Free agency begins this Thursday, and there will undoubtedly be a lot of movement that happens right away. It remains to be seen how involved the Colts are in free agency this year with Chris Ballard in charge, but it’s likely that they will at least make some moves.
Considering all of their needs, that’s probably necessary. But it also means that a lot of players would be very good additions for the Colts and, therefore, things that people in the media suggest should happen.
Today, ESPN’s Matt Bowen took a look at a few of the top remaining free agents around the NFL and where the best fits for them are. For Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell, the best fit is in Indianapolis. Wrote Bowen:
Campbell will be 31 years old at the start of the season, but the veteran is the type of versatile talent the Colts need to upgrade their defensive front. With his enormous frame (6-8, 300), Campbell can play as a 5-technique defensive end in the Colts' 3-4 front and also rush off the edge in sub-package situations. Plus, I believe an addition like Campbell would allow new Colts general manager Chris Ballard to start building a culture of toughness and accountability on the defensive side of the ball. With 8.5 sacks in 2016, Campbell has put himself in a position to grab a lot of attention in free agency.
It sounds like Campbell will be testing the free agent market, as he’s expected to get more money than the Cardinals will pay him, which would indeed make him an option for the Colts. He was drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Cardinals and has been with them since, playing in 138 games and starting 122. He’s recorded 501 tackles, 56.5 sacks, 42 passes defensed, three interceptions, and eight forced fumbles, earning two Pro Bowl nods and two second-team All-Pro recognitions. He’s recorded at least six sacks in seven of his eight seasons as a starter, including eight sacks in 2016 to go along with two forced fumbles, 53 tackles, six passes defensed, and an interception.
It’s no secret that the Colts really need pass rush help, but unfortunately for them the top EDGE guys have already been taken off the board due to re-signings and franchise tags. That leaves Campbell as one of the most productive pass rushers on the market, but he’s not a true edge guy and will likely get a significant payday in free agency. And see, that’s a problem the Colts have this year in free agency: if they want to address their pass rush, they don’t have any perfect options in free agency. Matt Bowen suggests that Calais Campbell is a good fit for the Colts, but it’s unclear how realistic of an option it actually is.