- Vontae Davis (CB): Four years, $36MM. $15MM guaranteed.
- D’Qwell Jackson (ILB): Four years, $22MM. $10.13MM guaranteed.
- Arthur Jones (DL): Five years, $33MM. $10MM guaranteed.
- Pat McAfee (P): Five years, $14.5MM. $3.75MM guaranteed.
- Hakeem Nicks (WR): One year, $3.975MM. $2.25MM guaranteed.
- Adam Vinatieri (K): Two years, $5MM. $500K guaranteed.
- Fili Moala (DL): One year, $1.6MM. $300K guaranteed. Placed on injured reserve.
- Sergio Brown(S): One year, $1.4MM. $300K guaranteed.
- Henoc Muamba (ILB): Three years, $1.53MM. $107K guaranteed.
- Mike Adams (S): One year, minimum salary benefit. $65K guaranteed.
- Colt Anderson (S): One year, minimum salary benefit. $65K guaranteed.
- Josh Gordy (CB): One year, $1.431MM. Accepted RFA tender.
- Joe Reitz (G): One year, $1.431MM. Accepted RFA tender.
- Ahmad Bradshaw (RB): One year, minimum salary benefit.
- Pat Angerer (LB)
- Antoine Bethea (S)
- Donald Brown (RB)
- Tashard Choice (RB): Released
- Kavell Conner (LB)
- Aubrayo Franklin (DT)
- Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR)
- Jeff Linkenbach (OL)
- Ricardo Mathews (DE)
- Mike McGlynn (OL)
- Samson Satele (C): Released
- Cassius Vaughn (CB)
- Jack Mewhort, OL, Ohio State (2.59): Signed
- Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss (3.90): Signed
- Jonathan Newsome, DE, Ball State (5.166): Signed
- Andrew Jackson, LB, Western Kentucky (6.203): Signed
- Ulrick John, OT, Georgia State (7.232): Signed
- Hired Rob Chudzinski as special assistant.
- Signed Dallas Clark to a one-day contract so he could retire as a Colt.
- Signed Phil Costa, who retired several weeks later.
- Exercised Anthony Castonzo‘s fifth-year option for 2015 ($7.438MM).
- Received word that Robert Mathis will be suspended for four games.
- Signed 20 rookie free agents after the draft.
One of the earliest entries in this year’s Pro Football Rumors’ Offseason In Review series was a look at the Browns, a team that made massive wholesale changes and the most talked about draft pick of the year. While there’s a massive personnel and culture change underway in Cleveland, that’s not the case in Indianapolis. This was an offseason of retooling for the Colts, who hope that their minor tweaks will be enough to put them atop the AFC South in 2014.
The Colts wasted little time in putting pen to paper when free agency officially started this offseason. Just hours in, the Colts reached agreement on a new deal with their top cornerback Vontae Davis. At $39MM over four years, the Colts didn’t get away cheap, but the did fortify their secondary for years to come. Indianapolis could have had a massive crater to fill this offseason had they not wrapped him up considering the premium on free agent CBs this offseason and the dearth of quality options in this year’s draft. Now, the onus is on Davis to pay the Colts back with consistent play. When he’s on, Davis is one of the better corners in the league. When he’s not, opposing quarterbacks have a much easier time in the passing game. Just $15MM of Davis’ deal is guaranteed in total, so if things go south, the Colts can move on without having their cap flexibility crippled. In the short term, the Colts are probbaly better off with a returning Davis and Greg Toler than what they could have come up with out of house.
Of course, the Colts defense as a whole isn’t exactly world class. To help boost the linebacking corps, the Colts added former Browns locker room sparkplug D’Qwell Jackson and ex-Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones. Jackson got a four-year, $22MM deal out of the Colts and they’re hoping that the investment will bring them some hard-tackles as well as real veteran leadership for the younger players. For his part, Jackson says that he’s delighted to get away from “the Cleveland situation,” so there’s every reason to believe that he’ll bust his hump for his new club. In more ways than one, Jackson will be filling the shoes of departing LB Pat Angerer.
Jones, meanwhile, hooked on with a five-year, $33MM pact ($10MM of which is guaranteed). The four-year vet, like Jackson, brings a high-intensity approach to the game and a top notch work ethic. Jones started 20 of his 46 games played with the Ravens, totaling 8.5 sacks over the last two seasons. He’ll be asked to stuff the run on early downs and rush the passer on favorable down-and-distance situations and he says that he doesn’t care whether he’s lined up as a bookend or on the inside. The athletic Jones will probably see more time at DE, but don’t be surprised to see him pitch in at tackle also.
On the other side of the ball, the Colts re-signed Ahmad Bradshaw to an extremely low-risk one-year deal. Bradshaw underwent season-ending neck surgery in October and seemed destined to head elsewhere, but a minimum salary deal will keep him in blue and white. Of course, Bradshaw won’t be the focal point of the Colts’ running game as Vick Ballard and Trent Richardson figure to take the lion’s share of carries. That reality makes Bradshaw’s decision somewhat perplexing. One would think that a veteran coming off of a serious injury would rather take his services elsewhere to a team that would showcase him more and allow him to cash in in the following year. Whether that hurts Bradshaw’s wallet remains to be seen, but it’s a definite plus for the Colts. One thing Bradshaw has going for him in the battle for playing time are the departures of Tashard Choice and former Colts backfield mainstay Donald Brown.
Another former Giant notable will be joining the Colts this season – Hakeem Nicks. The wiry wide receiver was once the toast of the town in New York but injuries last season slowed him down considerably. For the first time in his career, Nicks went an entire season without finding pay dirt even once. He might not be able to regain his All-Pro form in 2014 but, then again, the Colts don’t need him too. The former UNC star will be there to help support T.Y. Hilton and veteran Reggie Wayne (perhaps supplanting Wayne if he can’t deliver), taking the spot vacated by Darius Heyward-Bey. At one-year and just $2.25MM guaranteed, Hicks would have been a solid pickup for any club this offseason. Rookie Donte Moncrief, Da’Rick Rogers, and Griff Whalen will also be there in support of the Colts’ primary receiving trio. LaVon Brazill, who got slapped with a suspension earlier today, won’t be.
Thanks to the Richardson deal, the Colts were without their first round pick in this year’s draft. With what was left, the Colts went and filled their remaining holes the best they could. Their top pick turned out to be Ohio State lineman Jack Mewhort. Adding a rookie to the mix on the offensive line is always treacherous and it might not help that they have quite a question mark in the middle of that o-line. The Colts will be rolling with sophomore center Khaled Holmes even though some expected them to go out and get someone with a more impressive pedigree, like Browns restricted free agent Alex Mack. Phil Costa, who should have been there in support of Holmes, opted to retire.
Ultimately, the Colts are a team doubling down on what they have and they didn’t feel the need to make major changes to reassert themselves in 2014. Their conservative approach to the offseason was something of a gamble in itself, and Colts fans need to hope that it will pay off.