March 13, 2012 is the set date for the NFL 2012 Free Agency period. The Indianapolis Colts can find a decent free agent or two here and there this year to fill any holes before the 2012 NFL Draft takes place on April 28, 2012.
I'm breaking them down into three different segments.
Can we keep him?: These players are currently on the Colts roster and has played one or more seasons with the Colts, some of them begin their careers in Indy, while others were brought over from other teams.
Bring ‘em back: These players were former Colts that have either signed with other teams after being released by Indianapolis and are currently a free agent this year, or they were released and never picked up by any teams.
Let's try him out: Players who have never been drafted or signed by the Colts in their career and can possibly be looking for a new team to shine with.
CAN WE KEEP HIM?:
Pierre Garcon, WR
University of Mount Union
Draft: 2008, 6th Round (205th Overall)
Pierre Garcon has established himself as one of the most underrated WRs in the NFL today. Ever since he started at the #2 WR spot in 2009, he has carved a niche in the deep passing attack of Peyton Manning. Garcon's speed and athleticism will garner him lots of attention from teams looking to sign a decent #2WR.
Anthony Gonzales, WR
Ohio State University
Draft: 2007, 1st Round (32nd Overall)
I know what some of you are thinking, "Why re-sign Gonzo, he's "injury-prone". Gonzales might have been injured the past two seasons, but also was solid during his 2007 rookie campaign along with this sophomore effort. Gonzales has decent speed, hands and outstanding route-running skills to warrant a re-signing for something cheap, or another team can sign him as a slot WR where he can become more of a threat than playing on the outside.
Quinn Ojinnaka, OT/OG
Draft: 2006, 5th Round (139th Overall)
Ojinnaka only took 143 snaps at RT and 59 snaps at RG last season, but he clearly outplayed Jeff Linkenbach at RT and Ryan Diem at RG. Ojinnaka is very athletic for a guy 300+ lbs. He is a solid pass blocker who can also hold is own in run blocking.
Re-signing Ojinnaka can be a priority cause he'll be real cheap but also solid enough to backup Bigger Ben at RT or start at RT if the Colts were to move Ijalana into the LG position. His versatility and consistency would make him a solid starter on the right side of the O-Line.
Dan Orlovsky, QB
University of Connecticut
Draft: 2005, 5th Round (145th Overall)
Many Colts fans considered Orlovsky the "savior" of the season in which he kept the Indianapolis Colts from going 0-16 in 2011. He first torched AFC Champions New England Patriots defense in a losing effort and then picked up his first two victories as a starter over AFC South rivals Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans.
Orlovsky isn't starting material, which I can admit. But his consistency, quick learning of a playbook and decent game management skills will help him remain on the Colts roster or get him signed elsewhere as a solid backup QB.
Jacob Tamme, TE
University of Kentucky
Draft: 2008, 4th Round (127th Overall)
Tamme has been a back up for Dallas Clark and always gets to play either in the pre-season or the last few games of the regular season. Tamme took over as the starting TE in week 7 of the 2010 season after Clark was injured and subsequently placed on Injured Reserve. He stepped up a reliable target for Manning and amassed 67 receptions for 631 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Signing Tamme can come in handy incase Clark has another downhill season.
Robert Mathis, DE
Alabama A&M University
Draft: 2003, 5th Round (138th Overall)
Robert Mathis is one of the best pass rushing Defensive Ends in the NFL. Him alongside DE Dwight Freeney creates a very talented dynamic duo on the D-Line. The master of the strip-sack will be looking to get a fresh new contract in Indianapolis, but keep in mind he'll be quite expensive but quite worth it.
BRING ‘EM BACK:
Michael Toudouze, OT
Texas Christian University
Draft: 2006, 5th Round (162nd Overall)
Michael Toudouze has been on and off of the Colts since 2008, it's obvious that he has the talent to warrant several re-signings but never overcomes the unseen obstacles in his way. Toudouze is a very solid run blocker and consistent pass blocker who can be a cheap backup option behind Anthony Castonzo and a quality starter if he needs to be.
Matt Giordano, FS/SS
University of California (Berkley)
Draft: 2005, 4th Round (134th Overall)
Matt Giordano was always able to get a chance to shine on the field due to him being the backup of oft-injured safety Bob Sanders. Giordano is amazingly fast and instinctive, he can track the ball down and pass coverage while being a valuable asset in run stopping or blitzing.
With his newfound success in Oakland, it's possible that the Raiders will give him another contract. If he isn't re-signed by the Raiders, he can easily find his way back to Indianapolis.
Tyjuan Hagler, OLB
University of Cincinnati
Draft: 2005, 5th Round (173rd Overall)
If the Colts are going into a 3-4/4-3 hybrid defense, they will need a solid cover Linebacker. Tyjuan Hagler can add depth in the LB spot and also see the field as a starter in the 3-4 look. Hagler has been the quiet threat on defense and special teams in the past few seasons.
Freddie Keiaho, OLB
San Diego State University
Draft: 2006, 3rd Round (94th Overall)
From 2006-2010, Keiaho was a beast of a Linebacker in terms of run support. His coverage skills were always a tad off but he had a nose for the ball carrier and well skilled in blitzing. Freddie Keiaho deserves another shot on someone's roster; it might as well be with the team who drafted him first.
Jamie Silva, SS
Draft: 2008, Undrafted Free Agent
Jamie Silva is one of the few players in the NFL who never really got a chance to show off his skills. Silva played behind a solid corps of Safeties during his tenure with the Colts, so he barely saw the field. When Silva is on the field however, he displays great instincts and solid tackling despite being a bit slow in the speed department. With an all-new special teams coach heading into the 2012 NFL season, Silva can turn into that special teams ace he is already know for.
Justin Tryon, CB
Arizona State University
Draft: 2008 4th Round (124th Overall)
Well the good news is that Tryon got his first Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI after defeating the New England Patriots. But now Tryon is a free agent and will be looking for a new team unless he is re-signed by the Giants.
Bill Polian traded an undisclosed 2011 draft pick (it turned out to be a 7th Round selection) to the Washington Redskins for Justin Tryon. Honestly, I though it would be a mistake, but turns out it was a solid trade after all.
Justin Tryon is short for a CB, but he makes up for it in other skills such as quickness, recovery speed, and good coverage in both man-to-man or zone coverage.
LET'S TRY HIM OUT:
With Andrew Whitworth at LT and Andre' Smith at RT, this can cause Collins to become the odd man out in Cincinnati,
Collins is a very versatile lineman, he can play Tackle or Guard with ease and effortlessly man handles LBs in run blocking, a true upgrade is needed on the Colts O-Line in the Guard spot, we can sign him cheap to start or have quality depth.
Camarillo is entering the Free Agency period as perhaps the most reliable WR. He will be a much greater asset if he had a Franchise QB throwing to him as his route running is sharp and has very reliable hands while catching the ball away from his body. Camarillo will be an awesome low risk/high reward signing this year.
Lutui might be one of the top elite Guards in the NFL today, but playing for the Cardinals might not hold much water for him. He has consistently held his own against top DTs year in and year out.
I honestly expect the Cardinals to re-sign him to a lucrative contract. If Lutui isn't re-signed, then the Colts should make this a top priority to sign him, he will be an great upgrade over Reitz at LG.
Devin Thomas, WR
Michigan State University
Draft: 2008, 2nd Round (34th Overall)
Previous Team(s): Washington Redskins, New York Giants
Devin Thomas is primarily used as return specialist and slot WR, but his size and speed will indicate that he has outside WR talents as well. The Redskins and Giants didn't use him for his receiving skills despite the fact that he really has them.
Thomas will be a great low risk/high reward free agent if he signs with the Colts. If we can't resign 2 of the 3 WRs he had at starter, Thomas can be a great addition to our WR corps.
Darnell Bing can be looked at as an overweight Safety; the upside to this is that he's very instinctive at the LB position and can ball hawk as an OLB; the downside however is he was never coached to learn the roles of the Linebacker. Running a 3-4 defense is key when you have atleast one LB dedicated to pass coverage on the field.