It's a 4-year, $40M deal with $22M guaranteed. https://t.co/ACXH3V73Om— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2023
Having already signed All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard to a mega-deal, as well as another rock solid starting linebacker, Zaire Franklin, to a lucrative multi-year deal last offseason, the Colts were going to be hard-pressed to retain another well paid starter at the position in Okereke’s case with the team’s salary cap constraints.
The former 2019 third round pick was one consistently one of the defense’s best players last season—especially in Leonard’s extended absence, finishing with 151 tackles (99 solo), 5 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries during 17 games (16 starts).
Lauded for his pass coverage ability entering the league, the 26 year old was actually a greater asset against the run game last season for the Colts. While he earned a +73.3 overall grade from PFF, it included an impressive +79.3 run defense grade.
For the Colts, with Leonard’s uncertain recovery from a second back surgery, general manager Chris Ballard will likely make a good faith effort to retain fellow free agent linebacker E.J. Speed, who’s shown flashes and the ability to fully break out soon.