Indianapolis Colts have signed a $66 Million Defender

Colts Urged to Sign ‘Hard-Hitting’ Defender Projected to Make $66 Million

he Indianapolis Colts need to find a new starting safety now that Julian Blackmon is slated to hit free agency. Because of that, Aaron Schatz of ESPN believes Indy should sign pending free agent safety Kyle Dugger.

“Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley loves a hard-hitting strong safety, from Kam Chancellor in Seattle to Derwin James Jr. with the Chargers. That’s a position where the Colts can upgrade, especially with Julian Blackmon a free agent,” Schatz wrote on March 1. “Dugger is a skilled, forceful player who fits the run well; his average run tackle came after a gain of just 4.5 yards, one of the lowest figures of any NFL safety last season. He can also cover tight ends if needed. He would help a Colts defense that ranked 20th in DVOA last season, including 24th against the run.”

What to Know About Kyle Dugger

Dugger, 27, entered the NFL as a second-round pick — 37th overall — of the New England Patriots in 2020 out of Division II Lenoir-Rhyne.

During his four seasons in New England, Dugger proved to be a physical safety that can play multiple roles. He managed to record over 160 snaps in the box (1,564), in the slot (608), at free safety (577), out wide as a corner (202), and on the defensive line (167) during that timeframe.

Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 222 pounds, Dugger’s calculated market value, according to Spotrac, is $66.2 million over four years, which is an average annual value (AAV) of $16.5 million. That type of contract would make Dugger the fourth-highest-paid safety in the NFL based on AAV, according to Over The Cap.

Does Kyle Dugger Make Sense for Colts?

If Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley wants a hard-hitting safety to fill the void left behind by Blackmon (assuming the Colts don’t retain Blackmon), then Dugger fits the bill.

Dugger is a versatile defender who can add some extra physicality to Indy’s defense while also improving the team’s run defense, which struggled last season. And with $72 million in cap space this offseason, the Colts can afford to make a pricey addition like Dugger.

Users on X, formerly Twitter, discussed the state of the Colts’ safety room heading into free agency.

My mentions today are making me aware that a lot of fans seem to think the #Colts safety room is better than it is,” Destin Adams of A to Z Sports wrote. “If they lost Blackmon they’d immediately have one of the worst safety duos in the entire league.”

“I would argue (the Colts have the) worst (safety room) in the league,” another user wrote. “Rodney Thomas II had one of the worst seasons in recent memory. We have to add a Vet & a draftee at S, along with Julian. It’s that bad. I do like the kid from Cal to contribute immediately on ST.”

“What does all in for Ballard look like for Colts fan. What does he have to do to make you satisfied. For me it’s a vet safety and CB. That’s really it,” another user wrote.

“The depth in 2023 at safety was hot garbage,” another user wrote. “The Colts need to re-sign Blackmon, while also continuing to develop their younger guys, AND sign Tashaun Gipson Sr (another good veteran safety) to a 1 year deal (that will be pretty cheap) AND draft a safety in the 1st 4 rounds…”

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