Tyjuan Hagler: Stay or Go?

Should the Colts retain lineback Tyjuan Hagler or let him walk in free agency? Brad Keller weighs in.

Tyjuan Hagler's time in Indianapolis has been turbulent to say the least. He is an excellent athlete and has tremendous potential but, due to injury or ineffectiveness, he hasn't been able to put everything together and have that one, standout season.

In four seasons with the Colts, he has appeared in 30 games, starting ten of them, and amassed 88 tackles, a pass defended, and a sack.

For someone with Hagler's obvious physical prowess, those numbers are low, even considering the fact that he has missed a good deal of time because of various injuries and ailments.

Hagler may end up being the odd man out in the Colts' linebacking corps
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Hagler has the speed and size that the Indianapolis coaches are looking for in a strongside linebacker, but appears to lack the tenacity and the feel for the game needed to excel at the position in the Cover 2 defense the Colts deploy. He does have a great deal of potential, though, and the Colts coaches may not feel compelled to let him go just yet.

However, teams have been known to pay a fairly high premium for potential, so Hagler may find himself facing a favorable market, especially given the number of Cover 2 teams in the league that are in need of a young veteran to make an impact.

Teams such as Chicago, Detroit, and Tampa could be interested in his services. Hagler's biggest roadblocks to remaining with Indianapolis, though, are on the Colts roster.

Freddy Keiaho — who has 25 starts in three seasons — is a restricted free agent and will be less expensive and easier to sign than Hagler and Buster Davis, who had as many starts this season as Hagler (three), is an exclusive rights free agent and will also be significantly less expensive and easier to sign than Hagler.

In addition, the Colts have Jordan Senn and Clint Session on the roster, who both have starting experience and are under contract, and defensive captain Gary Brackett. Also, Philip Wheeler got hurt and never really was able to show what he could do in his rookie season and, since he's still under contract, too, Indianapolis is anxious to find out what he brings to the table.

With all the depth and players with starting experience on the roster that are either under contract or can be had at a lower rate than Hagler, there may not be enough money left over to sign him.

Although Hagler would certainly add quality depth and be an asset in terms of veteran leadership and versatility — provided he's willing to contribute on special teams — there seems to be too much youth, depth, and inexpensive talent for it to be fiscally responsible for the Colts to bring Hagler back at anything above the veteran minimum.

Hagler will most likely get a better offer from another team and move on, but it should be without any rancor or animosity, since Indianapolis not coming to the table with a stronger offer will have more to do with economics and less to do with anything Hagler has or hasn't — or can or can't — do on the field.

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