Predicting NFL action before it happens isn't easy - unless you're a Predictificationist. Nick Ragsdale takes the confusion out of the NFL's Black Friday and tells you where the big names will land. Sit back, relax and know you've come to the right place.
2012 Regular Season: 164-91-1*
2012 NFL Playoffs - 7-3
Super Bowl: 1-0
Colts Predictions: 13-4
Ahh, the NFL offseason. In some ways it's more fun than the regular season (at least when you have a TON of cap room). Our Colts are expected to be big spenders this offseason - and with good reason. Despite an amazing run and an 11-5 record the team has holes at almost every position. In fact, it's easier to list the positions that I can guarantee the Colts won't spend big money on...
Quarterback. (That Luck kid showed some potential last year, I think)
Punter. (Pat McAfee is one of the best in the league and was slapped with the franchise tag)
Kicker. (As long as Adam Vinatieri is still suiting up the Colts should be OK here)
Other than those, EVERY other position is a possibility. The Colts have been tied to about 12 different players (give or take). Here are my best guesses of where the big names fall when the madness begins.
Colts Free Agency Predictions
The Colts will most likely sign...
Cliff Avril - I predictificated this last night before all the rumors that have come out today. He's young and a proven playmaker. He's a little soft against the run, but most pass rushers are. I prefer him over Paul Kruger and I think the Colts may be able to sign him for less.
Andy Levitre - This would be a huge addition to the offensive line (and no, I'm not just saying that because he's 6-2, 305) and should help protect Andrew Luck - but also help the running game. Maybe it's just me but the Colts running backs seem to get hit in the backfield a lot.
Ed Reed - We could argue until we are blue (Colts blue, of course) in the face over whether or not this would be a 'good' signing. Fact is, Reed has been a playmaker in the NFL for years, understands the defense, has great chemistry with Pagano and Wayne and will bring instant credibility to a unit that's been easy to criticize. The deal needs to be for two years and cap friendly - but I don't see anyway this could be bad for the Colts.
Be on the lookout for the 49ers or Patriots to get to Reed first.
Cary Williams - This is the signing I would be least happy about. I'm not all that high on Williams' game and I think the Colts could do better. This comes down to one thing - familiarity. Colts couldn't rush the passer effectively last year and several people within the organization blame that on shoddy pass coverage. Bringing in players like Reed and Williams will give confidence to the secondary to play more instinctual. Better pass coverage, better pass rush. It's science.
I haven't heard much about the market for Williams - which may be a good thing for the Colts. Other possible landing spots include the Oakland Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Colts Just May be Interested in.....
Greg Jennings - I have a ton of respect for Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star and he went on record as saying the Colts have shown ZERO interest in Jennings. Teams play some things close to the vest and it wouldn't surprise me to hear the Colts are involved in the pursuit of Jennings - he could be very dangerous in a West Coast system.
Predictification - Minnesota Vikings
Paul Kruger - This marriage would make a ton of sense and would obviously fill a need for the Colts. My gut? I think that Pagano knows what kind of player Kruger is and the team won't overpay for his ability. The Colts are only involved at the right price and some one else will overpay.
Predictification - Cleveland Browns
Louis Vasquez - I don't think there is any way that the Colts don't sign either Vasquez or Levitre. I went with Levitre because I like him better but I wouldn't be surprised if it's Vasquez. If he doesn't sign with the Colts I think there is a good chance he stays put.
Predictification - San Diego Chargers
LaRon Landry - If the team decides to commit to a safety beyond two years it just might be Landry. I think Landry is underrated as a player and would be happy to see him in Colts blue. I don't think it'll happen - but I wouldn't mind.
Predictification - San Francisco 49ers
Antoine Cason - Same as with Vasquez/Levitre, I'd be surprised if the Colts don't sign Williams or Cason. Everything goes back to Pagano and comfort in the scheme, but it still could be Cason.
Predictification - Detroit Lions
When the Picking's get Slim....
Don't rest on some of these guys.... They could help the Colts at the right price.
Felix Jones - I remember drooling over the thought of Reggie Bush as a kick returner/running back/receiver for the Colts. The Colts had almost zero production out of their running backs in the passing attack and with Deji Karim likely gone the Colts could use another kick returner. Jones would be less expensive and doesn't have a ton of tread worn off his tires. May be worth a look.
Connor Barwin - Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than stealing someone from your division rivals. Barwin looks a lot like Watt on the field (I got them confused sometimes) and had a very solid season in 2011. Could be a decent fit at the right price.
Adrian Wilson - I think the Colts will sign a safety and this is yet another one to consider. Solid player and very smart. I'd be happy with any of the three.
Mike Jenkins - Imagine for a second if the Colts could pull this off - Vontae Davis, Cary Williams, Mike Jenkins, Darius Butler, Antoine Bethea and Ed Reed. On paper at least, that may be the best secondary in Colts history. Will it happen? Probably not. But, I can hope, can't I?
Adam (Don't call me Pac-Man) Jones - I'm not a huge fan of him personally and I don't think he the Colts' culture, but he can return kicks and would be a decent nickel/dime corner. It would be tough to find a better player at the price - but the price comes with some baggage.
Other Big Name Predictifications
Reggie Bush - Detroit Lions
Steven Jackson - Atlanta Falcons
Rashard Mendenhall - Miami Dolphins
Sebastian Vollmer - New England Patriots
Dannell Ellerbe - Baltimore Ravens
Other Notable (Former) Colts...
Austin Collie - Denver Broncos
Jerraud Powers - San Diego Chargers
Other Fearless Predictifications...
- If Darrelle Revis is traded I think it'll be to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Jets don't want to trade him within the AFC and the Eagles, after releasing DRC and Nnamdi, should have the space and the need for Revis.
- In the end I don't think anyone makes the Giants regret using the restricted free agent tender on Victor Cruz. It should be noted that the Seahawks gave up a first rounder and a big contract (and then some) to acquire Percy Harvin. Who's to say that someone won't do the same for Cruz? If it happens I think it could be the same team that gave up Harvin - the Minnesota Vikings.
- Former Colts offensive coordinator (and new Cardinals head coach) Bruce Arians has made it clear that he needs a quarterback to be successful. Assuming that quarterback isn't on the roster (I think that's safe) look for the Cardinals to draft, sign or trade for one in the coming weeks. My prediction? Carson Palmer will suit up for the Cardinals on Week 1.
- The Buffalo Bills will make a big splash in free agency. I don't know who it'll be, but like the signing of Mario Williams last year, expect something big and unforeseen.
The Colts most probable free agent addition will be....
Cary Williams (4 votes)
Ed Reed (30 votes)
Paul Kruger (6 votes)
Cliff Avril (151 votes)
Greg Jennings (4 votes)
Adam Levitre (34 votes)
Louis Vasaquez (96 votes)
None of these guys (27 votes)
352 total votes