The two big splash free agent signing Colts general manager Ryan Grigson made this offseason were defensive end Arthur Jones and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. In the case of Jones, Grigson handed him a 5-year, $33 million contract with $10 million guaranteed. Based on the money, he's seen a a critical component of head coach Chuck Pagano's defense. Pagano and Jones have a history together as both worked with each other during their time with the Baltimore Ravens.
Despite his familiarity with Pagano, the defensive scheme, and with former Ravens teammate Cory Redding, Jones confessed to media this week that when he showed up for offseason training:
"I got a little nervous, for some reason. It's kind of like the first day at school. It's a whole different change. Me and Josh Chapman hit it off. 96 and 97 in the middle. We're going to have fun this year."
When asked why he chose to sign with the Colts - other than, you know, the $10 million in guaranteed greenbacks - Jones answered:
"Why not? We got a young gunslinger in Andrew Luck. He's a guy who works so hard every single day. I find this team is close, very close, to accomplishing that goal of hoisting that trophy up."
Jones also thinks he can be an impact player in Indianapolis.
"I didn't want to go to a team where you'd never hear from me again."
Andrew Luck is a big selling point for potential free agents interested in Indianapolis as a destination team. Hakeem Nicks told media this week that, like his former Giants teammate and two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, Luck has greatness within him:
Eli is a great quarterback. It was a pleasure playing for him for five seasons. Right now, I'm in a new situation with a young quarterback. I look forward to playing with him. What he brings to the game is special. I've been critiquing his game for a while now. He's one of the reasons why I made the decision I made. Big fan of his.
Nicks said Luck's greatest trait is his competitiveness and his leadership. "He takes control of the team," Nick said, which was a trait former Colts quarterback (and 2014 Week One opponent) Peyton Manning often displayed.
Big things are expected of both Jones and Nicks in 2014. Both as seen by the franchise as key pieces in a potential Super Bowl appearance in Arizona in 2015.