Indianapolis Colts free agent focus: Dwight Lowery

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Dwight Lowery/file image

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 18, 2016) – The Indianapolis Colts already are in the process of putting a season of discontent behind them, and ensuring it doesn’t repeat itself.

Foremost on the team’s “To do” list is determining which of its own players whose contracts expire in early-March merit re-signing. More than a dozen players, including the franchise’s all-time scoring leader (Adam Vinatieri) and six others who started at least six games, will become unrestricted free agents unless they sign a new contract before March 9.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a capsule look at a few of the more significant free-agents-to-be.

Dwight Lowery, safety

  • ’15 games/starts: 16/16
  • ’15 salary: $870,000
  • Case for: For the second time in two years, the Colts received tremendous bang for their buck. Last April, they signed Lowery to a one-year, $870,000 contract (veteran’s minimum for a player with his experience) and hoped he would add experience and depth to the position. It was similar to the team signing Mike Adams prior to 2014, again to a one-year deal at the league minimum.
     
    Lowery responded by being one of five defensive players to start all 16 games. But he didn’t just take up space. Lowery finished third on the team with 83 tackles and was second with four interceptions (Adams had five). He also joined Adams and linebackers D’Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman in returning an interception for a touchdown.
     
    Owner Jim Irsay stressed the team must get younger during the offseason, and Lowery just turned 30. But that shouldn’t be held against him. He proved last season he’s worth the investment.
  • Case against: As we mentioned, the Colts are committed to getting younger. Of the 75 players under contract, 17 are at least 30. That includes Lowery, who turned 30 in January. And that includes his running mate at safety last season, Mike Adams, turns 35 in March. His nickname is “Pops.”
     
    As far as we’re concerned, age is the only factor working against retaining Lowery. The team believes Clayton Geathers, a 2015 fourth-round draft pick, is a long-term solution at the position.
     
    Fine. But there’s value in retaining proven depth. And let’s keep in mind, Lowery is 30, not 36.
  • Projection: Sign him, unless his asking price is too steep. After Adams was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014, the team re-signed him to a two-year, $4.25 million contract. Lowery shouldn’t break the bank.
  • Quotable: “It’s hard coming in and only being on a one-year deal and having to create that bond, when there’s really just a lot of unknowns,” Lowery told Colts.com.
     
    “Some guys have been here the past two and three years together. That’s what made it difficult.
     
    “By the end of the season, that’s when I felt it was comfortable and felt like I was one of the guys.”

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51