During his ‘Day 2’ post-draft press conference, Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard was asked whether veteran free agent edge Justin Houston would be re-signed, and his response of, “We’ve got a pretty full room,” indicates that it’s no longer an option:
“You know, we’ve got a pretty full room,” Ballard said. “We got a pretty full room, and I love Justin. But we’ve got a pretty full room at this time.”
While Colts team owner Jim Irsay indicated that Houston returning was still a possibility a few weeks ago, it appears that such a door has now seemingly been shut.
It comes just after the Colts have taken two top edge prospects: Michigan’s Kwity Paye and Vanderbilt’s Dayo Odeyingbo in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft respectively.
It makes sense too.
The Colts have lost Denico Autry and now, presumably Houston in free agency, but having already signed Isaac Rochell as additional rotational depth and just drafted Paye and Odeyingbo, there’s just too many bodies in what’s already a crowded defensive end room.
Even though Houston would’ve been useful as a mentor for Paye and the Colts’ other young pass rushers, he doesn’t play special teams and their positional depth chart appears already full.
Still, the Colts figure to lose Houston’s veteran leadership in the locker room and proven production as a pass rusher—with 19.0 combined sacks over the past two seasons for Indianapolis.
However, the Colts needed to get younger, more athletic, faster, more explosive, and bendier off the edge, and it appears that Houston was a veteran casualty from the much needed transition.