Contrary to what the Indianapolis Star is reporting (ha!), the reaction to the Colts signing linebacker D'Qwell Jackson to a 4-year, $22 million contract, with $11 million guaranteed, has not been received well.
Here's a quick sampling of some people who (rightly) think the general manager Ryan Grigson and owner Jim Irsay overpaid for a linebacker who, per Pro Football Focus, ranked worse at defending the run than Pat Angerer did last season.
Jim Irsay is becoming what Al Davis/Dan Snyder used to be: the owner every agent wants to hear from...— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) March 6, 2014
That's a pair of undersized ILBs in D'Qwell and Jerrell Freeman— Steve Palazzolo (@StevePalazzolo) March 6, 2014
Old and slow and get the dough. Opposite of my beliefs— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) March 6, 2014
Chris Burke of SI.com did not grade the signing with high marks either:
Grade: B-minus. Jackson will make the Colts’ front seven a more solid group next season. The cost of this acquisition drives its grade down — under normal circumstances, had Jackson hit free agency on March 11, he likely would have scored far less guaranteed dough.
This is obviously nothing against Jackson himself. He got paid, and clearly the market demanded that he get something to the equivalent that the Colts signed him to. According to Ian Rapoport, Jackson turned down more money with another team to sign with Indy.
However, as we've seen time and time again, the market isn't an indicator of how good or bad a player is. Chump teams often overpay for chump talent. Just because the friggin' Titans may have wanted to give Jackson $22 million doesn't mean the Colts get a pass for actually doing it. Smart teams use their cap wisely to improve their rosters with cheap talent. See the Seahawks and Cliff Avril in 2013 as a good example.
$11 million in guaranteed money for a player like Jackson, who is now on the other side of 30, is not being "prudent" in free agency, as Ryan Grigson said the Colts would be in free agency this year. That's a fair criticism, especially in light of all the overpaid, free agent busts Grigson has inked over the last two season.
The hope is Grigson got this one right. That would, however, be going against the norm when it comes to the Colts' third-year G.M. and free agency.