Former Ohio State stud John Simon entered the NFL offseason as an unrestricted free agent, but the Houston Texans decided not to retain the linebacker moving forward. Instead, the Indianapolis Colts have agreed to terms with the Buckeye on a 3-year deal worth a maximum of $17 million, according to ESPN.
Simon’s 2017 base salary will be $1.5 million, along with a $4 million roster bonus, according to Stampede Blue. The next season will have a $3 million base and $3.5 million in the final year. The contract includes up to $1.5 million in bonuses in years 2018 and 2019 for Pro Bowl appearances, snap counts and sacks.
The edge rusher had a career-season as a Texan in 2016, even though he only suited up for 11 of the 16 games. He finished the year with 51 total tackles (42.5% of his career total), 3.5 sacks, two passes defended and a forced fumble.
In Week 11’s Monday Night Football game against the Oakland Raiders, Simon suffered a chest injury in the overtime loss. Despite rehabbing 12 hours a day, Simon was only active for one additional regular season game the rest of the year. His dedication to getting back in the game spoke volumes about the type of player he is, making him even more valuable.
Simon also had a secret weapon in Houston: former linebacker coach and now defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the Buckeye who chose to come back to Ohio State and help coach during the transition year between Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer — you know, the one under Luke Fickell.
Vrabel is actually a big reason Simon was in Houston to begin with. The linebacker was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, before being released after just one season and added to the team’s practice squad. Two months later in Oct. 2014, the Texans swooped in and picked up the Buckeye.
Under Vrabel’s tutelage, Simon thrived as a back-up to J.J. Watt and eventually turned that into a starting role with Watt’s season-ending injury ahead of the 2016 season.