The Indianapolis Colts made notable moves affecting their linebacker corps on the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period, March 13. One of the Indianapolis Colts’ top linebackers is entering free agency, while a longtime depth piece is sticking around.

According to a tweet from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, linebacker Bobby Okereke signed with the New York Giants. The Score’s Jordan Schultz added that Okereke inked a four-year, $40 million deal with $22 million in guaranteed money.

Later in the evening, Schultz tweeted once again — this time announcing that the Colts re-signed linebacker E.J. Speed to a two-year, $8 million deal with $500,000 in incentives each season.

Okereke signing elsewhere means Speed will be the returning piece of an already dynamic linebacker corps featuring Darius Leonard and Zaire Franklin.

Okereke and Speed’s Impact in Indy

A former third-round pick out of Stanford, Okereke posted career-best numbers in 2022 with 151 total tackles, two forced fumbles and five pass breakups. He often started alongside Franklin due to Leonard’s back injury, which forced him to miss most of the season.

According to Nex Gen Stats on Twitter, Okereke was targeted 78 times in 2022 — more than any other linebacker. Despite that, he allowed -2.3 receptions over expected and 5.9 yards per target.

Another factor Next Gen Stats noted was Okereke’s versatility. For the incoming five-year pro, that’s his impact in both the run and passing game.

“Okereke generated 75 defensive stops in 2022, tied for 10th-most among LB,” Next Gen Stats tweeted. “The Giants linebackers combined for 87 defensive stops last season, 19 fewer than any other defense.”

The deal won’t go into effect until March 15 — the start of the NFL new league year. Once it’s official, however, Okereke will enter a positive situation under Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale — who was also a Colts head coaching candidate this offseason — leading the way.

Speed also dropped career-high stats in 2022 but had a different fate from Okereke.

A special teamer his first two NFL seasons (2019-2020), Speed made his first start in 2021 and added five more starts in 2022 (17 total appearances). He had 63 …read more



Colts LB Corps Shuffles in Free Agency: Reports

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