Could Colts get active in veteran free agency again?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Signing a veteran player after June 1 would not reward that player's former team with a comp pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

For years, the "June 1st cuts" were considered a second wave of NFL free agency. Teams looking to shed some cap space would sometimes dump an overpaid but, otherwise, still-productive player onto the open market. However, after 2006, NFL clubs were able to cut players before June 1 with a June 1 designation and, thus, the drama of the June 1st cut ended.

However, it's possible that teams have caught onto a new wrinkle in free agency, allowing them to make a signing that does not reward the free agent player's old team with a compensatory pick in next year's draft.

Mike Florio explains the logic:

For veteran free agents who became available on March 11, signing them after June 1 results in no impact on the formula used for determining compensatory draft picks the following year.  That applies to both the players’ former team and his new team.  The acquisitions don’t count as players lost by the former team, and they don’t count as players gained by the new team.

Last year, the Ravens worked the system to perfection, signing veteran Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith after June 1.  He started 16 games last year.

This year, any players who became free agents on March 11 by the expiration of their prior contract fall into that same category. Some of the available names include defensive tackle Kevin Williams, defensive back Terrell Thomas, running back Ronnie Brown, tight end Jermichael Finley, and tackle Eric Winston.

Another name still on the market: Former 49ers center Jonathan Goodwin.

Goodwin is a player we here at Stampede Blue quietly suggested the Colts should pursue in free agency. Though it seems that second-year player Khaled Holmes has been handed the starting center job, it would be pure insanity on the part of general manager Ryan Grigson for him to simply hope that Holmes develops into a starting-caliber center and not have a back-up plan. Grigson's original back-up plan was Phil Costa, but Costa retired from the NFL one month after signing a two-year deal with the Colts.

If the Colts were to sign Goodwin now, the 49ers would not be rewarded with a comp pick next year. Goodwin is 35 years old and started every game he played in for the 49ers since signing there as a free agent in 2009. The offensive system he worked in in SF under Jim Harbaugh is the same that current Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton runs.

According to the NFLPA, the Colts have $13.7 million in cap space remaining after signing their draft selections.

Third-year veteran Thomas Austin and undrafted rookie Jonotthan Harrison are the other two centers currently on the Colts roster. Nothing against either player, but both are as completely unproven as Khaled Holmes is. After three years of "reloading," the Colts need to be past adding unproven players to their offensive line, which has been wretched since Ryan Grigson took over as general manager in 2012. The line gave up 32 sacks in 2013 and provided little support for running back Trent Richardson.

Adding a player like Goodwin would provide some stability to a line that is as much in flux now as it was in 2012.

Neal Coolong at Behind The Steel Curtain has a list of all available free agents posted, if you're interested in seeing who else is still on the market.

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