Margus Hunt

Colts Re-Sign Margus Hunt

The Colts re-signed defensive lineman Margus Hunt, according to a team announcement. Prior to the deal, Hunt was set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13. It’s a two-year, $9MM deal that could be worth up to $10MM through incentives, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

Hunt, 32 this summer, spent the first four years of his career with the Bengals. Then, in 2017, the former second-round pick joined the Colts as a free agent.

Hunt spent his first season as a spot starter and managed to make some noise. In 2018, he adjusted well to the team’s new 4-3 scheme and recorded career highs in tackles (30), tackles for loss (13), sacks (5.0). He also registered six quarterback hits, two passes defensed, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Thanks in part to Hunt, the Colts’ defense improved in terms of both total defense and run defense.

Margus is a unique guy inside because of his length,” Colts GM Chris Ballard said of Hunt in January. “Putting him at the three (technique) and the one (technique) it really kind of accentuated on what he is really good at. We were fortunate to have Margus.”

The Colts will also return key front seven players Denico Autry, Jabaal Sheard, Tyquan Lewis, and Kemoko Turay in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Condo, Colts, Jets, Kendricks

Long snapper Jon Condo spent 12 years with the Raiders, earning a pair of Pro Bowl nods along the way. However, the organization moved on from the 36-year-old this offseason, opting to roll with a younger alternative in Andrew DePaola.

While Condo may have 176 games under his belt, he isn’t planning on hanging up his cleats any time soon.

“I’m a free agent right now,” Condo told Mike Boytim of the Altoona Mirror“My first year was 2005, so I’ve been in the league for 13 years. I’m happy with where I’m at, but I’m also hungry to get back out on the field. If a team comes calling, I’m definitely staying available and keeping in shape. I want to make myself ready for the opportunity.”

While Condo had a visit with the Texans earlier this offseason, he understands that his opportunities have essentially dried up. However, he’s still optimistic that a job could open up during the preseason.

“There’s definitely teams interested,” Condo said. “But with me being 36 years old, they want to give the reps to the younger guys. They know what I can do. If they want to see me, they can put on 12 years of film. I’ve spoken with my agent, and he told me a lot of teams are interested in me, but right now it’s a matter of someone getting hurt or a team losing confidence in their guy.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the AFC…

  • While Titans undrafted rookie wideout Deontay Burnett is talented, Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com believes fellow undrafted receivers Jordan Veasy and Devin Ross were more impressive during OTAs. When asked which other undrafted rookies could crack Tennessee’s 53-man roster, Wyatt pointed to running back Akrum Wadley and linebacker Sharif Finch.
  • The Colts have a number of talented offensive and defensive linemen on their roster, and Kevin Bowen of 1070TheFan.com writes that the team will have to cut bait with some notable names. For instance, offensive lineman Le’Raven Clark and Jeremy Vujnovich could end up being on the chopping block, while defensive linemen Margus Hunt, Chris McCain, Hassan Ridgeway, and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are all fighting for limited roster spots.
  • The Jets signed linebacker Avery Williamson to a three-year, $22.5MM contract back in March, but Brian Costello of the New York Post writes that there’s no certainty he’ll be a three-down player. His former team, the Titans, would take Williamson out of the game during passing downs, but Jets head coach Todd Bowles has expressed optimism that the linebacker will remain on the field in all scenarios. While Costello doesn’t sound all too bullish on that sentiment, he does believe Williamson will end up being a primary pass rusher for his new team.
  • Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com lists Mychal Kendricks as the Browns‘ “key linebacker.” The 27-year-old sat out minicamp as he recovered from offseason ankle surgery, but it shouldn’t take long for him to fit in with his new team, as he has the versatility to play any of the linebacker spots. Cabot writes that Kendricks will initially contribute as the “Will” linebacker, although that means he’s behind Christian Kirksey on the depth chart. “Being more in the box, run front, blitzing, covering backs and tight ends from the Will is what he’s done,” said linebackers coach Blake Williams“That’s where he’ll definitely start out from the get-go to make sure that it’s as seamless a transition as possible. As he can take more, we can move him around more, but we want him to have confidence and success to start out with.”

Colts To Sign Margus Hunt

The Colts hosted Margus Hunt on a visit today and saw enough to sign the edge player to a two-year contract, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Hunt saw action as a rotational player for the Bengals last season but never ascended to becoming a regular starter despite Cincinnati having invested a second-round pick in the 6-foot-8 Estonian. The lanky defender played 322 snaps for Cincinnati last season but hasn’t started a game yet as an NFLer.

An SMU product, Hunt has 1.5 career sacks. He profiles as outside pass-rushing depth for a Colts team that’s spent time rebuilding that area over the past few days. Indianapolis added Jabaal Sheard and John Simon to UFA deals late last week and also signed possible depth piece Barkevious Mingo to a one-year contract.

Hunt will transition from the Bengals’ 4-3 to the Colts’ 3-4, one that will have much younger presences on its edges in 2017 than it did previously. The Colts featured Robert Mathis, Erik Walden and Trent Cole as their primary outside linebackers last season. The latter two are free agents, and Mathis retired after the season. Walden is looking for a new team after announcing the Colts aren’t planning to bring him back.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Shazier, Smith, Hunt, Wilder

Steelers first-rounder Ryan Shazier looks like the “real deal,” according to Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com: “The Steelers knew Shazier was fast when they drafted him No. 1 from The Ohio State University. But since arriving on the South Side of Pittsburgh Shazier has gotten Maurkice Pouncey‘s attention with physicality in practice, stunned Bruce Gradkowski with leaping ability on the way to an interception and impressed Ben Roethlisberger as a potential defensive signal-caller someday. Shazier also has been running with the first-team defense since snap one of OTAs. He’ll still have to do it in pads this summer, but he created a consistent buzz this spring.”

Here’s a few more AFC North notes:

  • Ravens head coach John Harbaugh says veteran inside linebacker Daryl Smith, who re-signed for four years and $16MM, played at a high level last season, writes Garrett Downing on BaltimoreRavens.com. That means first-rounder C.J. Mosley and 2013 second-rounder Arthur Brown will compete for playing time next to Smith.
  • The Bengals have high expectations for 27-year-old, second-year Estonian defensive end Margus Hunt, writes Geoff Hobson on Bengals.com. A 2013 second-round project, Hunt is a “freakish,” 6-8, 291-pounder who might be ready to contribute at left end.
  • Bengals running back James Wilder Jr., an undrafted free agent out of Florida State, claims he broke a team conditioning record, but he’s on the outside looking in for now, says ESPN’s Coley Harvey.
  • Browns All-Pro Joe Haden is the latest to (delicately) express concern over Johnny Manziel’s partying ways (radio interview with 850 AM here), but says nothing Manziel is doing away from the team facility is negatively affecting his work. Haden merely suggests, “Just try to have fun without the whole world knowing.”