Will Bobby Okereke’s free-agent market be too rich for Colts?
The Indianapolis Colts have one week before the legal tampering period opens, which begins two days ahead of the official start of free agency, and linebacker Bobby Okereke is expected to have a strong market.
Okereke, 26, is coming off of a strong season as the starting MIKE linebacker in Gus Bradley’s defense and could drum up some significant interest in free agency.
The Colts would like to re-sign Okereke, who has become a fixture in the middle of the defense, but there’s a good chance they get outbid in free agency.
According to Jordan Schultz of The Score, Okereke’s market could land him a deal that includes an average annual value of $12-14 million per year.
#Colts FA LB Bobby Okereke was a trending name in Indy. Lots of teams like him and sources say he has a significant market with several suitors – including the #Bears and #Panthers. I’m told Okereke could sign a deal in the $12-14M range, per season. @theScore pic.twitter.com/EkuLMMXiad
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 6, 2023
It should be noted that reports around this time of the offseason should be taken with a grain of salt, regardless of where they come from. Often these reports at this time are coming from agents of players rather than team executives.
However, it’s not unrealistic that Okereke’s market could look something like that. If Okereke pulled in $12 million AAV on his next deal, it would make him the eighth highest-paid linebacker in the NFL. That might be a little rich, but we’ve seen teams go above and beyond for players they like.
The Chicago Bears, of course, look like a perfect fit considering their need to replace Roquan Smith and the history Okereke has with head coach Matt Eberflus, who was the Colts defensive coordinator for Okereke’s first three seasons.
With Shaquille Leonard’s massive contract on the books, it will be difficult for the Colts to pay top-10 linebacker money to two players considering their other needs.
There’s a week left until the legal tampering period begins so we should be getting some updates soon.
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