With the news Monday that the Indianapolis Colts are going to make a run for San Diego Chargers offensive guard Louis Vasquez in free agency, now seems as good a time as any to highlight a pretty impressive article by Rotoworld's Evan Silva, a guy I call friend and who has been kind enough to guest on an occasional Stampede Blue podcast.
Evan did something I don't think I've ever seen before: He actually wrote an article predicting not only where the 50 marquis NFL free agents will sign, but also their contracts!
We're talking years, dollar amounts, the whole nine yards. I mean, I'm like, DANG! That's Rotoworld's senior editor simply not f*ckin' around with this offseason football writin' thang!
For the Colts, Evan went a little out of the box and predicted two very interesting free agent signings for Ryan Grigson and his front office in 2013:
3. Defensive end Cliff Avril -- Avril projects to break the bank in free agency because he's the top natural pass rusher available, just about to turn 27, and offers scheme versatility. He'll appeal to 4-3 and 3-4 clubs alike. With 39.5 sacks, 13 pass breakups, and 16 forced fumbles over the past five seasons, Avril disrupts offenses in a variety of ways. Indy is flush with salary cap space, and Avril's versatility-athleticism combo would be put to great use in Chuck Pagano's hybrid defense.
Free Agent Forecast: Colts on a five-year, $64 million contract.
50. Cornerback Antoine Cason -- Although susceptible deep, 26-year-old Cason can make plays on the football and offers impressive corner size at 6-foot-1, 195. Indianapolis is rich on salary cap space and in the market for a bookend across from Vontae Davis. Cason is young, should be relatively affordable, and fits defensive-minded coach Chuck Pagano's press coverage scheme.
Free Agent Forecast: Colts on a three-year, $16.5 million contract.
I'll admit that I'm a bit shocked by the suggestion that the Colts would sign Cliff Avril. In years past, I advocated that that Bill Polian should move mountains to pry Avril from Detroit back when the Colts ran a 4-3 scheme. Avril is better overall than Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis when it comes to pressuring the quarterback from the DE position.
But, Avril as a 3-4 outside linebacker? I'm not so sure. Evan is a bit more convinced. Avril is 6'3, 260 lbs and played his college ball at Purdue. He was taken in the 3rd round by the Detroit Lions in the 2008 NFL Draft, 92nd overall.
Personally, if you are offering me Avril and, say, Paul Kruger of the Ravens, my instincts say Evan is right and Avril is worth $64 mill over five years. Kruger definitely is NOT worth that kind of cash.
Side note: Evan has Kruger signing with the Browns for five years, $60 mill.
The Cason signing is a good suggestion on Evan's part, and if the Colts ink a 6'1 corner like Cason who can run and play man-to-man for $16.5 mill over 3 years, I might just have to give Grigson a sloppy, wet kiss when we meet in person.
Overall, this free agency article is an impressive job by Evan and is definitely worth a read.