Tim Warner | Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS – We are less than two months away from NFL free agency beginning.
Over the next few weeks, you will start to see some teams take care of unrestricted free agents that they want to bring back.
For the Colts, they have 12 unrestricted free agents, with not a lot of guarantees on who to definitely bring back.
Jabaal Sheard Free Agent Watch
Since Chris Ballard’s arrival in 2017, Jabaal Sheard has started 11 more games than any other Colts defender.
Sheard has been a durable and consistent defensive presence, surviving a shift in schemes.
The strength for Sheard comes in his ability to play on run downs. He’s averaged around 5 sacks per season in his three years with the Colts.
At the age of 30, Sheard is an interesting case study as he hits another free agency.
The Colts have younger defensive end options—with major investments—in Kemoko Turay, Ben Banogu and even Tyquan Lewis, although he’s thought to be mostly an interior guy.
But those guys, particularly Turay and Banogu, have yet to show a strong presence on run downs.
That is where Sheard excels.
Also, Sheard’s leadership and professionalism is very appreciated by the organization and something Ballard wants to improve on in 2020.
Following the end of the season, Ballard commented on Sheard’s pending free agency.
“After Jack Doyle, (Sheard) was the next guy we signed here when I got here,” Ballard said. “What a pro, what a pro. Fun to get to know him, the way he works, the way he’s in the locker room. He’s everything you want a player to be in terms of being a pro. You want to talk about a guy who fights through injury? He’s battling the knee (in 2019), misses all of Training Camp, misses the first four weeks of the preseason, he just battles, great teammate.
“We haven’t made any decisions yet on who we’re bringing back and who we’re not, but I hold Jabaal Sheard, wherever his future may be, whether it’s here or somewhere else, I hold Jabaal Sheard in high regard. Appreciate him, what he brought to the Colts.”
Does that sound like a genuine farewell?
Or a guy the Colts could bring back on a short-term deal?