The Colts and free agent linebacker Sean Spence have agreed to a one-year, $3MM deal, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter). Spence was not a full-time starter for the division-rival Titans last year, but he did play on nearly 50% of the club’s snaps, managing 50 tackles and three sacks. Indianapolis hopes he can help bolster a unit that ranked 32nd in DVOA against the run in 2016 and placed 31st in DVOA against opposing tight ends.
Spence becomes the latest in a string of free agent additions to the Colts’ linebacker corps, as new GM Chris Ballard has also acquired Jabaal Sheard, Barkevious Mingo, and John Simon. Of course, Sheard, Mingo, and Simon will likely play on the outside, while Spence will roam the middle of the field. The team recently brought Spence in for a visit, along with fellow linebackers Kevin Minter and Jon Bostic, but Minter ultimately signed with the Bengals. Bostic, meanwhile, remains unsigned.
The club opened its offseason by releasing 33-year-old D’Qwell Jackson as it attempts to rejuvenate its defense. Spence is by no means a high-impact acquisition, but he can be a useful player when utilized properly. He ranked as the as the No. 8 LB on PFR’s most recent edition of the top remaining defensive free agents.
Spence, 26, was selected by the Steelers in the third round of the 2012 draft, but the former Miami Hurricane saw his first two NFL seasons wiped out by knee problems. While those health issues contributed to Spence never developing into the sort of player the Steelers may have initially hoped he’d become, Spence did appear in 31 games over his last two seasons in Pittsburgh, starting 13.
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