Last offseason, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson spent upwards of $100 million in free agency in an effort to improve the team, along with drafting seven players. His moves, however, didn't really improve the Colts and were bad moves. Let's look at his free agent signings and draft picks and place each player in one of five categories: the good, the ok, the bad, the terrible, and the too early to tell because they didn't play category.
Gosder Cherilus, OT - free agent
Cherilus was the best free agent signing by Grigson this offseason. He got a big contract (5 years, $34 million) but he started all 16 regular season and both postseason games and played well at that. The tackles on the offensive line were good this year, and Cherilus held down the right tackle spot nicely.
Stanley Havili, FB - trade
Pretty much all of the problems I had with Havili this year were not with him personally but rather with the way he was used. I disagreed with Pep Hamilton using Stanley Havili a lot (which he did), but for what Havili was asked to do he did well. Especially as he helped to fill a void left by Dwayne Allen's injury, I think this was a very good trade by Grigson.
Donald Thomas, OL - free agent
Thomas didn't play much, so he could be included in the last category on here. But he started two games and played just over a game before injuring his quad and being placed on injured reserve. It's still very early to evaluate this move, but Thomas looked good in the early playing time and his contract wasn't anything huge, either.
Josh McNary, LB - free agent (rookie)
McNary was signed after a two-year service commitment to the Army, and from the first time I saw him in training camp I was impressed. I thought it wouldn't be until next year that he got a shot at the active roster, but was called up later in the year and saw a lot of playing time. He played well and did enough to show that it was a good move by Grigson to sign him this offseason. Hopefully he continues to improve.
Da'Rick Rogers, WR - undrafted free agent
A similar situation to McNary, I didn't think Rogers would get much of a shot until next season. But with the injury to Reggie Wayne he was forced into more playing time and he played well, especially against the Bengals in a breakout game. He showed limitations - route running, his hands, etc. - but overall he was a positive mark for the Colts and should continue to improve as well.
Ricky Jean Francois, DL - free agent
RJF applied some pressure on the quarterback and did a respectable job against the run, but like the other defensive linemen Ryan Grigson brought in, he was just ok. He got a rather big contract (4 years, $22 million) and played solid football. No shame in that.
Aubrayo Franklin, DT - free agent
Franklin was a nice addition for the team and a nice move by Grigson, but he was nothing spectacular this season. He was solid but unspectacular - there's absolutely nothing wrong with that and Franklin played nicely, but he just showed some limitations too.
Kelvin Sheppard, LB - trade
Early in the season, Sheppard was awful. He was one of the worst players on the defense early on, but he really stepped up later in the year and played respectably.
Hugh Thornton, OG - draft (3rd round)
For much of the year, Hugh Thornton was one of the Colts worst players. Of course, he was made to look worse because he was playing on the interior of the line with Samson Satele and Mike McGlynn, and he also missed training camp, but he was really bad. Towards the end of the season, however, he began to improve and make some plays. He's got potential - we just need to see how much he continues to improve.
Montori Hughes, DT - draft (5th round)
Hughes was solid in limited playing time this year before ending up on inured reserve late in the season. The Colts traded up to select Hughes, and while he has played well there wasn't really anything from him to make him stand out.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR - free agent
A wide receiver who can't catch. Yeah, that's not going to turn out well. The only thing keeping this from being in the "terrible" category is the contract - DHB was only signed for one year and $2 million. That's the one bright spot from this move.
Greg Toler, CB - free agent
A more expensive Jerraud Powers who, unbelievably, deals with more injuries than Powers. Toler struggled to stay on the field and was never great when he did. I thought about putting this in the category of not having enough playing time to see what he can do as a sort of a joke, but instead I just decided to put him where he belongs, and that is in the "bad" category. His injury can't be blamed on Grigson, but the general manager should have been more cautious of Toler's injury history before giving him a 3-year, $15 million deal.
Erik Walden, OLB - free agent
I didn't think Walden played as bad as most did this year, just because I didn't have high expectations for him at all. He was actually better at pass rushing than I possibly thought he could be. But he was brought in for one reason, and that was to stop the run. The result? The Colts couldn't stop the run.
Bjoern Werner, OLB - draft (1st round)
I really hate evaluating rookies after one year, and this is the main reason why: Werner is still learning. I have a lot of hope in Werner in his potential, but first year pass rushers usually don't do much. He struggled in his adjustment early on, but he really started to make big strides late in the year. I list this one in the "bad" category for only one reason - he was the first round pick and he didn't help the team out much at all. But I expect him to continue to improve and, when I do my real evaluations after his third year (when I like to evaluate a draft class), I expect him to not be in this category anymore as a bad move by Grigson.
LaRon Landry, S - free agent
Oh my was he bad this year. The one true big-name signing by Grigson, Landry got a 4-year, $24 million contract. He was bad enough that I would be ok if he was cut this offseason. He won't be, but he was really, really bad this year. Given the fact that he was given one of the largest contracts of any offseason addition for the Colts, it makes the move even worse.
Trent Richardson, RB - trade
I'm not giving up on Richardson quite yet, but I'm absolutely saying that the deal was terrible. Richardson's season was a disaster after the Colts traded for him, and they gave up their first round pick for him - a pick that they could really have used. I'm not giving up completely on Richardson, but I'd rather have the first round pick back at this point.
The "Too Early to Tell Because they Didn't Play" Category:
Lawrence Sidbury, OLB - free agent
Sidbury was brought in on a 1-year deal for less than a million dollars. He was brought in as a pass rusher but he didn't play a game for the Colts this year, as he was placed on injured reserve before the season started.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB - free agent
He played sparingly, and never when the game was close. Which was exactly why he was brought in. And yet he still got a 2-year, $8 million deal...
Daniel Adongo, LB - free agent (rookie)
Adongo was always a project player, and I honestly was very surprised that he was promoted to the active roster at all this year. He didn't play much, but he is a very interesting player to watch going forward. He could be pretty good with some more work.
Khaled Holmes, C/OG - draft (4th round)
This one very well could be in the "bad" category because the draft pick did nothing to help the Colts this year, but the fact of the matter is that we didn't see much from Holmes at all this year. I'm not sure exactly why that was, but Holmes didn't play much.
John Boyett, S - draft (6th round)
He was cut before training camp even started. The reason this isn't in the "bad" category is because he was only a sixth round pick.
Kerwynn Williams, RB - draft (7th round)
Similar story to Boyett - Williams appeared in one game for the Colts this year and hasn't been with the organization for a while now. But for a seventh round pick, that's normally what happens.
Justice Cunningham, TE - draft (7th round)
Cunningham spent time on the active roster and the practice squad this year, but isn't on either currently and never played much. I think he could be a good player, but he hasn't played much and, like the previous two names, he was a low-round pick.