Colts Sign Veteran Running Back Spencer Ware
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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts have done their homework on veteran running backs this offseason.
After not selecting a running back in the 2019 Draft, they decided to make a move on the veteran running back market.
The team signed Spence Ware (5-10 and 229 pounds) on Tuesday morning, to a one-year deal reportedly in the $1.3 million range. The Colts brought Ware in for a visit earlier this spring.
Ware, 27, brings 40 career games (18 starts) of NFL experience and offers the Colts a bigger back to offset the more elusive runners in Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines.
The Colts brought Ware in for a visit earlier this spring, and also did the same with veteran Jay Ajayi.
Connections to Ware include Chris Ballard being in Kansas City when the Chiefs traded for Ware in 2014. Ware was drafted in the 6th round by Seattle in 2013, with current Indy assistant GM Ed Dodds on the Seahawks staff for that draft.
Last year, Ware played in 13 games and finished the season with 51 carries for 246 yards (4.8 YPC). The Chiefs turned to Ware after cutting Kareem Hunt last season, before Damian Williams emerged as their top back in the playoffs.
In his career, Ware has 1,580 yards on 340 carries (4.6 YPC) and 11 touchdowns. He has caught 59 balls for 676 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Ware has battled injuries the past two years, missing the 2017 season with a torn PCL.
Projecting the possible fit for Ware in Indianapolis is a little tough.
Mack is the team’s feature back and Hines fills the hybrid running back/receiver role. Jordan Wilkins showed several flashes last season but was often not involved in the game plan when Mack and Hines were healthy. Fourth-string back Jonathan Williams is someone Chris Ballard has mentioned as player the staff is intrigued by, too. Williams, a 5th round pick of the Bills in 2016, was inactive for the Colts’ final 6 games last season.
If everyone is healthy, maybe Ware slides into a change of pace option, although it’s no guarantee he even makes the roster.
But an injury to someone like Mack would certainly increase the role for Ware.
Following the 2019 Draft, Ballard had this to say about the running back group.
“We are looking at the undrafted market right now and there are still some guys that we like out there on the street,” the GM said. “We drafted Marlon Mack and we drafted Hines and Wilkins a year ago and we like all three of them. And we like Williams. I kind of beat the drum to that one.
“We think we have a pretty good stable of backs and we will try to add a couple more here in the next week or two.”
Besides signing Ware, the Colts made three other roster moves on Tuesday.
In trying to create more room for undrafted free agents, the team waived/released S-Isaiah Johnson, DT-DeShawn Williams and WR-James Wright.