INDIANAPOLIS —Signed to a one-year "prove-it" type of deal last offseason, Barkevious Mingo turned out to be quite the stat sheet stuffer for the Indianapolis Colts.
Not only did Mingo establish a career high in tackles, but he got after the quarterback and forced — and recovered — more fumbles than any other player on the Colts' defense.
But when starter John Simon went down with a stinger injury Week 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, forcing him to miss three games, and then re-aggravated the same injury Week 13, also against the Jaguars, it was Mingo's ability to step in and produce that really stood out.
And now, Mingo has set himself up nicely as he is set to become a free agent once again when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. March 14.
A monster at LSU from 2010-12, Mingo's elite athleticism and high ceiling was on the mind of the Cleveland Browns back in 2013, when they made him the sixth-overall pick in that year's NFL Draft. In 15 games his rookie season, Mingo responded with five sacks as he continued to try to learn how to play at the highest level.
But he would see his production slip over the next two seasons; despite playing in 15 and 16 games, respectively, in 2014 and 2015, he would combine to have just two sacks over that span. Mingo was traded by the Browns to the New England Patriots just prior to the start of the 2016 regular season, and, as a backup and core special teamer, he would play in all 16 games, as well as the team's three playoff games, and earn a Super Bowl ring for his efforts.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard signed Mingo last offseason to help provide depth behind Simon and fellow outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard, and to see if he could tap into some of that potential with a fresh opportunity.
Mingo responded with his best-overall year as a pro: career highs in tackles (44), forced fumbles (three) and fumble recoveries (two), while he also had two sacks and seven quarterback hits. He also finished tied for third on the team with five special teams tackles, and recovered a muffed punt return Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
With Simon and Sheard, as well as 2017 third-round pick Tarell Basham, set to return in 2018, the Colts could very well decide to try to bring Mingo back, or they could explore other options at the position in the draft or free agency.
The team also has signed two young outside linebackers, Arthur Miley and Josh Perry, to Reserve/Future deals, ensuring spots for the offseason.2018 Colts Free Agent Watch:* *
- Wide receiver Kamar Aiken
- Inside linebacker Jon Bostic
- Safety Darius Butler
- Cornerback Pierre Desir
- Running back Frank Gore
- Cornerback Rashaan Melvin
- Guard Jack Mewhort
- Running back Christine Michael
- Outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo
- Wide receiver Donte Moncrief
- Center Mike Person
- Quarterback Scott Tolzien
- Kicker Adam Vinatieri
- Tight end Brandon Williams
52 Mingo, Barkevious OLB 6-4 239lbs 27yrs 5yrs LSU