Colts unable to seal the deal after Dontari Poe visit
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indianapolis Colts’ courtship of Dontari Poe failed to produce an extended relationship.
While it’s still possible the team could sign the veteran nose tackle, Poe left town after visiting Colts officials Sunday without a contract in hand. He reportedly was headed to Jacksonville for a meeting with the Jaguars. Other teams with interest include Miami, Oakland and Atlanta.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported Poe’s meeting with the Colts “went well’’ but there was “no deal’’ in place.
The Colts have a reputation for signing targeted, high-profile free agents once they arrive at their West 56th Street complex. The fact that didn’t occur likely is an indication Poe is asking for more than first-year general manager Chris Ballard is willing to pay.
Poe could be seeking a multi-year deal in line with the one Brandon Williams received when he re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens: a five-year, $52.5 million deal that included $27.5 million in guarantees.
Poe would have been the latest – and largest – free-agent piece as Ballard continues to revamp a Colts’ defense that a year ago ranked 31st in total yards allowed and 22nd in points allowed. He’s a 6-3, 346-pounder who has anchored the Chiefs’ defense the past five seasons.
Ballard’s interest in Poe came as no surprise. He was part of Kansas City’s personnel department in 2012 when the Chiefs selected Poe with the 11th overall pick in the NFL draft.
Prior to turning their attention to Poe, the Colts signed linebackers Jabaal Sheard, John Simon and Barkevious Mingo. Sheard’s acquisition was the most expensive: a three-year, $25.5 million contract.
Since coach Chuck Pagano’s arrival in 2012 and the Colts’ shift from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4, the defense routinely has ranked in the lower third of the league in total yards allowed per game and rushing yards allowed.
Part of that can be attributed to the absence of a legitimate inside force along the line. The starting nose tackles since 2012 include David Parry (the last 32 games), Josh Chapman (15), Abrayo Franklin (15), Antonio Johnson (13), Montori Hughes (1) and Martin Tevaseu (1).
The immediate future of Parry, a 2015 fifth-round draft pick, is uncertain. He’s facing multiple charges, including two felonies, from a Feb. 25 arrest in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Poe has been a fixture on a Kansas City defense that has been instrumental in the Chiefs reaching the playoffs in three of the past four seasons. He’s been named to two Pro Bowls and missed just two of a possible 80 regular-season games and been credited with 212 tackles, 13 sacks and two forced fumbles.
It’s worth noting, however, that Poe had 10.2 sacks in 2013-14 and just 2.5 the last two seasons.