Colts general manager Ryan Grigson won the 2012 NFL Executive of the Year award. For some fans, this means he is above criticism. For the rest of human race that has a functioning brain (and who remembers that Bill Polian won this same award in 2009, as did Scott Pioli in 2010), Grigson is someone who deserves a ton of credit for last year's success, but that doesn't mean his 2013 offseason free agent spending spree is immune from skepticism.
Seriously, the folks getting MAD that some of us DARE question the GENIUS of Ryan Grigson, y'all need help. I mean seriously, folks. You know it is OK to think for yourself, right? To think critically? To have an opinion that doesn't agree with the people in charge? You know that's OK, right?
If not, I still love you regardless.
Another writer who questions Grigson's offseason is NFL.com Around The League editor Gregg Rosenthal. I'll speak from personal experience and inform all of you that even though Gregg spells his name with the douchetastic two Gs, he's actually a very smart, unpretentious guy who knows his football.
Recently, he commented on who the 2013 offseason "winners and losers" are thus far, but made it a point to note:
Offseason noise doesn't result in victories. The connection between spending in March and winning in September is tenuous at best, so we're going to try avoid simply calling all the most active teams in free agency "winners" in this column. Because this is definitely one of those "winners and losers" columns.
Regarding the Colts, Gregg placed them in the "team confusion" category:
Colts GM Ryan Grigson absolutely nailed last year's draft class and it makes sense he took some chances in free agency this offseason, because his team had a lot of roster holes and a lot of salary-cap space. Grigson didn't tie up his salary cap with too much long-term money, but he still gave big coin to a lot of players that have ranged from promising to average to sub-mediocre as pros: Tackle Gosder Cherilus, linebacker Erik Walden, cornerback Greg Toler, defensive end Ricky Jean Francois and safety LaRon Landry.
Grigson made moves in bulk, a little like the 2001 Patriots. Consider it a success if half of the moves stick. Toler and Jean Francois were my two favorite moves of the group.
This is the first time I've seen another writer reference the 2001 Patriots when discussing the Colts 2013 offseason moves. I've been making the comparison myself on Twitter, and you should be on the lookout for a more thorough article on this next week.
For you young ones out there, in Bill Belichick's second year at New England, he used the 2001 offseason the sign a truck load of under-the-radar free agents that, many felt at the time, were being overpaid for their talent. The Pats won the Super Bowl that season due in large part to free agent acquisitions made during the 2001 offseason, such as Antowain Smith, David Patten, and Roman Phifer.
This 2001 Pats model seems to be the one Grigson is working from, and it was obviously a very successful one. It will be interesting to see if he can replicate that model in Indianapolis.
Scott Pioli attempted a similar model in Kansas City. You remember Scott! Mr. 2010 NFL Executive of the Year after his first season running the Chiefs front office. Like the 2012 Colts, those Chiefs rebounded from a terrible season the year before, went the playoffs, and lost badly in the first round to the Ravens.
Two years later, Pioli was sent packing.
Hopefully, Ryan Grigson can avoid a repeat of that last attempt to emulate the 2001 Patriots.