Just when some people were starting to get nervous that Bjoern Werner’s lack of contract would cause him to miss some or all of training camp, the former standout defensive end from Florida State signed his four-year rookie contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, July 24.
The deal is reportedly worth almost $7.9 million, of which $6.4milion is guaranteed.
The signing means the Colts’ number-1 draft pick and promising outside linebacker prospect will make it to training camp on Saturday without a hitch. Not making it to camp on-time would have impeded his development as a rookie entering a new system, and also prevented him from participating in the pre-camp rookie sessions.
There are high expectations for Werner, who was 24th overall pick in the April draft. He was a disruptive force Florida State, playing the defensive end position. He tallied 13 sacks and 18 tackles for loss on his way to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
“It’s another opportunity to get on the field. It’s another opportunity to be in the classroom. It’s another opportunity to go through the two or three ‘installs,’ re-familiarize yourself with the terminology, the calls, everything,” head coach Chuck Pagano said.
Only time will tell how much time Werner actually sees on the field. Training camp will go a long way in determining the starting lineup. If the offseason work he did is any indication, he will play backup at the strong-side linebacker spot, behind Robert Mathis.
Of course, as the regular season progresses, all bets are off, since anything can happen to affect the starting lineup, from unexpected injuries to plain old beating out the competition to earn the starting spot.
He will most likely be utilized in pass-rush packages, when defensive coordinator Greg Manusky is trying to prevent 3rd down conversions.