As the NFL free agency period rolls around every year, it's a reminder of the fact that not every one of the moves works out and that there's risk involved. The Colts have had their fair share of free agent moves not turn out, just like every other team.
That was part of the inspiration for a Sporting News article by Jason Fitzgerald a few days ago on the worst contract for each team. With free agency approaching, some of the contracts are ones that teams may look to get out of this year, while others are ones that teams are stuck with. Nonetheless, Fitzgerald took a look at the worst contract for each team, and for the Colts it was defensive lineman Arthur Jones.
"Jones was a classic overreach by the Colts, who projected big numbers out of a player who started just 20 games in four years. Jones has started three games for the Colts while missing 23 due to injury while earning $16 million."
The Colts signed Jones to a five year, $33 million contract in 2014 with $10 million guaranteed, but injuries have plagued him during his time in Indy. He made it just two games into the 2014 season before he suffered an ankle injury that caused him to miss the bulk of the regular season, and in the end he wound up playing in 12 games (including playoffs) and starting six. It was, for the most part, a lost season for Jones in his first year in Indy, as the defensive tackle was trying to get healthy for much of the year. Then in 2015, Jones went down in preseason with an injury that ended his season before it really even began. Two years, two injuries for Jones, and the Colts have yet to see the return on investment that they made.
This is an obvious choice for the Colts' worst contract because, so far, it has been - but it's important to note that Ryan Grigson isn't really to blame on this one. Perhaps we'll find out once Jones actually does get on the field that he's not the player the Colts thought he would be, in which case it would be fair to wonder whether Grigson was right in assessing that Jones could be a legitimate starter. But we haven't really been able to see that, and it's been because of injury - and not a pre-existing injury history that was prevalent when the Colts signed him. The deal absolutely hasn't worked out yet and it's worthy of being listed in Sporting News'
article slideshow, but it's important to realize why that is.
So will Jones be around moving forward? The Colts could save $2.3 million in cap space by cutting him this offseason, which is certainly something that is intriguing since he hasn't yet produced with the team. At the same time, however, if the Colts still believe he can be a legitimate playmaker on the defensive line, they'll likely want to bring him back and hope that this can be the year that he stays healthy and reaches that potential. So far, however, there's little doubt that it has been a bad contract for the Colts.