I pray that this is not the formula Polian uses to select which free agents to re-sign, and which to let go. I'm sure it isn't, but you never know.
There are still a few key unrestricted free agents that the Colts have yet to make moves on in terms of re-signing or letting them hit the bricks. We are all aware of the Marvin Harrison issue. To this day I still think he is making a huge mistake. Opting for more money over winning another championship with the team that gave him a chance to make a name for yourself just doesn't sit well with me. And let's not forget, he'd have the best quarterback in the history of football throwing touchdowns to him too. I still don't understand his logic behind this. Anywhere he goes, he will not be the #1 receiver. He'll have to basically fill the role of a possession receiver at best. He will have to re-learn a completely new system, one that will be more stock in structure and that will probably hinder his production. There's no question that the amazing stats he put up while he was a Colt was a combination of his skills, Peyton's amazing arm and brain, and their chemistry as far as their playing calling and offensive style. But what do I know, I'm just a fan who blogs. I'm not ruling out the possibility of him returning. In fact, I was the first person to say that he'll either return to play for the Colts or just retire. If I was Polian, and he was wanting to return to the Colts, I'd sign him in a heartbeat. I say that for a few reasons:
1) He knows the system like the back of his hand.
2) He has a ton of experience and would be infinitely more productive than the other receivers on the roster.
3) The Polian wouldn't think twice about wasting another first round pick on a receiver.
Nevertheless, I don't see it happening so let's just move one.
There are currently 7 other UFAs still left on the board that the Colts could potentially re-sign. The possibility of the Colts re-signing them all is slim and none, and for good reason. Out of those 7, there are only two of which I think are worth spending the cash on to help the team. Considering the Colts have basically told Keiaho, Hagler, Hunter Smith, and Josh Thomas to pack their bags and get a-steppin, that leaves us with Keiwan Ratliff, Matt Giordano, and Dominic Rhodes. Can you guess which two I'm going to pick? Follow me over to the next page and find out.
And this is where the title of this article comes into play. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Which little tiger do we let go?
The first player I think the Colts should seriously look to re-sign is Keiwan Ratliff. He started off the season pretty shaky, trying to get comfortable in the defense. Basically trying not to screw up too bad as opposed to trying to do too much and making everyone's life a living hell. And indeed, towards the middle of the season and through the end, I thought he came into his own and became an above average nickelback. He had a couple key interceptions in big games for the Colts, and gained much valuable game experience due to Marlin Jackson's ACL injury. Thus, bringing my to my second point. Marlin Jackson isn't going to come jump, hop, and skipping back like he never blew his knee out last season. For that reason, the Colts are going to need the depth at corner. Toss in the fact that I saw enough of Tim Jennings to last me a lifetime, I'm kind begging that the Colts re-sign him. If the Colts decide not to re-sign Ratliff, despite the reasons I laid out, I'd expect them (and even if they do re-sign Ratliff to follow this route) to draft a corner this season. Who might you ask? I don't know, ask Colts Homer.
The other UFA I think the Colts should keep is Matt Giordano. Giordano is a pretty good special teams player. Granted, the special teams have been pretty atrocious these last few years, but I don't think Giordano was part of the problem. He's shown a time or two he can adequately fill in for Sanders or Bethea at safety if need be. He has some insane speed for a white guy too. I remember when Hester ran back the opening kickoff in the Super Bowl, Giordano had to run across the field just to catch up to him, and he almost did by the time Hester got to the 5 yard line. And then, there was the 2007 season opener, when Giordano was subbing in for Sanders because the Colts were blowing them away, and he picked off Drew Brees and outran their entire time for a pick-6. Even Reggie Bush couldn't catch him. But regardless, the main reason I want him re-signed is for special teams. Considering he'll actually have a real freakin coach now, maybe he can use some of his veteran leadership to assist the younger guys in not sucking so much. We'll see.
Now that I've explained who I think should stay, it's time to talk about who should go. Sadly, the little tiger who must go is Dominic Rhodes.
The time has come my friends to say goodbye to a key contributor in the magical run to the Super Bowl we experienced just 3 years ago. He has certainly cemented his name in Colts lore for his years of dedication and production.
Dominic Rhodes signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent out of Midwestern State University. He quickly became the backup to Colts legend Edgerrin James. Even as a backup without much experience, he filled in admirably when Edge went down with an ACL injury. Even after suffering a ACL injury of his own, he battled back, eventually becoming the starter during the 2006 season when the Colts decided to let Edge walk. He had a great season, and an even better postseason. Many fans, myself included, believe Rhodes was the rightful winner of the Super Bowl XLI MVP award. He didn't win it, because obviously Peyton Manning did, but something tells me Rhodes didn't care. Nothing about Dom's personality leads me to believe that even if he ran for 300 yards and 4 tds, he would be miffed about not winning the MVP award. All he has ever cared about is helping his team win a championship. Well allow me to say Dom, Mission Accomplished. Luck to you in your future endeavors.
Now, I'm sure a few of you are scratching your heads asking yourself, "Why do you think the Colts should let Dom go?" and the reasoning is very simple: go young. It's no secret that all runningbacks, I repeat, all runningbacks, hit their wall, and will have eventually done all they can on a football field. I believe Dom is there. His age is a concern, and before you know it, his health is going to be a concern as well. Once those tires start getting up there in miles, you're bound to have problems. Truth is, Addai needs someone to take the load off of his shoulders, and Rhodes isn't the guy to do it. By going young, specificially snagging someone (COUGH RASHAD JENNINGS COUGH) in the draft, the Colts can get another back with that explosiveness that is lacking in the running game. Addai isn't a starting back, he is merely a change of pace guy who is deadly out in space. I often wonder why the Colts don't use him more in the passing game, because he could torch teams like he did in 2007 against the Patriots. But when it comes to a pure running back, hitting his holes and laying a good hit or two on guys, Addai just doesn't fit that mold.
With that said, please do not assume I'm saying we should give up on Addai. At the same time, we shouldn't be giving him an infinite amout of passes either. This year is do or die for him. Are we going to get the 2006 Addai, or the mid 2007-current Addai? Either way, the Colts need to fill the void of a north and south runner that will be missing now that Dom is gone.