In a move that we all knew was coming, Donald Brown is no longer a Colt. The San Diego Chargers tonight signed the former Colts running back to a three year, $10.5 million deal with $4 million guaranteed.
Finally. Seven long hours into free agency & just six months before season, Chargers make a free agent signing -- RB Donald Brown.— UTKevinAcee (@UTKevinAcee) March 12, 2014
Donald Brown's deal with Chargers is Gerhart-esque -- three years, $10.5 million, $4 million guaranteed, per source.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 12, 2014
This is a great deal for Brown in a market that isn't friendly to running backs whatsoever. He gets an average of $3.5 million a year with $4 million guaranteed. He rejoins Tom Telesco, the former Colts executive who is currently the Chargers general manager. Earlier this evening we also had reports that former Colts linebacker Kavell Conner is visiting San Diego and drawing interest there.
Former Colts inside linebacker Kavell Conner will visit Chargers tomorrow. Source says "strong possibility" a deal gets done.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) March 11, 2014
For Brown, his five year career in Indy will be looked back on with mixed emotions from some fans, as the former first round pick never lived up to first round expectations. At the same time, however, he always ran hard, always worked hard, and the production started coming in the more recent years. He played in 66 career games with the Colts, starting 20, and rushed 551 times for 2,377 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and 17 touchdowns while also catching 83 passes for 767 yards and 2 touchdowns. In 2013, Brown was the Colts most productive back and had his best career year, playing in all 16 games (starting 5) and getting 102 carries for 537 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and scoring 6 touchdowns while also catching 27 passes for 214 yards and 2 scores.
He will long be remembered for the "Dammit Donald" incident years ago, but that's not fair to Brown. If we're judging based purely on expectations of the former first rounder and based on his first few years, then there's no doubt that he was a bust. But "busts" don't get a contract worth $3.5 million a year five years after being drafted at a position that isn't treated well at all. For Brown, he was a major part of the Colts success in 2013 and without him, they might not even have made the playoffs. He was never great, but Donald Brown was a good running back for the Colts and the Chargers are getting a good one.
The Colts never really showed much interest in re-signing Brown, as he was pretty far down on their list of off-season priorities. I think the reason for this was because of price, and instead they re-signed running back Ahmad Bradshaw to give them a solid backfield with Trent Richardson, Vick Ballard, and Ahmad Bradshaw. I don't think that the Colts needed to re-sign Brown, nor do they need him in 2014. He would have been nice to have, certainly, but the Colts weren't going to give him the contract that the Chargers gave him.
Best of luck in San Diego, Donald.
#ColtsNation and the great city of Indianapolis. It was an absolute honor and pleasure playing for the shoe. Thanks for the memories.— Donald Brown (@Donaldb31) March 12, 2014