Trent Cole, Outside Linebacker
Trent Cole is another free agent signing that has not panned out the way the Colts had hoped. After signing a two-year, $16 million deal with the Colts in 2015, Cole had a relatively disappointing regular season.
Cole started five of 14 games for the Colts and only recorded 32 tackles and three sacks in 2015. He was once a terrorizing pass rusher, but it is clear those days are a thing of the past.
While Cole is capable of being a starter for the Colts in 2016, a contributing role with the team is not guaranteed. The Colts have two other starting-caliber outside linebackers and a plethora of rookies looking to make a name for themselves.
Robert Mathis is the clear leader at outside linebacker for the Colts and figures to be a full-time starter for them. Cole needs to be worried about Erik Walden who could easily surpass him on the depth chart. Walden started 15 games for the Colts in 2015 – most times, starting over Cole.
Meanwhile, the Colts have a bunch of intriguing rookies who could possibly push Cole for his roster spot. The Colts drafted linebacker Trevor Bates in the seventh round, who the Colts think can play inside and outside. At the same time, they signed Curt Maggitt and Ron Thompson, two undrafted rookies who showed flashes of potential in limited opportunities in college.
Even though Cole took a pay cut to stay with the team for this season, it does not mean his spot on the team is secured. He will enter training camp on the hot seat because he still needs to prove he can be a productive contributor for the Colts.
If Cole does not perform well, he puts himself in a precarious position because the Colts want to get younger. If Cole is not performing better than one or two of their rookies, the Colts could be tempted to part ways with him.
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