With the flurry of activity last night, it bares noting that 2 year starter at linebacker Freddy Keiaho was NOT issued a contract tender, and hence becomes a free agent. This is a surprising move for a couple of reasons. If the Colts had tendered the restricted free agent a $1 million contract, they would have been assured either getting him back, or receiving a draft pick back from whatever team signed him. By not offering him a contract, they are essentially saying that he isn’t worth a million dollars to them. For the record, Tyjuan Hagler was also not tendered, which isn’t a surprise.
So in one fell swoop, the Colts have lost both of the projected starting linebackers from the 2008 team. Freddy’s exit is a mild shock, but he failed to be the next ‘great’ linebacker for the Colts. Indy had made a habit out of elevating linebackers to a Pro Bowl level (Peterson who was a 2nd team all NFL in 2005, Washington, June). Freddy struggled mightily in coverage (which was a glaring weakness once Brackett went down), and was never much more than a warm body. Whereas a player like Clint Session struggled early in 2008, but rebounded to show flashes of big hit ability, Keiaho was always merely competent. He was rarely ever ‘to blame’ for a missed play, but also rarely ever made exceptional plays. It’s clear that this move opens the door for Phil Wheeler to move to starter next year.
The market is now flooded with ex-LBs which might also influence the teams decision to not tender Freddy, especially if they have their eyes on Peterson, June, Washington, Brooks, or even Ray Lewis (not likely). It’s a buyers’ market for linebackers, so the Colts either feel they already have enough depth, or there is someone they want to bring back or the cap situation is so tight as to not be able to afford a million dollar contract. Freddy was originally a 2nd round pick in 2006, which means the Colts got a 2 year-starter with that pick. That’s not bad production.
Marvez thinks 88 goes to Philly. I think all Colts fans are hoping for that. I like McNabb, and Marvin going home feels right.