Colts Bring Back Veteran DE on Short-Term Deal

Tyquan Lewis

Getty Tyquan Lewis is returning to Indianapolis for a sixth season.

The Indianapolis Colts re-signed defensive end Tyquan Lewis to a one-year, $2.1 million deal on March 12, per a tweet from The Indianapolis Star’s Joel A. Erickson.

Erickson broke down the details of Lewis’ new deal with the team: a base salary of $1.08 million ($500,000 guaranteed) with a $60,000 bonus for each game he’s listed on the active roster. Lewis can also earn up to $1.25 million in incentives.

The contract marks Lewis’ second consecutive one-year deal, as he inked an extension worth $3 million last offseason coming off of a torn patellar tendon in his right knee.

Lewis had a strong start to his 2022 campaign, posting one sack, two tackles for a loss and four quarterback hits over the first seven games. But in late October, Lewis tore the same tendon in his other knee and had to receive season-ending surgery.

But clearly, Lewis has done enough to return to Indianapolis despite an extensive injury history.

Lewis has only played one full season during his career (2020), putting up 24 total tackles (eight for a loss), four sacks and two passes batted down.

When healthy, however, he has proven himself to be an important depth piece within Indy’s defensive line rotation. Erickson noted that in 999 snaps over the past three seasons, Lewis has recorded 7.5 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss.

Lewis, a 2018 second-round pick out of Ohio State, is entering his sixth season with the Colts.

Lewis Adds to Defensive Line Depth

Re-signing Lewis means the Colts will retain a versatile player within one of its deepest units.

Led by All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, the unit has high expectations with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley returning in 2023.

But last season, it was Lewis and another interior defensive lineman in Grover Stewart whose injuries impacted the team’s depth.

Lewis’ injury, for example, led to more playing time for younger defensive linemen like Dayo Odeyingbo.

A second-year player out of Vanderbilt, Odeyingbo proved he could add to the team’s production given Lewis’ absence. He notched 31 total tackles and five sacks — a significant improvement from 2021.

With Yannick Ngakoue becoming a free agent this offseason, Lewis or Odeyingbo could each see more playing time opposite of left defensive end Kwity Paye in 2023. The Colts could also continue to add to their defensive line depth in free agency via the draft and free agency.

Other Offseason Moves

The March 12 move to re-sign Lewis is one of the more notable transactions that has occurred for the Colts this offseason.

The team brought in UDFA wide receivers Kristian Wilkerson and Malik Turner last month. Lewis returning to Indy also makes him the second defensive free agent the Colts have signed, as the team added CB Kevin Toliver on February 22.

While it does not appear as if the Colts will bring back Ngakoue, it’s still to be determined if other high-profile free agents on the defensive side of the ball will return. Linebacker Bobby Okereke and safety Rodney McLeod are two other starters who might need to be replaced, depending whether or not they sign elsewhere.

With around $12 million remaining in cap space, the team could bring in more free agents this offseason or even focus on extending a high-priority 2024 free agent like CB Kenny Moore II.

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