This summer, new general manager Chris Ballard will like add new players to the Indianapolis Colts‘ roster to help him establish a new culture. As a result, defensive tackle Dontari Poe could be a sought-after free agent target for him.
Obviously, the Colts need to make sweeping changes to their defense. They statistically had one of the worst defenses in 2016, and a lot of their key players are aging. With that in mind, this is a perfect scenario for Ballard to reshape the roster in whatever way he sees fit.
Ballard has a clear vision for what he wants for the Colts’ roster in the long-term, or else he would not have the job. The best way for him to reach that goal is by adding players who already know what his expectations are. Enter Dontari Poe.
More from Indianapolis Colts
- The Indianapolis Colts Have a Brutal Road Schedule in 2019
- Who Could the Indianapolis Colts Target in Free Agency?
- Here is Where the Colts Will Pick in the First Round of the NFL Draft
- What’s Next For the Indianapolis Colts?
- Hey Kansas City, the Indianapolis Colts are Coming
Poe is set to become a free agent this summer after five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, Ballard’s former team. The Chiefs could try to re-sign Poe, but safety Eric Berry will be a free agent too.
Currently, it is likely the Chiefs will only be able to re-sign one guy. Although the Chiefs think they can keep both, most people expect them to bring back Berry and let Poe go. The Colts and Ballard could benefit from this scenario.
After showing gradual improvement in his first three seasons, Poe’s play has declined statistically. He averaged at least 45 tackles and three sacks in his first three years. In the past two, he averaged 33 tackles and one sack.
It is concerning Poe has play has declined a bit over the past two years. However, it rare to find a 346-pound defensive lineman who commands the entire opposing team’s attention. That is a type of player the Colts’ need to fortify their defensive interior.
The Colts have around $55 million in cap space to work with this offseason. Although Ballard seems hesitant about “buying a locker room,” he knows what Poe brings to the table. That might be enough of a reason for him to pull the trigger on signing a high-priced free agent.
The bidding war for Poe will be interesting to see if he does hit the market. Right now, Spotrac lists Poe’s market value at $12.1 million annually. A contract like that would make him the third richest Colts’ player on a per year average.
Indianapolis has more than enough cap space to make a deal like that. Still, that is a lot of money to commit to a player whose numbers are not spectacular.
The Colts have manipulated the roster to help establish their culture once before. When Chuck Pagano left the Baltimore Ravens in 2012, the Colts signed former Ravens’ players like Cory Redding and Tom Zbikowski to help him establish the culture.
Obviously, this is a different situation since Ballard is the general manager and does not directly interact with players daily. Also, Redding and Zbikowski were low-cost free agents while Poe is a one of the top potential free agents of this summer.
Even with the differences, who is to say Poe cannot be a guy who can help establish Ballard’s “winning culture?” By all accounts, he has been a solid locker room guy in Kansas City.
Poe will continuously be connected to the Colts unless he re-signs with the Chiefs or joins a different team. Ballard has certainly seen Poe’s work up-close and personal. So if he think Poe is worth signing, people should give him the benefit of the doubt.