We are just two weeks away from the start of the NFL free agency period. It is possibly the most exciting time during the offseason next to training camp starting up and the NFL Draft. We will all be watching to see who goes where and any big surprises that may come up. As for the Colts many of us are hoping that GM Ryan Grigson doesn’t have another swing and a miss in his back pocket.
The Colts have tried to build the defense mainly through free agency which isn’t a bad idea if you’re bringing in the right people. Grigson has brought in a few guys that have worked out and some that are complete wastes of time. Guys like Landry, Walden and Ricky Jean-Francois haven’t even come close to playing up to their contracts. And don’t get me started on Trent Richardson. This year doesn’t look to be much different except that I feel the Colts will look to the draft to get some young defensive playmakers in here. With that said here is a short list of free agents that the Colts must take a shot at signing. They have their own free agents to worry about that they will get taken care of but this list are guys that can be brought in and will make a solid contribution to the team.
1. Pernell McPhee-OLB/DE
Grigson has done well, for the most part, by bringing in former Ravens to play for the Colts. Redding has done a very good job in his three years here and Art Jones, when healthy, has been as advertised. The Colts need help with the pass rush. McPhee can do that. Werner isn’t the answer and Walden isn’t either. McPhee can be the guy on the other side of Mathis/Newsome who can chase down the quarterback or at least get in his face. McPhee won’t be cheap. Preliminary reports are saying he will get between 8 and 10 million a year on his contract. Grigson hasn’t really gone that high signing a free agent yet but the time is now. No more wasting the cap money on washed up players. Bring in some younger guys who can make a difference.
2. Frank Gore-Running Back
This has been talked about a lot lately. Gore to Indy is almost a lock in some peoples eyes. Having Chud here helps for sure and knowing that he will still be the featured back for the Colts only elevates it more. Gore will be a huge help to the Colts. He will be what everyone thought Richardson would be, the power back the Colts need. Of course the O-Line still needs to be fixed up a little but they did seem to gel well in the last few games of the season. Gore won’t break the bank as he is aging but if the Colts don’t bring back Bradshaw, which they shouldn’t, and Richardson is cut, which they should, then Gore is a must for this team.
3. Mike Iupati-Guard
As I said above the Colts need to fix the offensive line. They were geling pretty well in the playoffs but brining in a road grater wouldn’t be the worst move. Iupati is a big man who good feet and can plow the road for the running game. If the Colts sign Iupati then you can bet your ass that Gore will come with him. Putting Iupati with Mewhort, Castonzo and a healthy Cherilus would make a pretty good offensive line. The best we will have seen in years. Iupati probably will take about 6-7 million a year to land here but if the Colts are building for now then lets build for now.
4. Dan Williams-Defensive Tackle
Yet another piece of the puzzle that Colts have been missing for three years. A guy in the middle of the defensive line that can plug up holes and make multiple offensive lineman block him. Williams is a huge man. He plays the run well and does have pass rushing capabilities. At the age of 27 he will still get a good payday but it probably won’t be as much as anyone is thinking. 5-6 million a year for him would probably get him here. Williams would be worth it and if the Colts do end up getting one of the dancing bears, thanks Mike Mayock, then they would be able to bring him along for when Williams needs a breather or when he is gone.
5. Jeron Johnson-Strong Safety
Many NFL teams are going to be going after Johnson. He has played with the Seahawks for three years now and is a very good safety but couldn’t get playing time because well, the Seahawks have two guys that are all-pro. Johnson would make a great addition to any team and the Colts could really use help in that spot. Johnson doesn’t have a lot to bargain with when it comes to a huge contract so if the Colts overpaid a little to get him I wouldn’t be upset. Johnson is another low risk-high reward guys but this time it would be worth the risk.