Eric Ebron signs two-year deal with Indianapolis Colts


Tight end Eric Ebron has signed a deal with the Indianapolis Colts. The deal is for two years with a maximum value of $15 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Detroit Lions released Ebron on March 14, parting ways with the tight end who never lived up to his first-round draft status.

Ebron was due $8.25 million — not guaranteed — against the cap in 2018.

Ebron, who turns 25 in April, was criticized throughout his time with the Lions, starting when he was selected with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2014 draft ahead of future Pro Bowlers Aaron Donald, Taylor Lewan, Odell Beckham Jr. and C.J. Mosley.

Ebron was often compared to those players — particularly by fans — because at the time, drafting a tight end was viewed as more of a luxury pick by a Detroit team that had more substantial needs.

Ebron also struggled to produce early in his career; he had 25 catches for 248 yards and one touchdown as a rookie, with an 8.3 percent drop rate. Drops have been an issue for Ebron his entire career; he has a career drop rate of 7.3 percent, although he has improved on it over the past two seasons as he has worked into Detroit’s offense more.

In 2016, Ebron posted career highs in receptions (61) and yards (711). It was believed that 2017 would finally be his breakout year, but that didn’t turn out to be the case in the first half.

Ebron had 18 catches for 195 yards over the first eight games, leading to him being viewed as a potential trade candidate around the deadline. The nadir for Ebron came in Week 8 against Pittsburgh, when fans booed him every time Matthew Stafford threw him the ball or his picture was shown on the Ford Field big screen during a nationally televised night game.

Ebron started to turn things around in that game, though, catching a 44-yard pass in the fourth quarter that gave Detroit a shot to win the game in an eventual 20-15 loss. Afterward, Ebron talked openly about not knowing what would happen with his future.

The Lions didn’t move Ebron then, and he responded with the best stretch of his career. Over the final eight games of 2017, Ebron had 35 catches for 379 yards and three touchdowns, including a 10-catch, 94-yard game in a win over Tampa Bay that Detroit needed to stay in the playoff race.

ESPN’s Michael Rothstein contributed to this report.

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