The Indianapolis Colts made their largest splash in free agency late Wednesday night, signing safety LaRon Landry to a 4 year, $24 million deal; $14 million of which is guaranteed.
Landry, 28, spent the first five years of his career with the Redskins after they drafted him in the first round of the 2007 with the 6th overall pick. Last year, he signed a one year deal with the New York Jets, where he stayed healthy and made the Pro Bowl. He recorded 100 tackles, 8 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 2 touchdowns (1 returned for a touchdown) and forced 4 fumbles. For his career (6 years), he has played in 80 games (starting 79) and has made 483 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 39 passes defended, 6 interceptions (1 TD), and has forced 10 fumbles. In 2007, he was named to the All-Rookie Defensive team, and as previously mentioned he made the Pro Bowl last season.
Landry was visiting the Colts during the day yesterday and a deal was announced late that night. He is a very good fit for Chuck Pagano, as he is a physical and aggressive strong safety who is a significant upgrade over Tom Zbikowski. Ryan Grigson said in a statement released by the team that:
"We're ecstatic about this signing. We feel LaRon is an absolute game changer and a true impact player. We're talking about a 220-pound safety that runs 4.3 and plays to that speed. His approach to the game and his style of play are lights out and embody the culture we're building on the defense and this team in general."
Landy comes in as the immediate starter for a team that endured Tom Zbikowski as its starter last season. Zbikowski can now return to the role that he excels at, which is as a backup and spot starter, along with playing special teams. Landry will take over the strong safety position and suddenly the secondary looks much, much improved from a year ago. They will have Antoine Bethea returning at free safety who, although he had a rough 2012 season, is still a very talented and good player. At strong safety they will now have the physical LaRon Landry; and at cornerback they look to start Vontae Davis and the newly-signed Greg Toler outside with Darius Butler in the slot. While that secondary will not be among the best in the league, it will not be among the worst in the league anymore either. Ryan Grigson certainly addressed a huge need and improved the defense significantly with the signing of LaRon Landry and, yesterday, Greg Toler.
Lastly, a few other free agent notes:
- The LaRon Landry signing means that Ravens FA S Ed Reed is very likely not coming to Indianapolis, for those still wondering. Many fans would probably rather have Landry anyways.
- 49ers FA NT/DE Ricky Jean-Francois arrived in Indianapolis late last night and is meeting with the team today after meeting with the Eagles yesterday. The fact that he made it past the Eagles to visit the Colts is big, and now a deal with him would not be a surprise at all. Stay tuned for the latest, but right now all we know is that Jean-Francois is visiting with the Colts today.