The Colts finally signed someone named Colt.
After things had quieted down for a while, the Colts added a free agent at a position of need, safety. The franchise signed Colt Anderson, the former Eagles safety, to a contract that, at the very least, was a move to bring another safety in. Anderson played collegiately at Montana, where he finished as the fifth all-time leading tackler in school history. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Vikings in 2009, but he never made the final roster and was placed on the practice squad, where the Eagles signed him from in the middle of the 2010 season. In four years with the Eagles, Anderson racked up 71 total tackles in 46 games played, and he started 6 games - including the final four of the 2012 season. In his career, he has also added four passes defensed, an interception, and two forced fumbles. According to the Colts press release on him, he has 46 career special teams tackles, including a team-high and career-high 16 of them in 14 games played in 2013. In 2012, he received the Eagles Ed Block Courage Award.
"Anderson originally joined the Eagles in 2009 when the team signed him off of the Vikings' practice squad. He made an immediate impact on special teams and was probably the Eagles' best special teams player in 2011 and 2012. Quite often would Anderson be the first man down the field in coverage. He also led the team in special teams "points" (as calculated by the Eagles) those years.
"The Eagles re-signed Anderson to a one-year contract in the 2013 offseason. Anderson finished among the Eagles' leaders in special teams tackles last year but also missed a number of tackles (6), according to Pro Football Focus. Despite his try-hard efforts, too often Anderson didn't prove to be a reliable option when called in to play safety on defense. He was more of a special teams player only."
The signing of Colt Anderson to the Colts makes sense, and in more ways than just his name. Colts general manager Ryan Grigson was an executive with the Eagles when they signed Anderson and he currently runs the Colts. Given that there was a need at safety, Grigson signed a player that he was familiar with.
As with many of these free agent moves, my view of this signing will depend on what Anderson's role ends up being. I don't think that anyone really thinks that this move makes Ryan Grigson comfortable with the safety position or that he will stop addressing it now. Rather, I see this move as a depth move for a guy who could have a significant impact on special teams. He's not a guy that you really want starting at safety, and if he ends up doing so then it will likely mean that Grigson failed at really addressing the safety position, which will likely happen in the draft.
Delano Howell is still the clear-cut starter at safety for the moment, of course alongside LaRon Landry. Guys like Corey Lynch and Sergio Brown will also compete for the starting spot, but like with Colt Anderson, none of them are considered to seriously supplant Howell as the starter. That said, there is a very real chance that the Colts will add a safety or two in the draft, and if they do so then the rookie would likely offer the most competition to Howell, and hopefully at least provide hope of a future answer at the position.
The Colts let Antoine Bethea walk in free agency to the 49ers, which given the money he received was probably the best option, albeit the hardest one. But the Colts were slow to move on any free agent safeties and clearly feel good about Delano Howell - and make no mistake, Howell is a good player who has shown himself capable of starting. But with Howell and Landry as the safeties, the Colts have two players who have struggled with injuries. At very least, they need better depth than they have now (although don't rule out Corey Lynch as a good depth guy). I don't think Colt Anderson will seriously be counted on to start, but with the injury histories of the two guys currently slotted to start, it's something that must be considered.
I, for one, like this move. Anderson can provide solid depth at safety but more importantly can be a factor on special teams as a gunner, and having him and Sergio Brown together could be an even bigger weapon for Pat McAfee. I don't expect a whole lot out of Anderson on defense, but that doesn't make it a bad move, and it doesn't mean that Anderson can't help the team in other ways.
Quick Summary: Colt Anderson:
Weight: 194 pounds
Age: 28 years old
Years Pro: 4 seasons in the NFL, all with the Philadelphia Eagles (originally signed by the Minnesota Vikings)
Drafted: Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Vikings in 2009
Statistical Resume: 48 games played (6 starts), 71 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles
Contract: currently unknown (though I'm guessing it's a minimum contract)
Pros: solid depth; great special teams player; good guy who works hard
Cons: just average at safety and best suited for a backup / special teams role