The Colts have question marks at safety, that much is certain. LaRon Landry will absolutely be a starter, but he didn't play well last season. Antoine Bethea left in free agency, leaving the other starting spot to be fought for in camp between Delano Howell (the favorite), Sergio Brown, Colt Anderson, and others - now, Mike Adams is joining that mix.
The Colts signed Adams earlier this month after Adams had been available for a while, but the veteran is getting another shot at winning the Lombardi Trophy. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Francisco 49ers way back in 2004 and he spent the first three years of his career with the 49ers. He then moved on to the Cleveland Browns, where he spent five seasons, before ending up with the Denver Broncos in the past two seasons. He has played in 146 career NFL games and started 73, including 39 starts in the past three seasons. He has made 542 career tackles, 5 sacks, 48 passes defensed, 13 picks (1 touchdown), and 4 forced fumbles.
Adams last played with the Broncos in the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks, when the Broncos got completely dominated. A few days before signing with the Colts, Adams appeared on Sirius XM NFL Radio and talked about how he didn't want to go out with that as the last NFL game he played:
"I can't fathom me going out like this. I can't imagine losing a big game and not even having another opportunity to step on the field. That's why the anxiety is picking up with me."
The Broncos moved on from Adams and didn't bring him back, instead choosing to sign T.J. Ward, one of the best safeties available in free agency this year. That's not to say Adams isn't a good player, however, as he racked up 64 tackles, 6 passes defensed, and a pick last year for the Broncos with 7 starts. He's a good safety and is definitely one of the most intriguing safeties on the Colts roster and a guy who will have a chance to compete for a starting spot. He's a good player who can help the Colts, though at the same time he won't be a great, dominant force or anything like that.
Furthermore, he doesn't have a starting spot guaranteed by any means. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said last week that,
"All Mike wanted was an opportunity. He said first thing to me when I talked to him on the phone when he was trying to make a decision was he said, ‘Coach, I don't want to be handed anything. I don't want you to give me anything, I just want a fair shot. I just want an opportunity.' We said, ‘Well, we've done that before, and we'll do it again, so welcome to the Colts.'"
Adams expects to compete for the starting spot, though he realizes that it's not a given:
"I came here thinking I'm going to compete to be in the starting lineup. And that's everybody's goal. Everybody's goal in this locker room is to be a starter. Obviously that can't happen and I've been a backup before and I was content with that. I'm in a starting role and I played an important role. Everyone will have their role when it's time and we'll see what mine is but I'm definitely going to compete for that starting job."
General manager Ryan Grigson was asked why the Colts made the move:
"It's the simple fact of you're always trying to improve your roster. He was a little long in the tooth and I talked to him candidly about that. But when you put on the film, you saw a guy that looks spry to me that played a lot of football. The one unique thing about Mike Adams is he has played a lot of football but he's never in the tub. He's always out there ready to go. His track record speaks for itself in that respect. He's the kind of guy that you take a chance on at that age because his track record is so extraordinary in terms of being ready to play on Sunday."
Mike Adams was a great signing by the Colts, as they lost safety Corey Lynch for the season so they had a spot open, plus they could use some help at the position. Adams is a veteran presence who can still play and who wants another shot at winning the Super Bowl. He'll definitely compete for a starting spot, and I think it will end up as a training camp battle between Adams and Delano Howell for the starting spot. At this point Howell still looks like the projected starter week one, though the position is still up in the air and will not be decided until training camp and preseason. One thing that is clear right now, however, is that bringing in Mike Adams was a good move for the Colts.
Quick Summary: Mike Adams:
Weight: 200 pounds
Age: 33 years old
Years Pro: 11 seasons in the NFL, three with the San Francisco 49ers (2004-2006), five with the Cleveland Browns (2007-2011), two with the Denver Broncos (2012-2013)
Drafted: Signed as an undrafted free agent by the 49ers in 2004
Statistical Resume: 146 career games (73 starts), 542 tackles, 5 sacks, 48 passes defensed, 13 interceptions (1 score), 4 forced fumbles
Contract: $955,000 base salary in 2014, $65,000 signing bonus, $635,000 cap hit in 2014 (via spotrac)
Pros: great tackler; good run defense from the safety spot
Cons: average speed; age (33)