Free agency begins today at 4:00 p.m., and the Colts are likely to be players in it. In fact, they are expected to sign Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones, as Aaron Wilson reported:
Sources predict Arthur Jones will sign with the Indianapolis Colts as soon as today. Expected between $6 million and $7 million per year— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) March 11, 2014
I wrote an article last night about the Colts and Jones having mutual interest, and it makes sense. Jones played for Colts head coach Chuck Pagano while they were both in Baltimore, and they both like each other a lot - Jones even shaved his head in support of Pagano while the Colts head coach was battling leukemia last year.
Jones is a good player who brings a lot to the Colts. It was clear to anyone watching the playoff game against the New England Patriots that the Colts needed to work on their run defense, and that had to begin along the defensive line. Even after signing D'Qwell Jackson, it was clear that they needed defensive line help, as Jackson isn't that great against the run. It all starts up front, however, and adding Jones will be a big boost to the defensive line. He fits the system well and is a good player.
I also don't mind paying Jones $6-7 million a year. With numerous teams interested in him, I wouldn't have been surprised if it was higher, so I think this is a good deal and I don't think Ryan Grigson would be overpaying any more than is normal in free agency. And, regardless, they'll got a good player who fits the system and will help. That's the most important part.
If Aaron Wilson's sources are correct - and they almost always are - that would leave the Colts with a number of defensive ends for just two spots. They have Cory Redding, Ricky Jean Francois, and just re-signed Fili Moala last night too. Several have asked how that will work out. First of all, the Colts are not getting rid of Cory Redding. He is one of the best defensive players on the team, a leader, and a good friend of Arthur Jones as well. He will be around in 2014, I guarantee it. Ricky Jean Francois, on the other hand, is someone who would seem like a cut candidate because of his play in 2013, the Jones move, and the fact that cutting him saves over $3 million in cap space. That said, however, I don't expect him to be cut. Instead, I think the Colts would keep them all and then as the 33-year old Redding's contract is up after this year, Jones might become the replacement to him. Jones' natural position is defensive end but he has also played nose tackle, a much bigger need for the Colts. IF the Colts don't sign a nose tackle (and it sounds like they are very interested in some), then Jones would likely play some of both positions, but primarily at defensive end.
I would love this move by the Colts, and it sounds like it is going to happen. According to Aaron Wilson, it is expected that Ravens DE Arthur Jones will sign with the Colts for around $6-7 million a year, and the deal could come as soon as today. It'd be a great fit and a great move, and while it's important to remember that it's never done until it's done, it sounds like it's expected to happen.