Free agency begins in less than two weeks, at the start of the new league year on March 10 at 4:00 p.m. ET, and so teams are trying to prepare accordingly. Whether that means cutting players to free up salary cap space, franchise tagging a player to keep him around, or re-signing their own players, teams are already preparing for the start of the free agent period, all while planning the direction they will take when players from other teams hit the market.
So far, the Colts have been freeing up salary cap space but have yet to re-sign any players, but one of their players that will certainly be a priority is safety Mike Adams. In their press conferences a week ago, general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano both made it clear that they want Adams back and that they expect Adams to be back. "Fully expect him to come back and play at a high level," Pagano said.
Today, we heard from Mike Adams' point of view, and it sounds that he's equally ready to return to Indianapolis. Joining Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio on PFT Live, Adams said that he wants to retire as a Colt.
"I want to stay with the Colts," Adams said. "I want to end my career there. I want to call it quits there. Obviously it's a business and they have to make a business decision, as well as I do. So I hope they do everything in their power to keep me. I hope they want me back. I've been reading through - they've got a lot of money left over. And I know I'm not a cheap wad, or Andrew Luck a 20 million dollar guy, but I've been grinding for a long time, I just want to be treated fairly."
Florio asked Adams about how it makes sense for teams to bring back their own players who have done well for them rather than sign new players, and Adams agreed. "It does make sense," he said, "but I've been around a long time and I've seen people come and go and they bring new players in and it don't work out the way they planned to, because a guy coming in learning a whole new system and he's a step behind. And things don't work out and then it's like, 'oh, we should've' or 'we could've,' but you did. Now, I mean, Colts have a chance to bring me back and I just want to help finish what we started. That's all."
The safety also noted that, "I've got a lot left. I've got more than people think. I feel good. And that's one thing I do - I take care of my body. I do the little things that matter."
One last note from Mike Adams was how much credit he gives to head coach Chuck Pagano for the career year that the safety enjoyed. "I credit all of it to him," Adams said. "And I keep telling him, 'I appreciate you.' He says, 'no, I appreciate you.' And I tell Greg Manusky all the time, 'hey I appreciate it man, glad you're happy here.' They let me play, and this is the first time in a long time that the coach said, 'no, you've been playing ten, eleven years, line the guys up and go make plays. That's what we expect you to do.' And that's all I did. I wasn't worried about getting benched if I missed a tackle, I wasn't worried about getting benched if I gave up a touchdown, I wasn't worried about any of that stuff, I was just going out there and playing the way I know how and just letting loose."
If the Colts want to bring Adams back and if Adams wants to be back with the Colts, then it seems even more certain than it was before that the safety will once again be a member of the defense in 2015. And that's not a bad thing at all. Though he will be 34-years old when next season starts, he is coming off of the best season of his 11-year career. Signing with the Colts in the middle of the summer last year as a late free agent signing, Adams started every game for the Colts, recording 87 tackles, 11 passes defensed, five interceptions, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries - all of which either set or tied a career high for the safety. He tied for the NFL lead with seven takeaways and was named to his first career Pro Bowl.
Currently, the Colts have just two safeties under contract for 2015 (Dewey McDonald and Winston Guy) and zero starters, so bringing Adams back to return as the starting safety in 2015 is a smart idea as they look to address the other safety spot. Bringing back the most consistent safety and one of the Colts' best defensive players from a year ago seems like an easy decision for the Colts, and it seems like both sides very much want to reach a new deal. In other words, while it's not done yet, expect to see Mike Adams starting at safety for the Colts again in 2015.