Former Patriots defensive end/outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard was visiting the Indianapolis Colts today, and it sounds like the Colts got the job done. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Field Yates, Sheard will be signing with the Colts. Schefter reports that it’s a three-year contract worth $25.5 million, with $12.75 million guaranteed.
Sheard was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and spent the first four seasons of his career there before signing with the New England Patriots in 2015, where he spent the next two seasons. In his career, he has played in 89 games and started 59, recording 260 tackles, 36 sacks, eleven forced fumbles, and 18 passes defensed. He recorded 13 sacks and four forced fumbles during his two years with the Patriots, including an eight sack season in 2015. He visited the Dolphins yesterday but left without a contract.
He will likely play the strongside outside linebacker spot that Erik Walden occupied for the last few years. This is a good signing for the Colts, and it adds to the list of moves the Colts have made in the last 24 hours at linebacker, as Sheard joins Barkevious Mingo and John Simon as outside linebacker additions. It’s also yet another instance of Chuck Pagano and the Colts clinching the deal with an in-house free agent visit, and this is a guy they seemed to really want, according to reports during this past week.
It’s a significant contract for Sheard, and it’s the biggest investment that Chris Ballard has made during his short time as Colts general manager. But Sheard is a pretty good player, and he should help the Colts’ linebacking corps. With Sheard and Simon now signed, the Colts should look to add a young pass rusher early in the draft. That would give them a pretty solid outside linebacker group, at least comparatively speaking.