Erik Walden is operating like a player who knows he will have to find a new NFL home. Despite delivering a career-best season in his Colts contract year, the pass-rusher appears set to leave Indianapolis after tweeting a parting-ways message today (all Twitter links).
We haven’t heard much from the 31-year-old UFA this offseason despite Walden coming off an 11-sack season. But the Colts signed younger talents Jabaal Sheard and John Simon this week and made a potential depth addition in Barkevious Mingo.
While Walden came through with 11 sacks, that represented a big leap from his usual production level. He’d only once before delivered more than three in a season, coming with a six-sack slate for the 2014 Colts. However, he’s two years younger than Lorenzo Alexander, who’d delivered a nondescript pass-rushing career prior to breaking out for 12.5 sacks, so there could be a slower-developing market for Walden. Alexander received two years and $9MM from the Bills. Walden finished a four-year, $16MM Colts deal in January.
Prior to playing in Indianapolis, Walden entered the league as a sixth-round pick in 2008. He bounced around until playing two full seasons with the Packers en route to landing that UFA Colts deal in 2013. He only missed three regular-season games for the Colts during his tenure.