The Indianapolis Colts are reportedly interested in retaining defensive lineman Denico Autry, but they will have some competition if he hits free agency.
The Indianapolis Colts enter the new league year with approximately $43.6 million in cap space as of this writing, per Over the Cap. While the Colts could be viewed as big spenders in free agency, they also have a staggering number of their players set to hit the open market. One of those players is defensive lineman Denico Autry.
According to FanSided National NFL Writer Matt Verderame, Autry is drawing “significant interest” from the Colts in hopes of retaining him for the foreseeable future. Additionally, Verderame and FanSided NFL insider Matt Lombardo report that Autry will have “a bevy of suitors” if he were to hit free agency.
Autry set to be a popular name in free agency
The hype surrounding Autry is legitimate. In Lombardo’s latest “Between the Hash Marks” column, an AFC Scouting Director raved about the pass-rusher’s versatility:
“He lines up and fits in any defensive scheme. You can rush him inside or off the edge. He’s been productive and even though he is 31, you watch him on film and he’s just starting to hit his stride.”
Autry signed on with the Colts at the start of the 2018 league year on a $17.8 million contract over three seasons. Through this span, Autry recorded 102 total tackles, 32 quarterback hits, 20 sacks, five passes defended, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. In terms of rushing the quarterback, Autry tallied 57 pressures, 27 hurries and nine knockdowns, per Pro Football Reference.
Considering the Colts defensive line thrived this past season, it comes as no shock that the front office would like to sign him to a new deal. Not only do they have to worry about Autry hitting the open market, but also veteran edge rusher Justin Houston. Interestingly enough, FanSided has learned that the Colts would also like to retain Houston, but he does have himself a market in free agency.
General manager Chris Ballard has the funds to retain Autry, but he may very well have to enter a bidding war with a variety of other teams for his services once the league year begins on March 17.