Colts DE-Justin Houston looks out onto the field before a game.
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 06: Defensive end Justin Houston #99 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during pre-game workouts, prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

Colts 2021 Free Agent Watch: Justin Houston

INDIANAPOLIS – Compared to what Justin Houston had done in Kansas City the previous four seasons, what he’s given the Colts proves that was a good signing for Chris Ballard.

When Houston arrived to the Colts in 2019, after the Chiefs decided to make him a cap casualty, he had struggled to string together seasons of consistent production and/or availability.

He hadn’t played a full season since 2014 (having missed 21 games the previous four years).

He hadn’t had a double-digit sack season since 2014.

In Indy, Houston didn’t miss a single game in two seasons and produced years of 11.0 and 8.0 sacks.

While the Colts were busy waiting (and still waiting) for young edge rushers to emerge, Houston gave this team much-needed dependability.

Houston is also a guy who can play three downs, something that not all pass rushers can offer.

At 32 though, the Colts face a decision to make on the older Houston.

Young rushers in Kemoko Turay and Ben Banogu have a variety of questions entering their 4th and 3rd years respectively.

The 2020 production of Houston dipped a bit, with him having just 12 quarterback hits which is an incredibly low number for someone with the number of sacks he produced (8.0).

Are there other, younger, edge guys on the open free agent market (Cincinnati’s Carl Lawson? Detroit’s Romeo Okwrara?) that would entice the Colts more?

Still, Houston is a guy who works at the level the Colts want. And the in-house options to step into his role aren’t proven at all.

Would a short-term deal, not at the $12 million annually he signed for in 2019 though, make sense?

This will be an interesting one to see play out.

2021 Colts Free Agent Watches

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett

Tight End Trey Burton

Running Back Marlon Mack

Wide Receiver T.Y. Hilton

Left Tackle Le’Raven Clark

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