The Colts added one draft pick today in the 7th round of the 2013 nfl draft. The final pick, also known as Mr. Irrelevant was awarded based on losing more value than they gained in free agency last year.
I expected a higher draft pick from it, but I’m sure Ryan Grigson isn’t complaining about another free draft choice.
Jim Irsay gave yet another hint on Sunday about the player the Colts may be going after. When questioned at the owners meetings in Arizona, Irsay sad that they were not going after New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. As good as he is, this makes total sense. General manager Ryan Grigson is very much a draft guy and Cruz would cost the team their first round pick.
As much as the Colts need another presence at receiver, they need to keep the draft picks they have and get some quality players with them. With the big contracts handed out, the team needs to keep getting strong contributors on inexpensive rookie contracts.
Note: yearly compensatory draft picks will be announced later the afternoon. The Colts may or may not receive any pick(s). I expect a 5th rounder for the loss of Pierre Garçon and the rest of the signings and losses to offset.
Jim Irsay took to Twitter Saturday night to involve fans in what the team is looking to do next. Irsay aid the team had been working for the last five days trying to reel in one more player. He later hinted that the player was a wide receiver. This got the internet buzzing about exactly who the Colts owner could be talking about.
Speculation has included names like Victor Cruz, Doug Baldwin, Davone Bess, and Jeremy Maclin. Due to the fact that it’s taken five days to complete and Irsay called the player a “Wopper”, it sure seems likely that the target is Cruz. A wide receiver opposite Reggie Wayne and to compliment TY Hilton in the slot is the biggest need remaining for the Colts roster. Acquiring Cruz would likely mean giving up Indianapolis’ first round draft pick, AND giving Cruz a contract worth $8-10 million per year.
With the owners meetings starting today in Arizona, any trade will likely materialize very soon. Irsay, Grigson, Pagano and the contingents from other teams are all there and something could be struck during that time.
The colts today released safety Tom Zbikowski. Zbikowski was a starter last year at strong safety last year and was going to be relegated to backup duty after the signing of Laron Landry.
Zbikowski was set to make 1.5 million this season and 2.025 million in 2014 that will be saved against the salary cap.
Just three days into free agency, the Colts have made several moves to upgrade their team. They’ve signed 7 new players and re-signed CB Darius Butler. What do the Colts do next though?
While the exact numbers on contracts are not yet out, the team has somewhere between $10-15 million left in salary cap space for 2013. With only 5 draft picks, they should only need around $3 million to cover draft picks. This gives the team a little flexibility to continue adding players and improving the team. I expect the team to wait for the market to cool down and approach a few more players about small one-year deals for low costs. I see the team with four needs remaining: backup quarterback, pass rusher, wide receiver, and kick returner.
Listed below are possible options to fill these spots:
WR’s Darius Heyward-Bey, Dominik Hixon, Julian Edelman.
QB’s: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Byron Leftwich, Brady Quinn, Rex Grossman
RB Larod Stephens-Howling, Guards Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson, Cornerbacks Mike Jenkins, EJ Biggers, and Brice McCain, Defensive lineman Sione Pouha, Vaughn Martin, and outside linebacker Daryl Tapp.
The Colts continued their free agent spending by agreeing to a 4 year, $22 million deal with defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois. Ricky comes over from the San Francisco 49ers, where he competed in the Super Bowl last season.
I like the signing a lot for the Colts. Jean-Francois is young and has big upside still at defensive end in a 3-4 defense. He’s yet another example of the team bringing on players that fit the style of defense they want to play in 2013 and beyond. If he lives up to the expectation the team has of him, this deal could be a real steal.
His stats won’t pop out during his time in San Francisco, but Jean-Francois is a good, versatile player who is just the kind of lineman Chuck Pagano and Greg Manusky want in the hybrid 3-4 defense.
The Colts made their biggest move yet, signing Safety Laron Landry to a 4 year, $24 million contract. Landry instantly improves the defense and gives Indianapolis a much better secondary going into 2013. Landry made the pro bowl in 2012 while on the New York Jets. This move fills a huge need for the team where Tom Zbikowski was terrible in a starting role in 2012.
Former San Francisco 49er defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois arrived in Indianapolis for a visit on Wednesday night and should meet with the team on Thursday. I expect him to be signed as well.
Several rumors remain after just one full day of the free agent period. I project the team to have somewhere around $20-23 million under the cap. I’ll list some of the things floating around that are rumored right now:
- Laron Landry visited Indianapolis today (3/13). Landy hasn’t signed a contract as of 6pm EST and is expected to leave to visit the SF 49ers now. It’s hard to believe San Francisco can offer Landry a bigger contract than the Colts are able and willing to.
- Ricky Jean-Francois visited Philadelphia today and hasn’t signed a contract yet. His next visit is supposed to be in Indy. He played in San Francisco under Greg Manusky and is a great fit for the Colts’ defense. I’d expect him to sign if he makes it to Indy on a visit.
- Ed Reed is scheduled to visit Houston followed by SF and Indianapolis.
- Cliff Avril continues to be linked to the team by some media outlets. NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport said today the team was still interested. I don’t see the fit, but if the money decreases enough he may.
It appears Landry, and Reed are both sought out by the Colts and 49ers. Houston also now has a need with Glover Quin gone. I think in the end the Colts may land Landry as they can offer the most money at this time.
After making a splash earlier in the day and signing five new players, Indianapolis agreed to a two year contract extension with cornerback Darius Butler. Contract terms have not yet surfaced, but Butler is a very good signing to play the nickel corner and cover the slot. The team had a big hole at corner and the addition of Greg Toler and re-signing of Butler helps solidify the secondary.
The Colts opened free agency with a bang. Rather than spending big money on big name players like many suspected, they went a different route though. Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano chose to find players they deem as “diamonds in the rough” to fill major holes on the roster. The team signed the following players:
Right Tackle Gosder Cherilus- 5 year contract for $35 million
Cornerback Greg Toler- 3 year contract for $14.25 million
Guard Donald Thomas- 4 year contract for $14 million
Outside Linebacker Erik Walden- 4 year contract for $15 million
Outside Linebacker Lawrence Sidbury- contract unknown
I would look for Cherilus and Thomas to start immediately along the offensive line. Toler is also likely to start at cornerback opposite Vontae Davis, and Erik Walden is expected to start at OLB.