Johnathan Hankins Released by Colts After Year 1 of $27M Contract

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 17:  Johnathan Hankins #95 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after a tackle against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts announced the release of defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins on Saturday.

Indy signed Hankins to a three-year, $27 million contract last offseason. It will save more than $8.5 million against the cap with no dead money after cutting ties with him, per Spotrac.

The 320-pound Hankins excelled as a nose tackle in the Colts' 3-4 defense last season, registering 44 combined tackles, two sacks and three passes defended.

With the Colts transitioning to a 4-3 under new head coach Frank Reich and defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, however, Hankins no longer fit their scheme.

The 26-year-old spent the first four years of his career with the New York Giants after they selected him in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft out of Ohio State.

Hankins was a starter in his final three seasons with the G-Men, and his best campaign came in 2014 when he racked up career highs with 51 tackles and seven sacks.

The Colts are left with major question marks at defensive tackle, as Margus Hunt, Anthony Johnson, Grover Stewart and Hassan Ridgeway are the top candidates to replace Hankins.

Look for Indianapolis to address the interior of its defensive line, especially after picking up two additional 2018 second-round picks from the New York Jets on Saturday in trading down from No. 3 to No. 6 in the first round.

Washington's Vita Vea, Alabama's Da'Ron Payne, Michigan's Maurice Hurst, Florida's Taven Bryan and Stanford's Harrison Phillips are among the top defensive tackles available in the 2018 draft.

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