Colts' Offseason Additions
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1. Which Off Season addition will help the Colts the most in 2013?
Now I know a lot of people don't pay any attention to Bleacher Report due to their stupidity, but they struck again. Yesterday on Bleacher Report they were listing the "Off-Season Awards" such as "Best Off Season", "Best Free Agent", "Worst Free Agent", "Worst Off- Season, etc. So when the award for "Worst Off Season" came around it listed the Colts. How can they have the worst off season out of all 32 NFL Teams that still includes the Jaguars and Jets. They said that the Colts got poor free agents and did horrible in the draft. They said that the draft grade for the Colts is a C+ only because of Björn Werner, and they think we should use him as a 3-4 end. He is only 266 pounds. You need to be 300+ pounds to play a 3-4 lineman. Now I see where they are going with this but all of the free agent have a potential to help this team:
Free Agents/Traded For
S LaRon Landry
They say that LaRon Landry is injured all the time and is inconsistent. The first three seasons of his career he played 47 out of the possible 48 games. He was a Pro Bowl caliber player until is injury in Week 10 of 2010 when he injured his Achilles tendon. He had already played a decent season through 9 games notching 85 tackles with 1 sack and 1 pick. He only played 8 games in 2011 because his Achilles tendon and a groin injury. So the Redskins released him after the two injury-plagued seasons. But, players can come back from these types of injury thanks to advanced medical surgeries. So the Jets decided to take a chance on him for a 1 year, 3.5 million dollar contract. What did they get in return, 100 tackles, four forced fumbles, two interceptions, eight passes deflected, and a Pro Bowl Selection all from LaRon Landry. He also played a full season last year showing he is still capable of it. They say the contract was outrageous considering his medical history. 4 years for 6 million dollars per year for a 28 year-old-player is not that bad if he doesn't become what happened to Bob Sanders.
T Gosder Cherilus
They say that Gosder Cherilus has injury issues and inconsistent. He has started 32 of the 32 possible games the last two years. He has played his whole career with the Lions. As far as pass blocking goes, he is one of the best. He was #20 in the league with a pass blocking efficiency of 95.5. He had 542 pass block snaps and had 31 total pressures allowed. Anthony Castonzo was 49th in the league with a pass blocking efficiency rating of 93.5. Winston Justice last year was 32nd in pass blocking efficiency and missed four games to injury. So Cherilus is an improvement over Justice plus Cherilus is tall at 6' 7'', an inch taller than Justice. Here is the performance by week of Justice and Cherilus last season: NO PROMOTIONAL POSTING ON THE SITE2013-articles/march/josh-boeke.html So even if the Colts paid him a big contract at 5 years 34.5 million, if he performs like last year, Andrew is going to see the ground a lot less.
CB Greg Toler
Greg Toler actually has been injured a lot. He missed the entire 2011 season due to a torn ACL and was injured last season. But, when healthy, he is very good. In his last healthy season when he started 13 games in 2010, he had 90 tackles, two picks, and allowed only 55 catches on 95 targets. Toler has good speed with a 4.45 40 time and does not allow a lot of receptions. Toler signed a three year, 15 million dollar contract, which is a little high for a player who was injured the last two years. But, if he plays like he did in 2010, the contract will be worth it and him in Davis should become a great cornerback tandem.
NT Aubrayo Franklin
The Colts signed the 10-year veteran to add depth at nose tackle and to help stop the run, which is what Franklin is good at. The 32-year-old played for the Chargers last year and notched 20 tackles. Played in 12 games last year for the Chargers while starting 9. Franklin, if anything, can teach Josh Chapman how to play the position and make him into a successful nose tackle.
DE Ricky Jean-Francois
Another interesting free agency addition to the defensive line. RJF has played in all 48 games the last three seasons with the 49ers, but has only started five. The 26-year-old fifth year player is looking for a established starting role. The Colts need another DE opposite Cory Redding, so they signed RJF to a 4 year, 22 million dollar contract. This may seem like a lot for a player who was never an established starter but has the potential to anchor this Colts' defensive line. I like the addition of RJF but I wish they could have gotten him for a little cheaper price. This was one of the things Bleacher Report pointed out but RJF will prove them wrong and earn that contract.
QB Matt Hasselbeck
Hasselbeck will probably never play a regular season game for the Colts, but that wasn't why he was brought in. The 37-year-old 15th year player was brought in to mentor Luck. Hasselbeck has the experience and knowledge, he was been through tough seasons, he has been to the Super Bowl, and has been through stupid mistakes. Hasselbeck can teach Luck how to avoid the errors he made in his career and help Luck go to the Super Bowl and actually win it, which Hasselbeck has never done. The Colts signed him for 2 years, 8 million dollars. This may sound like too much money for a backup, but it is the price we will pay for another championship brought to Indianapolis.
OLB Erik Walden
Erik Walden is not the most exciting free agent signing, but could be a good player with Werner. He has played 31 out of 32 possible games the last two years. Good size for a linebacker at 6'2'' 250 pounds. His 40 time was 4.72 seconds. Dwight Freeney was clocked at 4.48 seconds but that was 11 years ago, so he has slowed down since then. Walden has 106 tackles his last two years and 6 sacks. Not the most impressive stat line but if he rotates with Werner the two of them can be good. Walden signed a four year, 16 million dollar contract, which is a little high but he has the potential to earn that contract. If he doesn't work we have Björn Werner and Lawrence Sidbury, which leads to my next review.
OLB Lawrence Sidbury
This was an interesting signing, mainly the signing was for potential. Sidbury has only 17 career tackles and 5 career sacks. But, 2011 was when he had four of the five sacks but only had one tackle of all of last year and no sacks. So why would we sign him. Well, it was only a 1 year, $780,000 contract. Grigson wanted to see if Sidbury can excel as a situational pass rusher but not as a starter. This is not a bad signing if you just want him to be a situational guy. If he was replacing Freeney, then this might have been a bad idea.
ILB Kelvin Sheppard
Sheppard came to the Colts via trade with the Bills that finally ended the Jerry Hughes era. The Colts got the better end of the deal. In two seasons with the Bills, Sheppard had 150 tackles and two sacks. He is coming off a 2012 season where he had 80 tackles, 2 sacks, played in all 16 games and started 15 games. There is not much to say about Jerry Hughes. All Colts' fans are well aware of him. In 3 seasons with the Colts, Hughes had 5 sacks and 62 tackles. It was hard for him playing behind Hall of Famers Freeney & Mathis, but he was not fit for the 4-3 defense as a DE. He was meant to be a 3-4 OLB. Even though he was surprisingly able to get four sacks in 2012, it wasn't enough for the Colts to keep him. Sheppard now joins a Colts' Line backing Core that is stronger and more depth than ever.
G Donald Thomas
The Colts brought in Donald Thomas with the never ending pursuit for better blocking from the offensive line. Thomas can make a decent starter or even add depth at backup. Donald Thomas played in all 16 games last year for the Patriots and started 7 games. Thomas will most likely play Left Guard with a 4 year, 14 million dollar contract. Any player is better than the lineman we had last year.
FB Stanley Havili
Havili was brought here via trade by Grigson, who has done well with trades. Havili was traded to the Colts for DE Clifton Geathers, who the Colts did not need with the depth in the defensive line. Havili is someone who the Colts need and haven't had in a while, a fullback. Havili is a well rounded fullback at 6 feet, 245 lb. Havili is much needed in the new offensive scheme run by offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton which is a version of the West Coast Offense. In the West Coast Offense, running is a key element. The Colts did a lot of improvement with pass protection, now they got improvement with run blocking, which the Colts have lacked since Addai's back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2006 and 2007. Havili will be a key component in the development in this offense and was a good pickup via trade.
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
A lot of Raiders' fans would say he is our issue now, but Colts' fans will be saying he is our deep threat now. Heyward-Bey has had problems catching passes. In his rookie year, his drop rate was 35.7%. But, the past two years it has been reduced tremendously. It went down to 8.6% in 2011 and 12.8% in 2012, which is better than Donnie Avery's drop rate. Plus, Heyward-Bey is even faster than Avery. Avery ran a 4.34 40 time at his Pro Day. Heyward-Bey ran a 4.25 40 time at the NFL Combine. The last two years he was 105 catches, 1,581 yards, and 9 touchdowns. Heyward-Bey signed a 1 year, 2.5 million dollar contract. If Heyward-Bey can meet expectations and have a great season like he did in 2011, he will get resigned and the contract will pay off.
HB Ahmad Bradshaw
This is probably my favorite signing of the off season. Bradshaw got released coming off a 1,000-yard season due to the emergence of 1st round pick David Wilson. The only problem was his foot injury he sustained last year and is keeping him on the PUP list. Bradshaw will most likely get taken off the list by Week 1. He does not to play in preseason so that will give him a month to let his foot heal even more. Bradshaw brings something to the Colts that they were in desperate need of, pass protection. Bradshaw is a very good pass protector and a very good all around running back who will have an immediate impact on the Colts. The Colts signed him to a 1 year, 2 million dollar contract and can become the feature back if he does well this year. The worst he can do is 1,000 yards IMO.
Note: Part 2 will talk about how the Colts' draft class in 2013 will not be a C+ grade but a B+ or higher. And once again, Bleacher Report is always wrong about our Colts.