2011 NFL Free Agency: Colts In Review

It’s been an action packed few days in the NFL since a new collective bargaining agreement was announced. But for many Colts fans it feels like the hours couldn’t pass any slower.

Meh, yawn, sigh, blah are words/sounds  which have appeared regularly on this blog the past few days. 

In desperate need of a few quality players at a few vitally important positions, the Colts have yet to make the free agency splash that we fans so desperately crave. To make it worse everyone else around us (including teams in our division and our mortal enemies the Pats) are aggressively trying to upgrade their rosters.

 Some might disagree, but what scares Colts’ fans most is how once again the

Patriots managed to acquire (possible) top talent for peanuts. Watching the Patriots front office work it’s magic, is like watching the starting quarterback in your high school get all the cute girls without even trying. He's gets hot dates week after week for just putting on a helmet on Friday nights, while you can't even score with a member of the high school band. It’s frustrating. After a while you begin to ask yourself why you can’t do the same? Why can't we make a big splash. (only this time you ask Chris Polian). For Colts’ fans its especially irritating given who the Pats just acquired. Albert Haynesworth is the type of big body defensive tackle we desperately need (not saying we need him in particular – just a guy like him) and Chad Johnson is another toy Tom Brady can play with to make our defencies at corner even more obvious (crap).

On top of all that, our division rivals have been particularly and surprisingly aggressive as well. But before giving up on the season, have hope.

 

The overwhelming feeling of dread is exasperated by the fact that  six weeks of free agency has been crammed into six days amplifying the magnitude of the signings The Colts never have been the first to jump in and rarely spend recklessly. The Colts' might not look to sexy now, but give it a few months. Indy Star Colts' beat writer Bob

 Kravitz said it perfectly "the Colts continue to lose at free agency but will continue to win on the field"

Unlike our division rivals, the Colts never test the water with both feet. Patience and caution has always been our mantra and a successful one at that. As fans, we see the

Texans, Titans and Jags making moves and we panic. But step back and closer look at what they've been able to accomplish so far. 

The Titans brought in Matt Hassleback. He doesn’t scare the daylights out anyone does he? Given how many interceptions he threw the past few years, I would be applauding the move if I were in the Colts’ secondary. In the last three seasons he has thrown 34 touchdowns to 44 interceptions. At 35 years old, how big of an upgrade is he?

Then there is

Clint Session in Jacksonville. Yes I know, stick a knife in our heart and pour salt on it.  That one stung. More so even then when the Jags signed away former Colt Mike Peterson. Clint was personally one of my favorite defenders and his energy will be sorely missed. But he wasn’t worth the 30 million over five years (Plus in a wildly incoherent interview he said we "were not a powerhouse anymore." Hmpf. Let's see if he is still saying that after facing Peyton for the first time).

In fact his contract should be reassuring to us fans. Such an outrageous price means the Jags front office hasn’t changed its dopey ways. Overspending to such a degree proves what we fans already knew about Jacksonville: They have no discipline. (To be fair, Landry and Posluszny were good moves).

Then there is Houston aggressively pursuing Jonathan Joesph. Great signing. Adding Danieal Manning wasn't bad either. But given how unbelievably atrocious the pass defensive was last year, and how easily Peyton shreds their defense anyway, let’s give it a few weeks before we enter panic mode. 

(Side note: God I feel terrible for the Bengals. Joesph and Johnson... At this point they might as well just throw in the towel and call it quits. Oh wait, Carson Palmer already did).

Look, the point is that yes, teams are going out and getting better. None of these moves are deal-breakers though. And guess what? It's only been a week.

The most reassuring part so far in all the free agency mayhem may be the players who aren’t signed. We were never going to land the Asomugha's of the market anyway. Many of the players that insiders speculated the Colts might target are still on the market. 

For months we have been talking about how we need another safety or two. Besides resigning Bullit (a great and necessary move) Donte Whitner is available and apparently the Colts are interested. So too is Gerald Sensabaugh who as a Cowboy last season had 71 tackeles. Hell we could even bring back Matt Giordano... (awkward silence)

 At defensive tackle, maybe our most pressing need even after re-signing Mookie, quality players are available. 6'6'' 335 pound monster

Alan Branch is an unrestricted free agent. So too is another Cardinal Gabe Watson (both highly underrated in my opinion) as well as the BroncosJamal Williams and others.

With a core of Johnson, Moala, Nevis and (free agent x) the Colts line can be formidable. 

Ultimately we have deficiencies that need to be addressed. We could use another corner (maybe even re-work Hayden's deal) and another quality linebacker. The point is however, it’s only been six days free agency. The Colts’ season hasn’t been made, but its certainly not broken either. One of the best moves of the offseason was getting Peyton (sounds like he did it voluntarily) to take less move to free up cap room. We also have signed many of our own top players as well. 

Yes other teams are doing more to try and improve and yes the Patriots are better on paper, but if we can make a few key signings and re-signings down the road, we’ll be right there too.

Even if we are not as aggressive as fans hope, as our team currently stands, we are looking pretty good. You'd be hard pressed to find another team that looks as potent on offense on paper (Manning, Addai, Wayne, Garcon, Collie, Clark and a retooled offensive line) and defensively with the addition of a few key role players (and hopefully Kelvin Hayden's deal re-worked) we should be more than competitive as well. 

Lastly, don't oversell the other team's moves. The Texans lost Vonta Leach, a potentially massive blow to their running game, the Jags lost Justin Durant, a quality starting lineup and the Titans, well they have Matt Hassleback. Personally I’d rather have Melvin Bullit than Matt Hassleback, but given Hassleback's recent penchant for throwing INT's you’d have to ask our secondary on that one.

Regardless, it comes down to winning on the field. With Peyton under center, most of our offense still in tact and Mathis and Freeney coming off the edge, I can't see how that tradition doesn't continue. 

That's not to say that more help won't be welcomed. It's just to say let's have a little patience and see want happens in the days ahead. 

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