The cornerback free agent class is the total opposite of what we saw with linebackers. The Colts luck out (no pun intended), in that regard, due to their struggles at the cornerback position. If there's ever a time for your cornerbacks to suck, it's right now.
The Colts have been lacking at the cornerback position for a few years now, and every new prospect they bring in stirs up unbelievable excitement, only for us Colts fans to be crushed by the dropped interceptions and missed tackles.
The first free agent corner everyone has had on their minds on this offseason is Cary Williams, however, the Colts signing him would be a gigantic mistake.
The Ravens have made it abundantly clear that Flacco is the only person they intend on tagging, which leads me to believe that Williams will be hitting the free agent market. On paper, Williams looks like a stud. However, watching a bit of tape will tell you an entirely different story. Williams gave up 39 first downs in the regular season and another six in the postseason. Those 45 first downs given up were good for second among all cornerbacks. A lot of people call Williams a shutdown corner, when, in reality, he's someone opposing teams target when looking to get a first down. Just because he's looking for franchise player money, doesn't mean teams should give it to him.
I just had to get that off my chest. Too many people are trapped on the Cary Williams Bandwagon. That's gotta be worse than being stuck on that cruise ship.
Now, to some corner's the Colts should be considering.
Talib is a player who's put up fantastic numbers his entire career, yet, is just now turning some heads. Over his six NFL seasons, he's intercepted 19 passes and defensed 56. He's also scored four touchdowns.
However, you can't talk about the good without talking about the bad. Talib has had some serious off the field issues. Not to mention, he was suspended for four games in 2012 after testing positive for Adderall. The Patriots are also hesitant to sign him to a long term deal, due to issues regarding his work ethic. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, however, as Talib kept himself in check once he arrived in New England.
If New England ends up letting him go, it'll be interesting to see whether or not the Colts pursue. At 27, he should have a few more years of good football left in him.
This guy was a hot commodity during his days with Arizona. However, he's dropped off, it seems, since he was traded to Philly. In his first three seasons, he compiled 13 interceptions and four touchdowns. In two years with the Eagles, he had just three interceptions and zero touchdowns. 2012 was a positive year, though, as he played all 16 games and had three interceptions to go along with 43 tackles.
Personally, I see his decline of sorts in Philly coming as a result of playing for a team that really hasn't gone anywhere. Not to mention, he's been teamed up with Nnamdi Asomugha, who has been struggling as well.
Jammer has never been the best player, and he's never been the flashiest player, however, he is a model of consistency. He's been in the league for 11 years, and he's played at least 14 games in every single one. Not to mention, only three times has he played less than all 16.
He may be coming up on 34, however, he's one of the most consistent players ever and that's more than most cornerback cores can say.
He's the kind of option I'd expect the Colts to consider only if some of the other options included in this piece fell through.
Grimes is a dark horse of sorts. Due to an achilles injury, he only played one game last season. However, he could still be a starter on most NFL teams. The Colts would obviously want to know how healthy he is, and they'd want to know the risk of re-injury. It's a risk worth taking, in my opinion, because when Grimes gets on a roll, he's an absolute stud. In 2010, he was named to the Pro Bowl Team by picking off five passes and recording 70 tackles. He's got that big-play ability that every team looks for.
One of the youngest options on the free agent market, at the age of 25, he's reportedly looking for a contract in the area of $8M-$10M per year. As far as the Colts are concerned, I'd say that's a little pricey. However, he's missed just one game in his 4-year career. He's defensed 40 passes, however, he has just five interceptions. He's definitely a starting corner and someone who would get the start over Cassius Vaughn. However, I wouldn't call him a shutdown corner. If the Colts are willing to pay the price, Smith is a very viable option.
Houston has been one of the most consistant players in the NFL, missing just nine games in his 6-year NFL career. His 2012 season was a disappointment, however, in 2011, Houston intercepted five passes, taking two of them to the house (one of which was a 100-yard return) and led the NFL in interception return yards with 225. I have an itch that if Houston played for a contender, we'd see that star quality return to his play.
I'm adding Cox to the list under the assumption that he gets healthy and stays that way. He's missed a lot of time, but when healthy, he is an absolute ball hawk who's intercepted 12 passes in just 47 games. Again, he's a bit of a gamble, due to his injury history. However, if he's able to dress every game, he can make any team that signs him smile.
I'm incredibly optimistic of Jones. Sure, everyone knows about his on, and more so off the field issues. Though, I don't think I heard his name once during this past NFL season. Not once.
He had a fantastic year for the Bengals.
Jones allowed just 400 yards on 66 passes that were thrown his way during the regular season. He also allowed just two touchdowns and one reception every 11.6 snaps in coverage.
Not to mention: there's another facet of his game that people often overlook. Jones is one of the better punt returners in the NFL. He averaged 11.6 yards per punt return this past NFL season. Sure, the Colts already have T.Y. Hilton, but I kinda like the idea of keeping Hilton solely on the offensive side of the ball.
Wildcard: Darrelle Revis
It's still up in the air when it comes to what the Jets are going to do with him. However, if he becomes a free agent (not likely), he's a guy the Colts will obviously want to pursue. It's likely that he will be put on the trading block by New York, though, so I'm just going to leave it at that.
As far as the current Colts corners are concerned, the only person the Colts should resign is Powers. They've got Davis locked up for the next few years and Cassius Vaughn is just....meh. There are much better options on the above list. With Davis, Powers and whoever the Colts decide to pick up (please be Adam Jones), Indy could enter the 2013 campaign with an incredibly intimidating cornerback collection.