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NFL Free Agency: Grading the Indianapolis Colts' Free Agent Moves

The Indianapolis Colts have made several moves so far in free agency this offseason, so let's grade them.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The free agency period has calmed down significantly recently after a crazy few days to begin that time of the season, and the Indianapolis Colts were just as involved as any team in the first wave of free agency.

They signed a number of notable veterans, and that has many thinking of the Colts as a Super Bowl contender in 2015.  They're in the top five of post-free agency power rankings and they have the fourth-best Super Bowl odds according to Bovada.  They made the AFC Championship game a year ago but were defeated 45-7, so they clearly needed work.  They still do, but they've addressed a number of needs already this offseason through free agency.

Let's take a look at those moves and then grade the Colts' free agency class as a whole.

Matt Hasselbeck, Quarterback (Re-Signed)

Andrew Luck's backup for the past two seasons, Matt Hasselbeck is still a viable option at quarterback, though for the Colts he'll (hopefully) do nothing more than hold Luck's clipboard and play in mop-up duty.  Still, he's a veteran leader and a great influence to Luck, so it's a good move to bring back the veteran as a backup for a third season.

Frank Gore, Running Back

The Colts added the veteran running back who has spent the last ten years with the 49ers, playing in 133 games and rushing for 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns, averaging 4.5 yards per carry.  He has been named to five Pro Bowls and has topped 1,000 yards rushing eight times, including in each of the last four seasons.  Considering that the Colts haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Joseph Addai in 2007, Gore will be a welcome addition.  The team needed help in their backfield, and while Gore is a 31-year old back, he's still a better option than anyone the Colts have had in years and should be a noticeable upgrade.

Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver

Indy also added a veteran receiver in Andre Johnson, who spent the last 12 years playing for the division rival Texans.  He played in 169 games, catching 1,012 passes for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns while averaging 13.4 yards per reception and making seven Pro Bowls.  He's exactly what the Colts needed at wide receiver: a veteran possession receiver who can take some pressure off of T.Y. Hilton, step in immediately and play, be a leader, and be a good number two receiver for the Colts.

Todd Herremans, Offensive Lineman

Herremans was signed by the Colts to provide offensive line help, and that's exactly what he'll provide.  He played in 127 career games with the Philadelphia Eagles (starting 124) and proved that he can play four of the five positions along the offensive line (both tackle and guard spots) and it's that versatility that the Colts really love.  He currently projects to be the team's starting right guard and will definitely be an upgrade there.

Joe Reitz, Offensive Lineman (Re-Signed)

The Colts brought back Joe Reitz, who has spent the last five seasons with the Colts, playing in 44 games and starting 24.  He has provided key depth for the Colts and has been a very versatile player.  Last year he was among the team's best five linemen and he was a very worthwhile signing to bring back.

Kendall Langford, Defensive Lineman

Langford has played seven seasons in the NFL for the Rams and Dolphins and has yet to miss a single game, playing in all 112 games and recording 242 tackles, 15.5 sacks, and 15 passes defensed.  He is a particularly good run defender and should help the Colts in that area, essentially acting as the replacement to Cory Redding, who left in free agency.

Trent Cole, Pass Rusher

The Colts also signed veteran pass rusher Trent Cole, who spent the past ten seasons with the Eagles.  In Philly, he played in 155 games (starting 145) and recorded 569 tackles, 85.5 sacks, 14 passes defensed, an interception (returned for a touchdown), and 19 forced fumbles while also making two Pro Bowls.  The Colts really needed pass rush help and Cole should provide that, so he's a solid addition.

Nate Irving, Inside Linebacker

Signed by the Colts just a day ago, Irving was a late free agent signing, but he provides much needed depth at inside linebacker.  He won't take over a starting spot (those spots belong to D'Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman), but he's a good run defender who should have a role in the Colts' defense and who does provide depth at a position where the Colts really don't have much right now.

Darius Butler, Cornerback (Re-Signed)

It's not very easy to find a great slot cornerback, but that's what the Colts have in Darius Butler.  He's an important part of an impressive cornerback trio for Indy, and as such it was crucial that the Colts bring back Butler.  They got a deal done and their slot corner will be back, which was a great move.

Mike Adams, Safety (Re-Signed)

Consider how much the Colts still need safety help and you can see why it was so huge to bring back Mike Adams.  Last season, he made the Pro Bowl and was a very consistent player for the Colts in the secondary, and while it's likely not fair to expect the same level of play from Adams last year in his career year, he still should be a solid starter for the Colts - something they desperately needed.

Colt Anderson, Safety (Re-Signed)

Anderson will give the Colts safety depth, which is valuable right now for them, but he's mainly a terrific special teams player.  That reason alone made it a good move to bring him back, as the team can't ignore their special teams unit that last year was among the best in the NFL.  Anderson excelled in his role there and it's a good move to bring him back.

Matt Overton, Long Snapper (Re-Signed)

Overton has been the team's long snapper for the past three seasons and made the Pro Bowl in 2013.  He's coming back, having signed a multi-year extension with the Colts, and that's a good move, as they keep the core of their fourth down army together in Pat McAfee, Adam Vinatieri, and Matt Overton.


Some will knock the Colts because they got older - without acknowledging that it would have been harder for them to get much younger.  Some will knock the Colts because they added veteran players - without acknowledging that those players still provide what the Colts need.  And some will knock the Colts because, well, the many of the players they added have just a few years left - without acknowledging that the Colts are really in a unique situation, having a quarterback under the rookie wage scale but with a mega-deal upcoming but with Super Bowl expectations and a lot of money to spend now.  These deals are structured so that the Colts can get out of them without handicapping their future, but at the same time they addressed a number of needs and got better.  They've still got holes (particularly on the defensive side of the football) and if the offseason ended today this grade might look different, but through the first two weeks of free agency it has been very good for the Colts.

Grade: A -