Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has been taking his lumps in the media (and here on this blog) of late, and rightly so. The third-year G.M. has made several questionable moves since he won the 2012 NFL Executive of the Year, including overpaying for underwhelming free agents like Erik Walden, LaRon Landry, and Ricky Jean Francois, just to name a few.
The Nicks deal is a very low risk, very high reward move for the Colts. It's also a move that [insert smirky grin here] I suggested the Colts make before the start of free agency.
Just like with the Donnie Avery and Darrius Heyward-Bey signings the last two years, Grigson is giving Nicks a one-year audition to show the rest of the league that he's not done. In Avery's case, he was able to use a reasonably-productive 2012 season to parlay a 3-year, $8.5 million deal from the Chiefs. Meanwhile, Heyward-Bey's 2013 campaign was a disaster, and who knows what kind of deal he'll get now that's he's a free agent again. The Colts have no intention of re-signing him, and it is easy to move on from DHB because the deal was low risk.
The same is true for Nicks.
If Nicks plays with the questionable effort that Giants fans claim he displayed in 2013, then fine. He's a one-year loaner, and the Colts have young, developing receivers like Da'Rick Rogers, Griff Whalen, and LaVon Brazill waiting in the stage wings to take his job. There's also the return of Reggie Wayne and the continued pysical maturation of the dynamic playmaker that is T.Y. Hilton.
If Hakeem Nicks returns to his 2011 form, watch out!
We bash Grigson a lot here, and it's mainly because he is ultimately responsible for all the signings that the Colts make. In fairness to him, it's difficult to know where Grigson ends and owner Jim Irsay begins. Since he fired one-time team president Bill Polian, Irsay has wielded much more influence over personnel decisions for the Colts. However, that's the boat Grigson agreed to sit in when he accepted the Colts general manager job in 2012. The job comes with both grief and with laurels.
In the case of the Nicks signing, Grigson gets the laurels.
Nicks had suitors in Carolina, San Francisco, and San Diego lined up if the Colts weren't able to lock him up when he visited Indianapolis on Friday. That Grigson managed to woo the 6-year veteran receiver and Super Bowl XLVI champion to a very cap-friendly $3.5 million deal is a job well done.
It is very hard to find any significant issue with this signing (and, believe me, I've tried). It's just a solid move that improves an offense that was maddeningly inconsistent last year. It adds a potential playmaker who can create match-up nightmares on the outside. It takes pressure off Reggie Wayne, who is 35 and returning from a nasty ACL injury. It gives quarterback Andrew Luck a redzone target with strong hands and significant experience in winning playoff games, including a Super Bowl won in Indianapolis back in 2012.
It's just a smart move that was very well-maneuvered and executed. We bash Grigson for his screw-ups, and he also praise him for moves we think are brilliant. This one falls in the brilliant category.