and he has struggled far more than he’s flashed. The only reason for the Colts to bring him back is as follows: he’s only an RFA so he could be signed for cheap, would provide a depth option who could compete in training camp for a backup spot, and can contribute on special teams. All of that could lead the Colts to give him another chance, but they might just as well be better served to look at other depth options at inside linebacker who could continue to develop.