One of the areas that the Colts are looking to get better at this offseason is along the defensive line, and the most logical target is a player who the Colts reportedly have "very real interest" in: Ravens defensive lineman Arthur Jones. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the interest is mutual.
For what it's worth, several people have confirmed Rapoport's report and I can as well. The Colts are interested in Arthur Jones, and he is interested in the Colts. Jones would be a great fit and a great signing for the Colts and one that I would absolutely love to see them make.
The connections are many and obvious for the Colts and Jones. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano coached Jones in Baltimore, and the two are fond of each other. Jones is a huge fan of Pagano and shaved his head in support of his former coach when Pagano was battling leukemia last season. At the time, Jones said:
"It's just hair," Jones said. "It's just to show that we care and love him. A bunch of defensive linemen, we shaved our face for him. He's a great man and a great leader. He's going to be back coaching and kicking butt.
"Absolutely, this guy has so much passion and loves the sport every single day and came ready to work and had us fired up. I'm pretty sure that's something he brought to Indy, and I'm sure those guys are going to love him, too."
It's not just Jones who is a fan of Pagano, however, as the Colts head coach is a fan of Jones as well. Jones was a part of the Ravens Super Bowl run a year ago and in 2013 he played in 14 games, making 53 tackles and 4 sacks. As ESPN's Mike Wells noted today, the Colts nose tackles (Aubrayo Franklin and Josh Chapman) last year combined for 44 tackles and 0 sacks. The 6-3, 315 pound, 27 year old is entering his fifth season in the league after being drafted by the Ravens in the fifth round of the 2010 draft.
Signing Jones would be a great move for the Colts, who are looking to improve their defense and especially their run defense, which starts with addressing the defensive line. He fits the Colts' scheme and the interest is mutual between the team and the player. We have seen already how Chuck Pagano plays a big role in getting free agents, and this case would likely be no different if Jones ends up coming to Indy (nothing certain at this point). According to the Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson, Jones has already drawn interest from the Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and others. One of those others is the Colts. But don't make any mistake - the Colts aren't the only ones in the running for Arthur Jones by any means - there are several.
The question many have asked is that if the Colts do sign Jones, what would his role be with the Colts? He is a defensive end, but he can play nose tackle as well - which is a bigger need for the Colts. He likely would play a bit of both for the Colts, but one thing that is certain is that the Colts won't be getting rid of Cory Redding for Arthur Jones. The two are close, and quite frankly Redding is one of the defense's best players - he'll be back next season, and that's a good thing. There has been some wondering whether the Colts would release Ricky Jean Francois because of his cap hit, but I find that unlikely as well - but there would be a chance, albeit small. Most likely is that the Colts would keep who they have and bring Jones into the mix, playing some defensive end and nose tackle.
Regardless of where Jones would play and what role he would have, one thing is certain, and that is that Jones would be a great signing by the Colts and would help them significantly. The two sides have mutual interest, but that doesn't mean a deal will happen. Here's to hoping it does.